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The Foreign Policy Litmus Test for Democrats in 2020

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/19/foreign-policy-litmus-test-democrats-2020

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Quite frankly it rather easy to buff up ones pro-peace credentials and the perception one on the side of justice and human rights when it comes to a the conflict like Afghanistan.

The larger and more courageous “Foreign Policy Stance” is the position one takes on Israel and its ongoing genocide against the Palestinians. If a politician won’t go there , then they failed the test.


Right on the money! I was going to write something similar - probably rather too long winded as usual, but you have hit the nail on the head!

I am very fond of the Aubrey-Maturin series of Napoleonic Wars true historical-novels by the brilliant Patrick O’brian, in which Dr Maturin becomes very fond of the laudanum available at the time of the novels - much the same as De Quincy, altho slightly before his time.

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But remember: In a LOTE voting scenario, there are no litmus tests.

There’s just holding your fuckin nose and voting blue no matter who.

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At the base of Dem (or any acceptable) foreign policy is that we (people in the US and around the world) are safer with less war and military presence. Let people be so there is no desire for terror. Let people around the world work together. We’re going to need to given the challenges we face.


Just dreaming:

  1. Cut the imperial military budget by 60% so we can afford Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
  2. Stop all U.S. wars and bring all the troops home.
  3. Close the 800+ U.S. foreign military bases and bring all the troops home.
  4. Make Puerto Rico a state with full statehood rights.
  5. Give full voting and Congressional representation rights to D.C., American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and every other U.S. territorial “possession”.

“Empire abroad entails tyranny at home.” - Hannah Arendt


help me understand bro…are you pro-LOTE, or are calling LOTE as the bullshit it really is?

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Lawrence Wilkerson has stated publicly that the reason many bases and troops are stationed overseas is merely cost. It is much less expensive to have troops in the Philippines or subsidized in allied countries, for example, than to have them stationed in California, Texas, N. Carolina, Washington, et al.
The DoD budgets may actually increase temporarily, but not necessarily, by bringing the troops and their logistical support, home.
But I agree; that the amount of waste, fraud, abuse, stupidity and corruption in the DoD is off the charts.
Bernie needs to be clearer on this unsustainable picture, regarding deployed military forces, imo.

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I doubt that one could discern much difference in either parties foreign policy in the last fifty years ( or 200, for that matter). All have favored a self serving “America’s interests first” policy at the expense of the lives and well being of others.
And should any of the Democrats place the proposals stated in the above article as their preferred foreign policy, what are the chances that they could deliver?? Think back to Obama and his proposal to close down Guantanamo… that went well.
Another well meaning and naive article, full of ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’, but completely divorced from the real world of global politics and the last 5000 years of global history, not to mention a basic grasp of the psychology of power.


Totally agree, we’ve got to get our troops out of Afghanistan and stop meddling militarily so much overseas. But Afghanistan is by far not the only foreign policy issue, in the Middle East there is also the wars in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, the situation with the Kurds, plus our relations with Iran that Obama tried to improve, with Cuba and Venezuela too, with Ukraine, Russia and China, with the Paris agreement, family planning assistance, medical aid, the list goes on. We really need a Dem foreign policy debate asap, not a one-issue “litmus test.”


Bob Fisk sees the tanks rolling on:

Hong Kong “terrorism”. Jammu and Kashmir (or Pakistani) “terrorism”. Ukrainian “terrorism”. Kurdish “terrorism”. And let’s not forget Palestinian “terrorism”. I wrote many times – and for the first time many years ago – that this pejorative, vicious expression would become an excuse for butchery anywhere in the world. And so today, it has come to pass. Talk about aggression, and the word “terrorism” will silence us. So the tanks can roll on.

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The real proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Obama pledged to end the wars are we’re still there years after his departure. Trump appeared to want to end the slaughter, yet it’s still ongoing. How many of the prospective candidates will actually have the nerves of steel required to stand up to the MIC(Pentagon) and end these costly wars? I believe Tulsi. She knows war and its extreme costs. Do others have the same resolve as she does? Peace


Agreed. And for that very reason, it is Tulsi Gabbard who is the most relentlessly targeted by our militarist, right-wing political-media establishment.

I just posted a blog detailing the DNC’s latest primary-rigging “shenanigans” (as Noam Chomsky termed the 2016 rigging) directed at Rep. Gabbard:



Demonstrating, yet again, that the Democratic Party has learned none of the lessons of 2016, the DNC appears hellbent on preventing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a staunchly anti-war progressive, from taking her place on the debate stage.

Rep. Gabbard has done far too well in her previous debate appearances, and her national support is steadily growing. She’s fought for election integrity, single-payer healthcare, a (specific, credible) Green New Deal, press freedom, a livable minimum wage, an overhaul of our deeply racist criminal justice system, and an end to Washington’s regime-change wars.

Like Bernie Sanders in 2016, her candidacy must be sabotaged by our political-media establishment, lest an actual liberal have a chance at the presidency. Because, from the Democratic Party’s perspective, defeating Donald Trump has never been as important as quashing the progressive movement.

When nearly two dozen polls from credible sources (The Economist, Emerson, Suffolk…) show that Rep. Gabbard has more than met the polling threshold to be on the debate stage — with over 130,000 unique donors (no PAC money) demonstrating considerable grassroots support — this is what the DNC resorts to… and not for the first time.

Here’s Noam Chomsky’s assessment of the “shenanigans” that determined the outcome of the 2016 farce that gave us President Trump:

“Here comes Sanders, somebody nobody ever heard of. No support from the wealthy, no support from corporations. The media ignored or disparaged him. He even used a scare word, ‘socialist.’ Came from nowhere. He would have won the Democratic Party nomination if it hadn’t been for the shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers who kept him out. Might have been president.”

(Actually, Mr. Chomsky, poll after poll showed that, but for the rigged primary, Bernie Sanders would have become our 45th president, trouncing Donald Trump by an average of 9-15%, well outside the margin of error.)

Today, the establishment has its sharpest knives out for the only Democrat running to Bernie’s left, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The most searched candidate following each of her first two debate performances, Rep. Gabbard has been relentlessly smeared by the mainstream media and sabotaged by both Google and Twitter:

Google’s shenanigans - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8A2kzeEqGA

Twitter’s fuckery - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS8zZijEkiA

Now, the big tech companies’ pals at the DNC are trying to simply “disappear” Rep. Gabbard from the debates — cheating to exclude the only progressive Democrat running for president (the one other bona fide progressive running for the office is Sen. Sanders, an independent).

I guess the DNC understands that the only way for a corporatist to “win” the Democratic Party’s nomination is by hook and by crook, and they’re back to their old tricks.

The DNC must really want another four years for Trump and the MAGA crowd.


Biden has supported a militaristic approach to foreign policy and has a right leaning foreign policy advisor:

  1. http://www.issues2000.org/2020/Joe_Biden_War_+_Peace.htm )

  2. https://theintercept.com/2019/07/24/joe-biden-nicholas-burns-foreign-policy/

So, the Democrat’s political machine is putting out the message that, political positions don’t matter; the only alternative to Trump , is a vote for Biden:

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Haven’t voted D since 2008.

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Oh, but they aren’t (sniffle, sniffle) trained up yet.
We train our military or police in six months. In Iran they must be awfully stupid cause it takes six, twelve, or maybe eighteen YEARS to bring them up to speed.
Or as I suspect, there is more to it, like playing hide and seek with our tax dollars.

FYI The U.S. is sending replacement units to spell the ones already there. Not ending anything, but continuing to occupy.

I haven’t voted ‘D’ since watching the DNC pull the racist card to knee cap Jesse Jackson’s surging campaign in 1988. I suspect the DNC will ensure Sanders is not the nominee by pushing the convention into a second round where super delegates can choose a rightwinger or, if his lead is too large that it would be downright criminal to stop his nomination, they’ll cut a deal with him to end their opposition if he allows the leadership to pick his running mate; Stacey Abrams. The relentless attacks on Tulsi by the media and DNC will never end.