President Obama Meets with President Castro
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Reprinted from www.telesurtv.net
President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn't stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress.
US progressives who are delighted to see some progress on the diplomatic front should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US policy towards one that is based on respect, cooperation, and diplomacy, including the following:
1. Reduce Military Spending, Build a Peace Economy
None of the presidential candidates has been calling for a significant reduction in the bloated military budget that eats up half the discretionary funds in the US budget. They should. How else can we find the funds needed to invest in key areas such as sustainable energy projects, infrastructure, care for veterans, education, or affordable housing? The US must move away from a war economy to a peace economy, including a major transition program for workers to move from military- to peace-based jobs.
2. Expand the Use of Diplomacy
The US should extend the policies started under the Obama Administration of making peace with Cuba and Iran to other conflict areas of the world, including the unresolved conflict on the Korean peninsula where an Armistice Agreement from 1953 needs to be replaced with a Peace Treaty. The US should stop dumping more weapons into the Middle East, and instead focus on political resolutions to the wars in Syria and Iraq. The same is true for the Israel-Palestine conflict, where the US should stop arming Israel and stop protecting Israel from being held accountable for its actions at UN bodies.
3. Abide by International Law - No Unauthorized Wars
The US should cease the practice of launching wars not authorized by Congress or the United Nations. It should stop extrajudicial killings, including the use of weaponized drones, and support a global treaty banning these weapons systems.