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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/7/19

The Secret Campaign for 2020: Where the Democratic Candidates Stand on Foreign Policy

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Democratic Candidates
Democratic Candidates
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Americans vote their pocketbooks. It's the economy, stupid. Absent a war or recent terrorist attack, conventional wisdom believes that voters prioritize domestic issues. Right now, conventional wisdom is correct. According to the latest Pew Research poll, the five most important issues for Democrats are healthcare, education, Medicare, poverty and the environment.

So it's not surprising that the major Democratic presidential contenders' campaigns are focusing on economic and other America-centric issues. Nor is it shocking that the news media, never more anemic or less willing to question the candidates, is ignoring their stances on foreign policy. You could watch five hours and read 50 pages of news every day and never learn where a top Dem stands on issues of war and peace, defense spending, assassination drones, Guanta'namo, NSA surveillance of Americans, foreign adventurism or human rights. Trust me, I know.

Still, voters deserve to know the would-be presidents' positions on issues that extend beyond U.S. borders. Here's what I found.

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The Democrats on Our Crazy Defense Spending

The military sucks up 54% of discretionary federal spending. Pentagon bloat has a huge effect on domestic priorities; the nearly $1 trillion a year that goes to exploiting, oppressing, torturing, maiming and murdering foreigners could go to building schools, college scholarships, curing diseases, poetry slams, whatever. Anything, even tax cuts for the rich, would be better than bombs. But as then GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in 2015, "The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things." If you're like me, you want as little killing and breaking as possible.

Unfortunately, no major Democratic presidential candidate favors substantial cuts to Pentagon appropriations.

Current frontrunner Joe Biden (33% in the polls) doesn't talk much about defense spending. He reminds us that his son served in Iraq (so he cares about the military) and that we shouldn't prioritize defense over domestic programs. Vague. Though specific programs might get trimmed, Lockheed Martin could rest easy under a President Biden.

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"Since he arrived in Congress, [runner-up] Bernie Sanders [19%] has been a fierce crusader against Pentagon spending, calling for defense cuts that few Democrats have been willing to support," The Hill reported in 2016. "As late as 2002, he supported a 50 percent cut for the Pentagon." Bernie is still a Pentagon critic but he won't commit to a specific amount to cut. He wouldn't slash and Bern. He'd trim.

Elizabeth Warren (8%) wants "to identify which programs actually benefit American security in the 21st century, and which programs merely line the pockets of defense contractors then pull out a sharp knife and make some cuts."

Neither Pete Buttigieg (8%) nor Beto O'Rourke (6%) have articulated any firm foreign policy positions whatsoever. Buttigieg brags about having served in the Navy Reserve. Unlikely that either man would change much.

Kamala Harris (5%) has not weighed in on military spending. She has received substantial campaign contributions from the defense industry, though.

The Democrats on Wars for Fun

As senator, Biden voted for the optional wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. He lied about his votes so maybe he felt bad about them. He similarly seems to regret his ro le in destroying Libya.

Sanders voted to invade Afghanistan. His comment at the time reads as hopelessly naïve about the bloodthirsty Bush-Cheney regime: "The use of force is one tool that we have at our disposal to fight against the horror of terrorism and mass murder... it is something that must be used wisely...and with great discretion." Sanders voted against invading Iraq, favored regime change in Libya (albeit nonviolently) and voted to bomb Syria.

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There have been no major new wars since 2013, when Warren joined the Senate, so her antiwar bona fides have not been tested. Like many of her colleagues, she wants an end to the "forever war" against Afghanistan. She also wants us out of Syria.

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Ted Rall, a political cartoonist, is the author of "The Anti-American Manifesto." He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from Fairmont West High School in 1981. His first cartoons were published (more...)
 

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Devil's Advocate

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Tulsi Gabbard may not a "major" candidate (which seems to be your criterium), but it wouldn't hurt to mention her, seeing as she DOES have some things to say about these things. Just sayin'.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 5:57:16 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

The article should be ABOUT Tulsi and how we're going to get her elected. She is the only one talking regieme change seriously. Mr. Rall has evidently already slid off the rails.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 3:29:25 PM

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Yep. That was where I was going. It's okay to tell people how "all these candidates" are NOT talking about something, but it's pointless not to follow up with WHO IS talking about it.

Unless of course, if the point is to keep people thinking about only those being artificially supported by the fake polls.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 5:47:39 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

Having people choose between the "lesser of two evils" has been such a success, the principle seems to now be to isolate a dozen such choices and make them all you can see.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 6:21:05 PM

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Posting from my wife's computer, as mine isn't cooperating.

This fellow, Dave something, has a site devoted to Tulsi. I note that he was originally a Trump supporter, but completely switched after not much time--hey! I voted for BO and saw the bs one week in. I get the reasons why many people folks did vote for dRump. Anyway, the video is worth the watch, related to this topic: click here

I encourage Ted Rall to listen up, carefully. dg

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 11:19:57 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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The Lesser of Two Evils has been the only choices given to us by the Deep State and the masses have been brainwash to the point of not really giving a poop. The candidates typically are Deep State puppets and pose little or no threat to the continuance of their policies. There have been two cases where the Deep State was concerned about the "winner" of an election, but soon got the newly elected under their control. The first was Reagan, who although his Vice President was a strong member of the Deep State they still had to give a warning shot which either would have killed him or, as it proved got him in line. The second was Trump who had a series of visits immediately following the election in 2017 from war criminal and Deep State Henry Kissinger. The results were seen with the appointments of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo and Trump's apparent giving up the foreign policy to the Deep State leaving him with building a wall and imposing tariffs.

Presently, the only hope a voter has of avoiding the "lesser of evil" choice is to research third-party candidates or make certain a candidate that is NOT backed by the DNC wins the nomination. In this campaign, there are two, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard, who fit that description. I regard Elizabeth Warren as a fence sitter and believe under pressure would cave. Of my two choices, IMHO Tulsi Gabbard is the lesser to cave to pressure from the Deep State once elected and poses the biggest threat to them and I believe they know it. That is why the only mention of her from the Presstitute Media Propagandists (PMP) is negative.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 10:14:54 AM

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Reply to Dennis Kaiser:   New Content

I don't want Tulsi Gabbard to be a JFK. And if she is what we think she is, then it will likely go that way. We don't want or need another martyr.

There's got to be another way; I just don't know what it is.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 2:13:57 PM

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I thought that as well as I believe she is such a strong individual she would not heed their threats much like the Kennedy boys.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 2:26:00 PM

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America is great. Two distinct political parties exist- a perfect policy for taxing EVERYONE! Democrats for global thermonuclear war, and Republicans for peace and prosperity. Our way or the highway, with Jesus.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 2:26:01 PM

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