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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/23/19

Bernie Sanders' Foreign Policy Advantage is Clear and Substantial

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Stephen Fox
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Expanding on the New York Times columnist's column is appropriate (although I don't agree at all that Sanders is somehow "less distinct on economic policy than he was in 2016") This was written by Jamelle Bouie, formerly chief political correspondent for Slate Magazine. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Bouie is "one of the defining commentators on politics and race in the Trump era."

I have received fierce complaints on my Facebook group posts and shares of OEN articles in the past few days, and they are almost all focused on what Bernie hasn't done about Venezuela and the Trump Oil Takeover Coup down there. Baffling, isn't it, as if he were supposed to unilaterally and singlehandedly take on challenging Donald Trump on every single Foreign Policy faux pas the President makes, which really do number in the dozens.

I do think this columnist really nailed it, especially by pointing to Bernie's speech at Westminster College 70 years after the Churchill "Iron Curtain" speech. As real and as urgent as it may have seemed at that time, Bernie's speech completely updates Churchill's for the 21st Century. If you haven't seen it, here it is:

Bernie Sanders Explains What a Progressive Foreign Policy + National Security Strategy Look Like

The other more recent speech at Johns Hopkins is also accessible at YouTube.com

The Times columnist wrote:

Bernie Sanders' most prominent message is economic, organized around a critique of capitalist inequality, an indictment of the ultra-wealthy and a call for expansive new social programs. It helped propel him to a strong second in the 2016 Democratic primary campaign and has returned as the marquee message for his 2020 campaign, which he announced Tuesday with a promise to "complete the revolution."

Unfortunately for his 2020 campaign, Sanders is less distinct on economic policy than he was in 2016. His rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have either embraced broad ideas like Medicare for all or unveiled their own: Elizabeth Warren's universal child care proposal; Cory Booker's plan to drastically reduce housing costs; Kamala Harris' LIFT Act, which would build on the earned-income tax credit and create a new monthly cash payment for most middle-class households.

Sanders has explained his foreign policy very clearly in two different speeches: the first in 2017 at Missouri's Westminster College speaking from the stage where Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech and one in October 2018, at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

I couldn't agree more with the following list of "Bad Guys," although in reality, the list should be a bit longer...

As for culprits, Sanders has a list. His Johns Hopkins address lists Vladimir Putin of Russia, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia as part of this global nexus of corruption and autocracy. He also singles out American billionaires like Robert Mercer and Sheldon Adelson for "promoting a shared agenda of intolerance and bigotry" as part of a "common front" of authoritarianism. While Sanders was silent on Venezuela in these speeches, he has criticized the government of Nicola's Maduro in other venues, attacking its authoritarianism and suppression of democracy while rejecting intervention by the United States.

How true is the worthy conclusion of this column~

Americans must strive for fairness and equality in their own country. "If we are going to expound the virtues of democracy and justice abroad, and be taken seriously, we need to practice those values here at home," Sanders says.

What separates him from the pack in this race are his forceful and well-defined foreign policy views his synthesis of domestic and international concerns. Rather than fight on old, now-crowded ground, he can move to new territory, opening vital conversations about America's role in the world. He can bring a new set of progressive ideas to the Democratic mainstream and force his opponents to debate them on his terms. In doing so, Sanders could establish himself as the leading candidate for progressive Democrats who want to rebuild the nation's reputation and influence as much as its economy.

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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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