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Bernie Sanders lacks foreign policy experience, but also his rivals' errors

By       Message Trevor Timm       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from The Guardian

Better judgment is what's needed, not candidates with "experience" who are calling for more of the same policies in the Middle East that led to war

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders
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As Bernie Sanders has risen in the polls, he has been taking increasing heat for some of his apparently vague foreign policy positions and the fact that his campaign does not have a team of establishment foreign policy advisers, unlike typical front-running candidates.

Instead of just questioning Sanders' choice, we should really be questioning why any of the candidates of either party are employing the same old foreign policy advisers -- many of whom not only supported the Iraq war but every disastrous military intervention since. These are the same people who now think that yet another regional war will somehow fix the chaos in the Middle East.

After a series of disastrous wars overseas, we should be looking for someone who has better "judgment" rather than candidates who have "experience" but are calling for more of the same policies in the Middle East that have led us into the mess we're in now in the first place.

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Nothing exemplifies this more than Hillary Clinton seemingly bragging about her foreign policy credentials at Thursday's Democratic debate by citing her friendship with Henry Kissinger, who Christopher Hitchens called a war criminal. The former Nixon and Ford administration national security advisor and secretary of state is revered in DC foreign policy establishment circles but reviled just about everywhere else for his role in building or perpetuating multiple atrocities in east Asia during the late 1960s and 70s.

As Gawker editor Alex Pareene remarked during the debate: "Never say 'I was flattered when Henry Kissinger said I...' unless the end of that sentence is 'finally made him pay for his crimes.'"

But it's a far larger problem than the ubiquitousness of Kissinger, who still advises Republican candidates as well. The campaigns of Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have all been advised by the same foreign policy "consulting" group made up of former defense and intelligence officials who epitomize DC conventional wisdom. A gaggle of former Bush administration officials most known for their Iraq war and pro-torture advocacy advises virtually every Republican candidate outside Donald Trump.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)
 

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