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On The Campaign Trail:

The gruff socialist from Vermont is the quintessential Washington outsider a radical reformer. Along with his foreign policy adviser Matt Duss, he says the 2020 election is an opportunity to “reconceptualize” the global order.

In his 2016 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders avoided issues of war and peace. Now he embraces them.

Last October, Sanders laid out a vision for U.S. foreign policy that he says he will bring to the White House. In a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Sanders depicted “global struggle” between the “movement for democracy, equalitarianism, economic, social, racial and environmental justice” and a “growing worldwide movement towards authoritarianism, oligarchy and kleptocracy.”

This perspective shaped his views on the hottest issues of the day.

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On North Korea:

Yes, and then continue negotiations. Every step we take to reduce North Korea’s nuclear force, to open it up to inspections, to end the 70-year-old Korean War and to encourage peaceful relations between the Koreas and the United States increases the chances of complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Peace and nuclear disarmament must proceed in parallel, in close consultations with our South Korean ally. I will work to negotiate a step-by-step process to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program, build a new peace and security regime on the peninsula and work towards the eventual elimination of all North Korean nuclear weapons.

Council on Foreign Relations interview

On Venezuela: No To Regime Change

My administration would support the negotiations between the Maduro government and the opposition, and work with other countries in our region, and the international community, to support the Venezuelan people’s right to build their own future. The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination in Venezuela, as we should elsewhere. We would condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent. We would also listen to the voices of Venezuelan activists themselves who warn against broad sanctions, such as the Trump administration’s oil sanctions, that mainly punish the people, not the government. My administration would not be in the business of regime change. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.

Council on Foreign Relations interview

Sanders does not support the Maduro government but rejects the Trump policy of regime change.

The Vermont Senator also signed onto the Senate Joint Resolution 11: Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Resolution of 2019 as a co-sponsor on March 25th.

On China and Human Rights:

China is engaged in a program of mass internment and cultural genocide against the Uighur people. It has also been steadily eroding liberal democracy in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the United States has limited options when it comes to pressuring Beijing to change its policies. But that does not mean that we should, as the Trump administration has done, abandon our role in promoting human rights, whether at the United Nations or as part of our ongoing trade negotiations with China. My administration will work with allies to strengthen global human rights standards and make every effort to let Beijing know that its behavior is damaging its international standing and undermining relations with the United States.

Council on Foreign Relations interview

On Democracy: Strive for Better

We need to counter oligarchic authoritarianism with a strong global progressive movement that speaks to the needs of working people, that recognizes that many of the problems we are faced with are the product of a failed status quo. We need a movement that unites people all over the world who don’t just seek to return to a romanticized past, a past that did not work for so many, but who strive for something better.

On Foreign Policy: ‘A New Global Order’

Bernie Sanders announces.

On Defense Spending: Cut it!

Sanders would cut it to fund anti-poverty campaign.

Defense donations only make up 0.15% of all campaign donations

Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty, has estimated that the cost to end world poverty is $175 billion per year for 20 years, about ten percent of what the world spends on weapons.

Donald Trump thinks we should spend more on these weapons. I think we should spend less.

On Immigration: Deterrence is Cruelty

Migrants and refugees should be treated with compassion and respect when they reach Europe or the United States. Yes, we need better international cooperation to address the flow of migrants across borders, but the solution is not to build walls and amplify the cruelty toward those fleeing impossible conditions as a deterrence strategy.

On Russia: Trump Sympathetic to Strongmen

‘The framework put in place by the Obama Administration—the European Reassurance Initiative and multilateral sanctions—seems to have helped contain Russian aggression in Ukraine. My administration will make clear to Russia that additional aggression will force the United States to increase pressure, including expanding beyond current sanctions. For now, our main priority should be to work closely with our European allies to help the new Ukrainian government make good on its promises to reform the economy, improve standards of living, and substantially reduce corruption.’

Council on Foreign Relations interview

We face an unprecedented situation of an American president who for whatever reason refuses to acknowledge this attack on American democracy. Why is that? I am not sure what the answer is. Either he really doesn’t understand what has happened, or he is under Russian influence because of compromising information they may have on him, or because he is ultimately more sympathetic to Russia’s strongman form of government than he is to American democracy.

In the Eyes of ‘the Blob’ and the Secret Intelligence Agencies:

The election of Bernie Sanders in 2020 would represent a fundamental challenge to policymaking elites, intelligence chiefs, and military leaders, on par with Trump. With his unyielding criticism of the system of American-led capitalism and military intervention which they have defended for decades, President Sanders would be viewed with suspicion, if not hostility in many power centers in Washington.

On Yemen: Diplomacy, Not Militarism

On Iran:

Sen. Sanders: ” Attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are unacceptable and must be fully investigated. But this incident must not be used as a pretext for a war with Iran, a war which would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region and the world. The time is now for the United States to exert international leadership and bring the countries in the region together to forge a diplomatic solution to the growing tensions. I would also remind President Trump that there is no congressional authorization for a war with Iran. A unilateral U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional.” – official statement from the Senator’s office can be read here.

On Israel:

‘Yes, the parameters of that solution are well known. They are based in international law, in multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, and are supported by an overwhelming international consensus: Two states based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Ultimately, it’s up to the Palestinians and Israelis themselves to make the choices necessary for a final agreement, but the United States has a major role to play in brokering that agreement. My administration would also be willing to bring real pressure to bear on both sides, including conditioning military aid, to create consequences for moves that undermine the chances for peace.’

Council on Foreign Relations interview

Return to Insider’s Guide to the 2020 Democrats on War and Peace

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