On the Campaign Trail:
Where She’s Coming From
Author and self-help guru Marianne Williamson recently spoke at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire to elaborate on her vision fAmerica’s role in the world.
“We will not deploy soldiers unnecessarily. We will champion peace-building approaches to international conflict and atrocity prevention in hotspots around the world through mediation, diplomacy and effective on-the-ground programs. We will provide humanitarian aid. We will support frameworks necessary for democratic processes to take root and flourish.”
Williamson expressed support for both the Paris Climate Accords and the Iran Nuclear Deal and harshly criticized the military-industrial complex.
On the Military Industrial Complex:
On Russian Aggression in Ukraine:
‘Part of the Russian aggression against Ukraine involves the Russian interference with the Ukrainian elections. Methods that Russia used against the United States in the 2016 election were first used against the Ukrainians. Russia launched a cyber Pearl Harbor attack against the United States and successfully interfered in our elections. I support a vigorous investigation into the Russian interference in elections in the US, Ukraine and Europe, and massively strengthened cyber-security for US elections.’Council on Foreign Relations interview
On Israel and a Two-State Solution:
‘Yes.Council on Foreign Relations interview
The United States should have an equal and simultaneous support for both the legitimate security concerns of Israel, and the human rights, dignity and economic opportunities of the Palestinian people.
I will be a president who listens deeply to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Leaders of the Palestinian Authority will know that I hear them and understand their plight, yet nothing is going to sway me from my commitment to the legitimate security of Israel. Israeli leaders will know that I hear them and understand their plight, yet nothing is going to sway me from my commitment to the human rights, dignity and economic hopes of the Palestinian people.
I do not believe the settlements on the West Bank are legal. Also, I would rescind the president’s affirmation of sovereignty of Israel over the Golan Heights. I understand the occupation of the Golan Heights, but only until there is a stable government in Syria with whom one can negotiate.
According to international law, the occupation of a territory does not give the occupying country a right to annex it. Also, according to international law, the resources of the occupied territory are to be used for the good of those living there.
I also do not support the blockade of Gaza.
I will use pressure afforded me as president of the United States to exert pressure on Israel to restart talks on a two-state solution.’
On the Intelligence Community:
The US government – including under Obama – has wanted regime change in Venezuela since at least 2002 (year of the failed military coup against Chávez), and the efforts it’s undertaken to remove the leftwing governments of Chávez and now Maduro have consistently made things worse in Venezuela and have arguably harmed US regional interests.Council on Foreign Relations interview
The US government has for years supported radical elements of the opposition, those that support destabilization campaigns and military coups, rather than more moderate factions that support electoral solutions, and in so doing have exacerbated the internal polarization in the country which has, in turn, contributed to the current political crisis. The Trump administration’s support for Guaidó, who – until recently was calling for a military coup against Maduro and refusing all dialogue – is an example of this counterproductive approach.
Since 2017 the Trump administration has been trying to force Maduro out through increasingly damaging economic sanctions that have made the country’s economic crisis worse and generated higher levels of migration out of the country, creating enormous difficulties for neighboring countries. The end result has been more human suffering – including thousands of avoidable deaths – and, ironically, the consolidation of Maduro’s rule over the country, as the lower income chavista base has rallied in his defense against “imperial intervention.”
If the US really wants to see a peaceful political transition in Venezuela it needs to help create the conditions for effective dialogue, which means supporting moderate factions on both sides that seek a peaceful transition and supporting existing efforts to promote dialogue, in particular those being led at the moment – with some success – by the Norwegian government.
The historical record shows that when the US government engages in aggressive intervention to remove a leader that it dislikes, its efforts generally backfire or lead to unforeseen political and social developments that are not easy to resolve. The best policy in Venezuela and most places is to support efforts that allow the country’s citizens to decide on their political future (even if it’s not exactly the sort of future that the US favors).
On North Korea:
Nuclear weapons are a symptom of conflict, fear, insecurity, and a drive to dominate. Denuclearization will follow more naturally and easily with decreased tensions and improved relationships.Council on Foreign Relations interview
Sanctions are a form of economic warfare with a high rate of failure. Punitive, coercive policies do not always achieve the best outcomes. Sanctions harm innocent people, escalate conflicts and can put us on a path to war. They can provoke targeted populations to rally round the flag, support hardliners and inflame resentment against America.
We can achieve superior outcomes with clear-eyed respect and steps towards thawing the ice. This could help improve our relationship with Kim Jong Un and de-escalate threats from North Korea.
Actions that can be taken to reduce tension and build a stable and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula including the following:
Principled progress on diplomacy, including citizen diplomacy
A political statement declaring an end to the Korean War, replacing the armistice agreement with a peace regime
Support South Korean efforts to improve inter-Korean relations through confidence-building and tension reduction measures
Inter-Korean economic, cultural and civic projects
Humanitarian relief efforts
Inclusion of women, youth, and civil society in negotiations
Joint US-DPRK trust-building programs
continuing POW/MIA remains repatriation
reunions between long-divided North Korean and Korean American families.
Action might also include partial sanctions relief in exchange for some serious dismantling of their nuclear weapons program, as steps towards de-escalation and improved relations.
Negotiating a peace agreement would end the Korean War and ease denuclearization. It could shift resources away from endless wars to human needs, improving life for millions of North Koreans and reducing a global threat.
On China and Human Rights:
China is aggressively engaging in theft, practicing commercial espionage, and ignoring intellectual-property rights as well as trampling on human rights and democracy in their drive to dominate global markets. The US must maintain a strong position regarding China with regard to economics, politics, and human rights.Council on Foreign Relations interview
China’s treatment of the Uighurs and of Hong Kong reflect their aggressive drive for domination and their disdain for human rights and democracy. The United States needs to stand up for human rights and call out the gross violations of human rights committed by China. It’s a good thing that this week Secretary Pompeo denounced China’s treatment of the Uighurs. We should also be speaking out against the authoritarian push for greater control in Hong Kong where thousands of people are demonstrating for their democratic rights.
Additionally, the US has the power to prevent China from buying strategically important companies, which we have done through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS). We should exercise this power more vigorously as we defend our economic interests and human rights for all.