Tulsi Gabbard endorsement of Sanders spotlights foreign policy

The decision of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, to resign as vice chairperson of the national Democratic Party and endorse Bernie Sanders for president is of great significance and puts the spotlight on the critical but often neglected foreign policy issue in the Democratic primaries. Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, said she believes Sanders, who opposed the Iraq war from the outset, has better judgment than Clinton on issues of foreign policy and is much more likely to prevent the further spread of war.

Gabbard admits Clinton now characterizes as a mistake her vote to give then-President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq in 2003, but said that as Secretary of State Clinton continued to promote regime-changing policy in Libya, leaving that country in chaos and a haven for ISIS and other extremist groups.

Furthermore, Gabbard is critical of Clinton’s support for a “no-fly” zone in Syria on the grounds that it raises the danger of a military confrontation with Russia.

The Democratic primary debate has focused primarily on domestic policy, where there is actually little difference in the aims espoused by both Clinton and Sanders and where there is a huge gulf between both of them and the Republicans.

Even on the domestic issues, however, some Sanders supporters worry that Clinton’s having accepted money from some Wall Street sources raises questions about what those sources expect in return.

Regardless of the controversy around those issues, however, the Gabbard endorsement of Sanders over the issue of foreign policy is extremely significant. Foreign policy is at least as important to Americans and perhaps even far more important to Americans as the domestic issues and probably far more significant in terms of humanity’s future.

The domestic issues around which Sanders and Clinton basically agree are closely dependent on what happens in terms of foreign policy. Neither the Sanders or the Clinton agendas could be implemented while trillions of dollars are being spent on foreign invasions and regime change and wars.

The “political revolution” Sanders advocates today and that his campaign is actually launching requires an entirely new foreign policy. It is not simply about ending income and wealth inequality and creating access to jobs, health care and education. These things can only be secured if it is also about peace, disarmament and cooperation among the nations of the earth. Tulsi Gabbard, with her resignation from the DNC and her endorsement of Sanders has done a great service by bringing this to light.

Photo: Tulsi Gabbard, CC BY-SA 3.0



Rick Nagin
Rick Nagin

Rick Nagin has written for People's World and its predecessors since 1970. He has been active for many years in Cleveland politics and the labor movement.