Reforming Wall Street and creating a universal health care system have been the focus of Bernie Sanders' progressive message for a long time. Foreign policy? Not so much. Until now.
Last Thursday, the independent senator from Vermont delivered a major speech on foreign affairs at Westminster College, in Fulton, Mo.—the same college where Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946. According to The Intercept, Sanders' talk was part of his plan to create a progressive foreign policy for the United States.
"I think what we have to do is take a hard look at where we are today in terms of foreign policy, and where we have been for many years," Sanders told The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan before the speech. "And I think the main point to be made is that no country, not the United States or any other country, can do it alone. That if we’re going to address the very deep and complicated international issues that exist, we need to do it in cooperation."
Sanders stressed the cooperation theme during his address, which Esquire's Charles P. Pierce called his best speech in two years.
Here is a sampling of Sanders' words and vision:
Foreign policy is not just tied into military affairs. It is directly connected to economics. Foreign policy must take into account the outrageous income and wealth inequality that exists globally and in our own country. This planet will not be secure or peaceful when so few have so much, and so many have so little—and when we advance day after day into an oligarchic form of society where a small number of extraordinarily powerful special interests exert enormous influence over the economic and political life of the world.
...So when we talk about foreign policy, and our belief in democracy, at the very top of our list of concerns is the need to revitalize American democracy to ensure that governmental decisions reflect the interests of a majority of our people, and not just the few—whether that few is Wall Street, the military industrial complex, or the fossil fuel industry. We cannot convincingly promote democracy abroad if we do not live it vigorously here at home.
...In my view, the United States must seek partnerships not just between governments, but between peoples. A sensible and effective foreign policy recognizes that our safety and welfare is bound up with the safety and welfare of others around the world, with “all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands,” as Churchill said right here, 70 years ago.
In my view, every person on this planet shares a common humanity. We all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water and breathe clean air, and to live in peace. That’s what being human is about.
Our job is to build on that common humanity and do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other. As Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us, "The world of the future is in our making. Tomorrow is now."
Read Sanders' full remarks here.
Veteran progressive activist and Truthdig contributor Norman Solomon, the co-founder of the international online group RootsAction.org, believes Sanders' foreign policy speech is a positive step forward "in the effort to challenge the corporate, militarist influences behind U.S. foreign policy." Solomon discussed the speech with Aaron Maté from The Real News Network. Watch their interview in the video above.
—Posted by Eric Ortiz