What Bernie Sansders’ Foreign Policy may look like

What would a President Sanders’ foreign policy look like? Based on his record and my conversation with him, I believe it would be rooted in a number of key principles. First is restraint in using American force abroad. As he has stated, and as is demonstrated by his vote against the Iraq War and the first Gulf War, Sanders believes military action should be the last, not first, option and that, when taken, such action should be multilateral. I also believe, based on our conversation, that he would follow the Weinberger Doctrine (also known as the Powell Doctrine): When the United States uses military force abroad, our objectives should be clear, we should be prepared to use all the force necessary to achieve those objectives, and we should know when they have been achieved. …

Sanders’ military restraint extends to spending, too. Since coming to Congress, he has argued forcefully and repeatedly for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Pentagon so that we can reduce defense spending. There is no need for the United States to spend more than the next seven top-spending countries in the world combined, several of which are our allies, and more in real dollars than we spent annually on average during the Cold War. As President Obama has pointed out, while America has many challenges in the world, we are not in the midst of World War III.

Twenty-five years after the Cold War, there is also no need to spend a trillion dollars to modernize our nuclear arsenal, and Sanders has even pledged to cut $100 billion in nuclear spending over the next decade. Instead the United States should ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which Sanders told me he would push for, in order to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for both military or civilian purposes. In fact, Sanders has demonstrated a much more forward-thinking foreign policy. He would, like many of our military leaders, treat climate change as a national security threat and indicated to me that he would seek to have the Senate ratify the Law of the Sea Convention, which defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for business, the environment and the management of marine natural resources. …

A President Sanders would govern more like a President Dwight Eisenhower, who refused to give in to the demands of the military-industrial complex even after the Russians launched Sputnik, and focused on nation-building at home rather than spending billions on unnecessary weapons systems. Or like Nixon, who cut defense spending dramatically and developed a health care plan more inclusive than Obamacare. Or like Obama, who not only reached out to Iran, but also has tried to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, and who restored diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Bernie Sanders Is More Serious on Foreign Policy Than You Think