Are Sanders and Warren Throwing a Lifeline to the Military-Industrial Complex?


By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J S Davies


August 26, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Among the frontrunners in the Democratic Party presidential primary, Senators Warren and Sanders not only have the most progressive domestic agenda, but also the most anti-war, pro-diplomacy foreign policy agenda. The sharpest distinction between them is that Sanders has voted against over 80% of recent record military spending bills in the Senate, while Warren has voted for two thirds of them. 


But their pro-diplomacy worldview has blind spots. They have both tempered their calls for peace and diplomacy with attacks on Russia and China, framed as warnings against “authoritarianism.” These attacks—in the present-day context of bipartisan Russia- and China-bashing—carve out an ominous exception to their foreign policy agenda big enough to fly a squadron of F-35s through. This creates a pretext for continuing U.S. militarism and risks undermining their commitment to peace.


Warren's and Sanders' visions.


Warren defined her vision of U.S. foreign policy with an article in the January/February 2019 edition of Foreign Affairs.  She began, “Around the world, democracy is under assault. Authoritarian governments are gaining power, and right-wing demagogues are gaining strength.”  She asked, “How did we get here?”, and answered her question with an accurate and intelligent account of the failures of neoliberalism.  


Warren explained that, after the Cold War, U.S. policymakers “began to export a particular brand of capitalism, one that involved weak regulations, low taxes on the wealthy, and policies favoring multinational corporations. And the United States took on a series of seemingly endless wars, engaging in conflicts with mistaken or uncertain objectives and no obvious path to completion. The impact of these policy changes has been devastating.”


Warren made a coherent critique of the U.S.’s militarized approach to terrorism, and promised to cut military spending and bring troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. She champions a No First Use nuclear weapons policy, which would be a long overdue step toward ending the threat of nuclear annihilation that still hangs over us all


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