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Thursday, November 14, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s no secret that the top Democrats have been fixated on domestic issues. It seems advancing their socialism is their number one priority, as they pound the drum of Medicare for All and eliminating student debt — policies with a price tag of trillions of dollars.

Meanwhile, foreign policy has gotten lost in the shuffle. During July’s Democratic debate, it took nearly two hours for a candidate to mention even one war the United States is fighting overseas. It’s almost like, in their minds, being the head of our military isn’t an integral part of the president’s job. 


A couple of candidates seem to have appropriate concern with the money we’re bleeding and the lives we’re ruining through our never-ending war endeavors. For her part, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is trying her best to do just that. Calling out the establishment for their hawkish stances on war has become her hobby horse, and rightly so.

The War on Terror, while never officially declared by Congress, has added $2.4 trillion to the national debt as of fiscal 2020. We’ve lost thousands of Americans in Iraq, and troops continue to lay their lives on the line in Afghanistan in America’s longest war. Despite President Trump’s promise of ending endless wars, he’s deployed even more troops to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. This has to end.

For those of us also skeptical of endless war, Ms. Gabbard is a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t see the United States as the “world’s police,” and she wants to put a halt to the U.S. obsession with “regime change wars.” She vehemently opposed Mr. Trump’s haphazard handling of Iran’s fragile state and believes that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has death grips on his nuclear arsenal because of U.S. interventions.

All in all, Ms. Gabbard’s style of foreign policy is staid, consistent and — during our current age of erratic, piecemeal decision-making — exactly what America needs. 

Of course, Ms. Gabbard isn’t going to get the Democratic nomination, but one of the three frontrunners just might. And, what with how little they talk about foreign policy, it doesn’t seem they quite grasp the gravity of the situation.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to articulate a coherent foreign policy strategy. What he has done is manage some glorious fumbles, confusing Iraq for Afghanistan and grossly diminishing the financial threat that China poses to America. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Mr. Biden is hedging on ignorant when it comes to foreign policy.

Also, it’s impossible to overlook his track record — voting in favor of the Iraq War, advising President Obama against taking out Osama bin Laden and supporting our involvement in Yemen’s civil war. Of course, he also gave his approval on sending additional troops to Afghanistan, weeks after Mr. Obama had promised to withdraw them. Mr. Biden has been, and always will be, a bumbling war hawk of a politician. 

For her part, Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems far less concerned with ending our wars than she ought to be. She has said she wants to get the troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, but she’s also rather concerned with “winning” in Afghanistan. 

“Winning” in her mind likely looks like keeping the status quo, negotiating a calculated solution before any troops can come home — never mind the fact that we’ve been unsuccessfully negotiating in this region of the world for over a decade. All of her comments on foreign policy are footnotes to her larger campaign goals of drastically increasing federal spending in every major policy area.

Occasionally, Sen. Bernie Sanders will claim he also wants to halt endless wars. But, much like Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders wants to “work closely with our partners and allies to design a serious diplomatic and political strategy to stabilize the region, promote more effective and accountable governance, and ensure that threats do not re-emerge after we leave.”

In other words, Bernie isn’t promising any very substantial changes. He won’t leave the Middle East without a strong negotiated agreement — an agreement we’ve not been able to come to for 18 years.

If nothing else, Tulsi Gabbard has proven herself extremely useful in calling the Democrats’ bluff. In return, the left has made her their punching bag. The New York Times named her an “Assad apologist” and a “Russian asset.” The “Queen of War Mongers” herself, Hillary Clinton, also piled on, claiming Ms. Gabbard is “groomed by the Russians.”

The attacks keep rolling in against her, but she hasn’t backed down. It’s patently obvious now that the rest of the Democrats don’t feel an urgent need to bring troops home. In their efforts to achieve points with America’s social justice warriors by promising as many “free” things as possible, they’re neglecting a major aspect of the job they’re applying for: commander-in-chief. 

• Natalie Dowzicky is a Young Voices contributor and a cohost on the Pursuit Podcast (@ThePursuitPod) & the Pop & Locke podcast (@PopnLockePod), both produced by libertarianism.org. Follow her on Twitter @Nat_Dowzicky.


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