In this interview with the Des Moines Register, Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders roundly slammed the Republican war-hawks pushing a jingoistic and overtly aggressive foreign policy.
“The cost of war is real, not to mention putting us in the whole 3-6 trillion dollars in debt. So I am not sympathetic to people who say “oh not a problem, we can go to war! War should be in my view, the last resort of a great nation. We should explore every other option — and I know that opens up the political types: ‘Oh, you’re wimpy. You don’t want to go to war.’ Well, I don’t accept that. I’ve talked to too many people who came home without legs, without eyesight, with traumatic brain injury…I would like to see the United States work with the rest of the world to resolve international conflicts in a way that does NOT take us into war.”
He then lays a smackdown on those opposed to the Iran deal and wanting to “double down” on sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, pointing out that “we are not the only nation involved with sanctions. You’ve got China, Russia, France, Germany, and they are not necessarily in agreement, and that’s an example of where you cannot do it alone. Some of those countries have come to the United States Congress urging us to pass this agreement. I do not particularly trust Iran, but I believe this agreement has enough mechanisms in it to say to Iran that if they break the agreement, we will snap back those sanctions and punish them, and military force remains an option. But we should do everything that we can to make sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, without having to go to war.”
It’s very gratifying to hear a presidential candidate channeling the pragmatic diplomacy that President Obama has pioneered so well. The George Bush era of blind American exceptionalism is over, and we owe it not only to ourselves but to the people of the Middle East to do our best to ensure peaceful resolution to the myriad of conflicts that are ongoing in that region. Following, say, Lindsey Graham’s plan of deploying ten thousand Americans back to Iraq is the worst possible thing our nation could do.
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.