Today’s countdown comes from Alex Patel.
The first Democratic presidential debate is coming up in just over a week. Two of the biggest foreign policy issues at the moment are the Syrian Civil War and the Iran Nuclear Deal.
While Hillary Clinton and many Republican candidates want to get more involved in Syria, Sanders understands the United States’ previous blunders in the Middle East have only led to further blowback. Sanders opposes a no-fly zone over Syria and wants to avoid excessive military entanglement in the region. However, Sanders also supports giving more aid to Syrians, given the enormous human toll that the war has caused. The conflict has caused a massive refugee crisis in the region, with many Syrians desperately trying to reach European soil and avoid the bloodshed at home. In the post-Iraq era, Sanders’s reluctance to use force abroad is the kind of restraint we need to keep a cool head, avoid wasting money, and most of all prevent massive human suffering and disastrous consequences.
Many in Congress are opposed to the Iran Deal, including some Democrats. The truth is that while the deal isn’t perfect, it’s a step in the right direction. It prevents Iran from procuring a nuclear weapon and allows for regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In return, sanctions will be lifted off of Iran, although the sanctions will be reinstalled if Iran violates the deal. The truth is that even if people are angry at the current Iranian regime, sanctions really end up hurting the everyday people of Iran more than anyone. After all, the Soviet Union was once considered our biggest enemy and they had thousands of nukes and we still negotiated with them (both Republican and Democratic presidents and legislatures).
Sanders’s support of the Iran Deal signals a willingness to negotiate and a preference for peaceful restraint over armed engagement. A Sanders presidency would mean force would only be used as a last resort, and only with clear goals in sight. It would also mean a move away from unilateral action and a greater emphasis on the power of the pen over the sword. But perhaps most importantly, it means promoting human rights and valuing people above all else.
For more on Bernie Sanders’s positions on foreign policy, check out his Web site.
Alex Patel recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in political science from American University. Originally from Los Angeles, he moved to the Bay Area to work at an augmented reality start up. He encourages fellow millennials to vote in the upcoming primaries and elections and participate in the political system in order to make a difference and slay political apathy.