The Democrats think they have a good chance to pick up the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate in the midterm elections in November and the White House in 2020. And with the left wing of the party gaining more and more grass roots influence, some “progressives” think they may actually get to govern the country. They have lots of domestic ideas–“Medicare for all,” free college tuition, abolish border enforcement, tax the rich, etc.–but they don’t really have a foreign policy fleshed out, much less a policy for national defense. But if they are going to run the national government, they need to figure out what they want to do about international relations.
Van Jackson, who worked in the Defense Department under the Obama administration, has written an interesting article onthis subject for Politico entitled Is the Left Ready to Handle National Security?
The Left does have some ideas on these issues, but they are often inconsistent to the point of clashing with each other.
In the past, he says, there has been a bipartisan consensus around the principles of “Neoliberalism” (in the sense of free markets). This approach seeks peace and good international relations through multi-national treaties (NAFTA) and organizations (UN), focusing especially on free trade and financial relationships.
Then there is “Neoconservatism,” which seeks to spread democracy and American ideals, to the point of starting wars with countries that resist them.
The Left criticizes Neoliberalism because of its opposition to global capitalism. It criticizes Neoconservatism because it opposes war.
In this they agree with Donald Trump, who also opposes both approaches.So what will progressives put forward instead? They are vocal in supporting globalism, free immigration, and international actions against global warming. But how would this all work?
Also, how would they handle national defense? Some progressives are saying that the trillions of dollars that we spend on the military would be better spent on universal healthcare. Others are pretty much pacifists. So what would our military look like under a progressive government? How would you handle national defense and homeland security?
I have some additional questions that I’d like to ask progressive politicians, especially the ones who are embracing socialism:
(1) Historically, socialism has been seen as an international movement. The goal, not just of Marxists but of Democratic Socialists, was for the workers of the world to unite to establish global socialism. Is that your goal?
(2) What would be your relationship with other socialist regimes, such as North Korea and China?
(3) What do you think about Chinese socialism, with its application of some free market principles in the context of a Communist society? Do you think that is a good model for other countries to adopt?
(4) The Left tends to be sympathetic to Islam, even though that religion is hostile to other progressive causes, such as gay rights and the liberation of women. How would you handle the problems in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and other hotspots in the Middle East?
(5) What would be your immigration policy? Would you really open the borders to everyone and abolish the ICE, which enforces immigration laws? Will you abolish all visa, green card, and application procedures? How would this work in practice?
What would be some other foreign policy questions that progressives who want to run the government should answer?
Photo: Redbloc2. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10961690