No Militarists’ or ‘Corporate Goons’: Progressives Urge Biden to Appoint Foreign Policy Team That Rejects Status Quo of Endless War

Common Dreams – Jake Johnson – July 10, 2020

“It’s time to break with the past and build toward a new, progressive vision of U.S. foreign policy.”

Dozens of progressive anti-war and environmental organizations are demanding presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden commit to appointing a foreign policy team dedicated to fundamentally shifting U.S. national security strategy away from the “disastrous” and “overly-militarized” status quo.

In a letter (pdf) to Biden on Tuesday, 31 advocacy groups urged the former vice president to select “personnel that meet a set of basic principles” and disqualify anyone who participated or was complicit in the Bush administration’s torture regime, opposed the Iran deal, supports Israeli annexation of Palestinian land, or has worked for a private military contractor.

“The personnel you choose to staff your potential transition team and future administration will reflect your administration’s policy priorities and its approach to international engagement,” the groups wrote to Biden, whose support for the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq drew scrutiny and criticism throughout the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

“The failure to hold George W. Bush administration officials accountable for disastrous and unlawful decisions that made the United States and the world less safe impeded the Obama administration’s ability to carry out its stated agenda and rectify harmful errors of the past,” the groups wrote.

To qualify for a position on Biden’s foreign policy team, the groups said, potential appointees should meet a series of “minimum requirements”:

Recognition of mass inequality, white nationalism, climate change, pandemics, and authoritarianism as critical national security challenges that must be prioritized;

Advocacy for international cooperation, not competition, including “great power” competition, to resolve common challenges and create accountability for abuses;

Embrace of reducing the Pentagon’s budget to fully resource and prioritize nonmilitary solutions—such as peace building, conflict prevention, and diplomacy—as the primary tools to address violence and violent conflict, including as the main approach to addressing violent groups that perpetrate terrorism;

Support for the United States’ accession to, robust engagement with, and funding of international treaties and agreements, as well as international bodies and organizations that enhance international norms and rule of law, and limit and reduce the amount of nuclear weapons and materials in the world;

Emphasis of the importance of engaging and prioritizing the importance of civil society and local stakeholders in national security and foreign policymaking.

“In a time of global pandemic—as people across the nation rise up against a violence-first approach to addressing social ills here at home—one thing should be absolutely clear: the foreign policy status quo has not kept us safe,” said Kate Kizer, policy director of Win Without War, one of the letter’s signatories.

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Posted by Teri Perticone


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