Bernie Sanders’ Foreign Policy Judgment Is More Valuable Than Clinton’s Experience

    Bernie Sanders. (Gage Skidmore / (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Instead of criticizing Sanders’ “inexperience,” we should “be questioning why any of the candidates of either party are employing the same old foreign policy advisers – many of whom not only supported the Iraq war but every disastrous military intervention since,” argues Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, at The Guardian.

There’s little difference between Clinton’s foreign policy proposals and those of the Republican candidates “besides a few rhetorical flourishes,” Timm continues. “These are the same people who now think that yet another regional war will somehow fix the chaos in the Middle East”:

After a series of disastrous wars overseas, we should be looking for someone who has better “judgment” rather than candidates who have “experience” but are calling for more of the same policies in the Middle East that have led us into the mess we’re in now in the first place.

Nothing exemplifies this more than Hillary Clinton seemingly bragging about her foreign policy credentials at Thursday’s Democratic debate by citing her friendship with Henry Kissinger, who Christopher Hitchens called a war criminal. The former Nixon and Ford administration national security advisor and secretary of state is revered in DC foreign policy establishment circles but reviled just about everywhere else for his role in building or perpetuating multiple atrocities in east Asia during the late 1960s and 70s. […]

It’s also true, as his detractors claim, that Sanders often falls back on his opposition to the Iraq war when asked about his foreign policy expertise. But pretty much everything he said before the war did come to pass. He also refused to support the Libyan intervention in 2011, which has led to the chaos that engulfs Libya today and has us on the precipice of yet another war (an intervention, mind you, that Clinton was the key architect of inside the Obama administration). Clinton’s long “experience” as secretary of state doesn’t replace this lack of judgment, which is arguably much more important.

Again, this is not to say Sanders’s lack of detail on some foreign policy issues is not a legitimate issue: it’s certainly something we should question. In place of detailed policies, Sanders often falls back on the status quo as well. For example, Sanders told Meet the Press months ago, when asked about the Obama administration’s controversial drone policy and use of special forces troops in multiple countries, that as president he would do “all that and more”.

These are all well-founded problems. However, the fact that he has not brought on DC foreign policy “experts” to advise him that he needs to start more wars is certainly not one of them.

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