As the 2020 presidential election approaches, what do progressives hope to see from candidates when it comes to foreign policy? On Friday, May 10th, members of the SLU community and beyond gathered to explore the tricky of how to develop a foreign policy that makes sense for the current world and keeps true to progressive values.
The conversation brought together Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher of The Nation, and Aziz Rana, Professor of Law at Cornell University, with the New Labor Forum’s Steve Fraser moderating.
Progressive activists and political leaders in the U.S. have been slow to elaborate a vision regarding foreign policy. Although anti-interventionism and support for decreases in military spending are widely shared stances on the left, they do not comprise a comprehensive foreign policy platform.
What accounts for the lack of attention toward developing a progressive foreign policy platform? What principles and policies would make up such a platform? What would a non-imperial vision of the U.S. in the world look like? What current alliances would such a platform call into question? What are the current possibilities and the substantial obstacles to advancing a contemporary progressive vision for foreign policy? What can we expect from the growing progressive wing of Congressional Democrats?
The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
With today’s newsletter, we offer an article written for us by Bob Dreyfuss, editor ofTheDreyfussReport.com and frequent writer for Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect , and The New Republic . In his piece for New Labor Forum , Dreyfuss notes that Sanders and Warren, alone among the 14 candidates who have currently entered the 2020 Democratic field, have begun to elaborate foreign policy positions. Their unabashedly left positions, Dreyfuss argues, are without parallel since the 1972 candidacy of George McGovern. As centrist candidates and the U.S. military lobby apparatus gear up, Democratic foreign policy discussions are certain to shift to the right. And as that happens, Dreyfuss suggests we keep an eye out for a bold, new actor on the scene: Common Defense, an organization unwilling to cede any anti-war ground to the erratic gyrations of Donald Trump.
As the left continues its efforts to elaborate a foreign policy in the 2020 race, Ted Fertik, writing for N+1, urges a more accurate understanding of what he views as the widely mischaracterized Marshall Plan. Rather than an act of global generosity, he argues, its intent was to shore up U.S. capitalism and bourgeois political systems in Western Europe, and its distinct result was to feed the Cold War. “Marshall Plan-thinking”, Fertik argues, has held powerful sway in U.S. politics through the periods of the Vietnam War, wars in Central America, and the war in Iraq. It is this thinking to which the left must offer an alternative in a world made more complex by the rise of China as a global economic and military power.
Geopolitics for the Left/ Ted Fertik, N+1 Magazine
The Left Gets a Foreign Policy, Sort of.
By Bob Dreyfuss/ New Labor Forum
With the number of Democrats who’ve opted to challenge Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020 now well into double digits and growing, it’s notable that so far only two, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have put down markers on foreign policy. Both, hailing from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, have outlined in some detail the principles that, they say, would guide their approach to foreign affairs as president. Both outlines, of course, should be considered works-in-progress. Neither Sanders nor Warren have much of a track record when it comes to national security, and in 2016 the Sanders..
Not since the early years of the Iraq War has foreign policy dominated American headlines as it does in the age of Trump. The United States in the ’90s enjoyed the narcissism of the “New World Order,” and journalistic glances abroad mainly flattered this self-conception. After Bush, Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate, only to get the country embroiled in at least five additional conflicts, all more or less waged sotto voce, so as to minimize the tarnish imperial police…