Sanders “Middle East Policy” Short on Actionable Items

Image via WaPo

In lieu of attending the AIPAC conference yesterday, Sanders issued an essay on Middle East policy. He opens by establishing his international credentials.

“Let me begin by saying that I think I am probably the only candidate for president who has personal ties with Israel. I spent a number of months there when I was a young man on a kibbutz, so I know a little bit about Israel.”

He pens a litany of actions that must happen, but offers little insight into what specific actions a president might take.

  • “Peace will require that organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel. It will require the entire world to recognize Israel.”
  • “But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights, and economic well-being for the Palestinian people.”
  • “More inclusive, stable governance in Iraq will be vital to inflict a lasting defeat on ISIS. Otherwise, ISIS could regain its influence or another, similar organization may spring up in its place.”
  • “While the U.S. has an important role to play in defeating ISIS, that struggle must be led by the Muslim countries themselves on the ground.”
  • “Qatar – which intends to spend up to $200 billion to host the 2022 World Cup – Qatar which per capita is the wealthiest nation in the world – Qatar can do more to contribute to the fight Against ISIS. If they are prepared to spend $200 billion for a soccer tournament, then they have got to spend a lot spend a lot more against a barbaric organization.”
  • “What I am also saying is that other countries in the region – like Saudi Arabia, which has the 4th largest defense budget in the world – has to dedicate itself more fully to the destruction of ISIS, instead of other military adventures like the one it is pursuing right now in Yemen.”
  • “ISIS has only 30,000 fighters on the ground. So when we ask the nations in the region to stand up to do more against ISIS – nations in the region which have millions of men and women under arms – we know it is surely within their capability to destroy ISIS.”
  • “We must counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran’s leaders.”

“Now I realize that given the geopolitics of the region this is not going to be easy,” he writes. “I realize different countries have different priorities. But we can help set the agenda and mobilize stronger collective action to defeat ISIS in a lasting way.”

Nowhere does he offer insight into what new leverage America can bring to the table to convince countries in the Middle East to shed thousands of years of tension, arrive at a collaborative military plan, and send its citizens to war.

Nor does he acknowledge the rest of the 16 countries in the Middle East, like Turkey, a geographically critical US strategic partner grappling with ISIS, authoritarian crackdowns and other turmoil.

Given the Senator’s dead last ranking in bipartisanship, it is difficult to see Sanders as an effective coalition builder internationally.


This post was read 2292 times.

About author View all posts


Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

13 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Sanders “Middle East Policy” Short on Actionable Items

    I take that as a plus.

    Whenever the US intervenes in the Middle East things tend to get worse.

    • There’s little reason to list the problems if you don’t plant to do anything about them. His foreign policy platform could be single paragraph endorsing isolationism. He wants to fix these, he just doesn’t have the toolkit.

      • It’s Sanders’ dismissive approach to foreign policy issues which makes him suspect in my eyes. His entire foreign policy approach boils down to a rehash of American isolationism of the 1930s, which is treacherous in the modern world. Much of the rest of his discussion on international relations and foreign diplomatic initiatives seems to totally ignore the inter-relation between diplomacy, energy policies, monetary policies and any national industrial policy we might try to piece together. On the job training which will be needed in the current environment could not be more dangerous, no matter what argument his adherents make about his foreign policy “judgement” based on his vote against the 2002 AUMF while they totally ignore his identical vote in 1991, when Saddam Hussein did have WMDs.

  • Given the Senator’s dead last ranking in bipartisanship, it is difficult to see Sanders as an effective coalition builder internationally.

    And the Republicans (such as Ted Cruz) are such outstanding examples of Bipartisanship, as was the US led action on Libya.

    In addition…Our Political Parties are supposed to be adversarial, to foster discussion of goals and the way to reach those goals. Theoretically that’s the purpose of “debates” in Government.

    Bipartisanship brought us Iraq, Syria and Libya, which are now bastions of peace and prosperity.

    Now lets select some points, and provide a brief discussion missed in the analysis above:

    peace…every Palestinian…self-determination, civil rights, and economic well-being…

    That has never bee to policy of the Zionist Governments of Israel. Their policies are designed to drive out Palestinians from the Land. If the Palestinians want to expose the agenda immediately, they should announce a mass conversion to Judaism. We’d than be able to discern clearly the roles and actions in Israel.

    Saudi Arabia…destruction of ISIS.

    ISIS, a radical Sunni group is aligned with the Wahhabi’s and probably funded by the Saudi’s, in the interests of pursuing Caliphate.

    16 countries… like Turkey…grappling with ISIS,

    Turkey controls the supplies and supply lines for ISIS, is beneficiary of ISIS oil exports, and also has ambitions for the Caliphate (Ottoman Empire v2.0). Erdogan sees himself as the next Caliph.

    In conclusion:

    With Friends like these, who needs enemies?

    All one can see of US Middle East is duplicity has brought us to a very difficult position, where there is only a tangled thicket of confusion brought by a the thorns of ambition and lies.

    So generating the stabilizing influence of 30 Million refugees in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Sunlight, so necessary and the only cure, would only destroy those who have brought us into this mess.

    • If you meant that as a real question rather than a snide drive-by, I could point out her track record negotiating the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, the Chinese climate change talks, her human rights speech to China, and her four years doing everything else as Secretary of State, then link that to her posted policy platforms, but you didn’t, so I won’t.

      • The topic is: The Middle East

        It’s clear that Clinton, judging from her speech at AIPAC, does not care one iota about the human rights of Palestinians.

        Clinton also put the blame for the non-existence of peace talks squarely with the Palestinians. “It may be difficult to imagine progress in this current climate when many Israelis doubt that a willing and capable partner for peace even exists,” Clinton said, neglecting to mention that Netanyahu himself is not a willing partner and has explicitly and repeatedly said that he is not open to a Palestinian state. Source

        Does Clinton’s record on women’s rights and gay rights etc, justify her effort to, via the Israelis, continue to brutally undermine the human rights of the Palestinians? Is Clinton, if she wins the election, going to be the supreme arbiter of who is worthy of human rights and who is not? Will there be a class of “lesser humans” in Clinton’s world?

        I’m sorry but Clinton can’t have it both ways. A true humanitarian cares about All of humanity.

  • Well, that’s a steaming mish mash of crapola. Sadly, it may be better than most of the other candidates’ piles of crapola.

    “I was an insta-kibbuznik” – well, la dee [expletive redacted] da.

  • Clinton Wins (maybe) in AZ. Another state where winning in the General Election would only happen if she joined the Republican Party.

    Ah! An Idea!!! Hilary offers to run as both a Republican and a Democrat, and secures her presidential ambitions while stopping Trump!

Leave a Reply