2020 Issue Focus: Peace and Foreign Policy

Who We Listen to on Foreign Policy

When we’re thinking of how to transform American foreign policy into a people-focused tool for peace, human rights and real security rather than a corporate-friendly, militarism-first approach, partners we look to include Win Without War and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Why People-Powered Foreign Policy Matters for 2020

We all know that Donald Trump is a foreign policy disaster. He’s put us all at risk by insulting key allies, violating international agreements, racking up the civilian body count across the globe, banning Muslims, escalating current conflicts, and threatening to start new ones. But it’s not enough to just criticize Trump—candidates need to show us their plan for a truly progressive foreign policy.

What Candidates Should be Talking About on Foreign Policy

Many candidates are going to vaguely call for “restoring” American leadership in the world in a way that neither grapples with the harmful foreign policy decisions that existed prior to Trump nor offers a plan forward. So we need to push candidates to specifically name the progressive policies they want, and how they would fight for them.

  • Lead with our progressive values. Trump’s foreign policy is a symptom of a larger problem. Instead of building policy out of fear and scapegoating of others, our foreign policy should be grounded in the same progressive values that we work to implement at home. Candidates must recognize that real security at home can only come when we prioritize peace, inclusion, human rights and justice abroad.

  • Democratize our foreign policy. For too long, our leaders have failed to use constitutional checks to keep powers of war and peace in the hands of Congress and the voters instead of the White House. The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Act (or AUMF) gives Donald Trump a massive amount of power to unilaterally wage war, and our participation in the bloody Yemen civil war stretches on without congressional authorization. Candidates should call for Congress to repeal the AUMF, end unauthorized wars, and reinstate constitutional war powers. Learn more here.

  • Putting people over the Pentagon. The United States is caught in a seemingly endless state of war, including the nearly 18-year “global war on terror,” and it comes at great cost (both in terms of dollars and human consequences). No one benefits from this approach except for defense contractors, while troops are putting their lives at risk for a conflict with no military solution. Instead of continuing an endless cycle of war fueled by corporate greed, candidates should put forward plans to dramatically slash the bloated militarism budget, properly resource tools to prevent and resolve violent conflict, and invest in priorities like the environment, health care, education and more.

Who’s Getting it Right on Foreign Policy

Several candidates have touched on pieces of this issue, but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have made comprehensive speeches and introduced progressive and specific foreign policy platforms. Bernie’s policy platform hits every one of these points, and he talked more about his plans to end endless wars at MoveOn’s Big Ideas Forum in May. Warren’s issues page calls for us to cut military spending and stop endless wars. She also has a plan (of course) for curbing the influence of military contractors and lobbyists on Congress and the Pentagon.