Just Foreign Policy
Just Foreign Policy is an independent and non-partisan mass membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy through coordinating the broad majority of Americans to advocate their interests and values.
Although just foreign policy will focus exclusively on foreign policy, we appeal directly to Americans for whom foreign policy is not a primary concern.
We have seen through the Iraq war that unnecessary military actions can undermine civil liberties and democracy at home, and can be used to remove pressing domestic issues from the political agenda to the detriment of the great majority.
During the Cold War, the United States spent trillions of dollars on an arms race with the USSR, as well as wars such as Korea and Vietnam. Yet we were able to create Medicare, Medicaid, and enact large enough increases in Social Security to drive the poverty rate among the elderly down from 35 percent in 1959 to less than 12 percent by the end of the era. But for a number of reasons-fiscal, economic, and political-our current circumstances are very different.
For example, at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, the U.S. gross federal debt was 43.5 percent of our economy and falling. Today it is over 67 percent and rising. Maintaining our current foreign and military policy and possible large increases in military spending (for example if we have an arms race with China, whose economy will be larger than ours within a decade) will lead to serious declines in U.S. living standards.
U.S. foreign policy therefore threatens to impede-perhaps as never before-the country's economic and social progress. It has become extremely important to the lives of all Americans, and we cannot afford to leave it in the hands of the "experts" without influence from the public.
Eventually the United States must move towards a more multilateral approach to foreign relations-one that relies less on raw U.S. military and economic power and more on international law and treaties, co-operation, and diplomacy. Our goal is to accelerate this transition through education, organization, and mobilization of concerned citizens.
Started 10 petitions
Block Trump from Arming Saudi Starvation of Yemeni Kids
The U.S. Senate is expected to have an opportunity to vote soon against a U.S.-Saudi arms deal. This is a chance for the Senate to reject continued unconstitutional U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war and blockade in Yemen, which has created the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world, deliberately starving millions of human beings. It’s an opportunity for Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to lead. Feinstein is seen as a leader among Democrats on foreign policy. Harris is expected to be a leading candidate for the next President of the United States. In March, 44 Senators, including Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris, voted in favor of the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill to end U.S. participation in the war. Last June, 47 Senators, including Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris, voted to oppose a Saudi arms deal, widely seen as a vote on U.S. participation in the war. On May 3, the New York Times reported that Pentagon officials lied to Senators ahead of the March vote on the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill, concealing key information about U.S. participation in the war. A New York Times editorial the same day called for Congress to cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia and end U.S. participation in the war. On April 22, a Saudi airstrike on a wedding in Yemen killed more than 20 people, further exposing the bankruptcy of Pentagon claims that the Pentagon is doing something to stop Saudi Arabia from bombing Yemeni civilians. Some Senators who voted to continue arming the war in June 2017 voted against participating in the war in March. If we could get all the Senators who voted against the war in March or June to vote against it now, we could stop the war. Early leadership from Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris would be a key signal to other Senators and help us win the vote. Urge Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris to lead in ending this catastrophic war by signing our petition.
Make Opposition to Unconstitutional War a Litmus Test for Washington
To end the persistence of unconstitutional war, we must make it a prerequisite of being President of the United States or a Member of Congress that one has to regularly swear unbreakable allegiance to the Constitutional idea that Congress, not the President, decides when to use military force. The best way to prepare for this task is to do it, and to keep doing it, continuously, through the 2018 primaries, through the 2018 general election, through the 2020 primaries, through the 2020 general election. Every candidate for President, every candidate for Senate, every candidate for the House, must pledge allegiance to the Constitutional idea that Congress, not the President, decides when to use military force. Many things divide Americans. But we all share the Constitution. There isn’t one Constitution for red states and another one for blue states. There’s just one Constitution for all of us. A key way to make sitting Members of Congress pledge allegiance to opposing unconstitutional war is to make them vote on it, including by invoking the War Powers Resolution to force votes on unconstitutional wars. Whether we’re talking about unconstitutional war in Yemen, or in Syria, or in Ukraine, a fundamental idea is that opposition to unconstitutional war is a litmus test. Members of Congress who pass the test with their votes, their signatures, and their statements will be praised and supported. Members of Congress who fail the test with their votes and with their silence will be sanctioned and have support withdrawn. When 44 Senators voted in March to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen, it was the first time in three years either house had voted up or down on that war. It was also the first time in three years that either house voted up or down on any current war, Constitutional or not. Ending unconstitutional war would not end all war. But it would end a lot of war. It would save a lot of lives. It would stop the diversion of a lot of resources to war. We have to start somewhere. Let’s start with the wars that are indisputably unconstitutional. According to Section 2c of the War Powers Resolution, which is the law of the land, “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” Urge your Senators and Representative to do all they can to make opposition to unconstitutional war a litmus test for Washington by signing our petition.
@MIT: Stand with 44 Senators to Press MbS to End His Dirty War in Yemen
On Tuesday, March 20, 44 Senators voted to support the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution [SJRes54] to end unauthorized and unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen. The U.S.-backed Saudi war and blockade in Yemen has deliberately created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, pushing millions of human beings to the brink of famine. Both Massachusetts Senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, not only voted for but also co-sponsored the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution. Saudi dictator Mohammed bin Salman [MbS] is the chief architect of the ongoing Saudi bombardment and blockade of Yemen. On March 24 MbS is expected to visit MIT, with which the government of Saudi Arabia has had an intimate relationship. MIT leaders must make clear to MbS that the continuation of that intimate relationship is contingent on MbS ending his brutal war in Yemen. In particular, MIT leaders must demand: - that MbS agree to an immediate, unconditional, and permanent ceasefire between Saudi-associated forces and Houthi forces in Yemen; - that MbS agree to the immediate, unconditional, and permanent end to the Saudi blockade of the commercial and humanitarian flow of food, medicine, and fuel into all of Yemen’s Red Sea ports, including Hodeida. US civil society leaders like the leaders of MIT must make clear to MbS that Saudi Arabia cannot have a close relationship with America, simply based on close ties to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, the Pentagon and the CIA, while Saudi Arabia deliberately starves millions of human beings. Urge MIT leaders to do the right thing by signing our petition, which will be delivered at a rally at MIT on Friday March 23.
@MIT: Cancel MIT Visit of "Deliberate Famine" Saudi Prince
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reported March visit to MIT should be cancelled. If the visit is not cancelled, MIT will likely be the target of protests, damaging MIT’s reputation. A list of organizations which have called for protests of MBS’ proposed visit to MIT is here. Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] is the chief architect of the ongoing Saudi bombardment and blockade of Yemen. MBS’ bombardment and blockade of Yemen has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has accused the Saudi government of “deliberately trying to create a famine inside Yemen.” On February 8, Newsweek reported that while MBS claims he is giving Saudi women more rights, arrests of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia are increasing, with harsher punishments, including torture. Saudi obstruction of commercial imports to Yemen continues to exacerbate the crisis, the Norwegian Refugee Council reports. A recently published report by a UN panel of experts found that the Saudi blockade on humanitarian and commercial goods “is essentially using the threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war.” Saudi restrictions on imports at Hodeida Port are having a particularly detrimental effect on the humanitarian situation, NRC said. Based on data from the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen, NRC calculates that fuel imports have constituted only 32% of the estimated amount required this year so far.MIT should not damage its reputation by associating itself with "deliberate famine" nor "using the threat of starvation as an instrument of war." MBS' visit to MIT should be cancelled.
@NikkiHaley, @USUN: Don't let Theresa May whitewash Saudi war crimes
Reuters reports that the UN Security Council is considering a British proposal to praise Saudi Arabia for pledging money to ease Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, even though UN experts accuse Saudi Arabia of using “the threat of starvation as an instrument of war” in Yemen. The draft statement apparently does not demand that Saudi Arabia “completely” end its blockade of “food, fuel, water and medicine” entering Yemen, as President Trump has, nor does it demand the immediate cessation of hostilities in Yemen, as the White House has. UK Labour Party shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has demanded that UK Prime Minister Theresa May stop “bowing and scraping” to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the chief architect of the Saudi bombardment and blockade of Yemen, ahead of his controversial visit to London next month, condemning the “red carpet treatment” expected to be offered to MBS when he meets with the British prime minister. Unfortunately, Theresa May’s “bowing and scraping” to the Saudi dictator is extending to the UN Security Council, where the UK is the “penholder” in charge of Security Council resolutions on Yemen, despite the UK’s extreme bias in favor of protecting Saudi Arabia's war crimes. Sign our petition to urge US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Members of Congress to oppose Theresa May’s efforts to whitewash Saudi war crimes in Yemen, and to insist that the UN Security Council call for completely ending the Saudi blockade of Yemen and for immediate ceasefire, as President Trump and the White House have.
Cancel "Deliberate Famine" Saudi Prince's Visit to America
We call for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States to be cancelled unless and until the government of Saudi Arabia has ended its bombardment of Yemen and has fully and permanently lifted its blockade of all of Yemen’s ports, including the crucial port of Hodeida, and has ceased arresting, imprisoning, and torturing women for exercising their right to speak. A call to action signed by RootsAction, World Beyond War, CODEPINK, Action Corps NYC, New York Catholic Worker, New Jersey Peace Action, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Just Foreign Policy is here. On February 2, Al-Monitor reported: “Saudi Arabia is organizing Mohammed bin Salman’s first US visit since he became crown prince last year…The weekslong tour starting in early March, with possible stops in Washington, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Houston, aims to demonstrate that Riyadh is open for business… Each stop along the way is meant to build high-level links with America’s leading industries, from higher education at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology outside Boston to energy production in Houston. In New York, he is expected to address the possibility of listing state oil company Saudi Aramco on the New York Stock Exchange…. Mohammed aims to sign a deal with Google parent company Alphabet.”  On February 6, Middle East Eye reported: “A controversial visit to London by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is set to be delayed, amid reports that officials in Riyadh are concerned over possible protests and unflattering media coverage of the powerful young royal… who is the chief architect of the ongoing Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen… the visit has been pushed back to 7 March after officials expressed unease over negative media coverage and the prospects of protests over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and role in the ongoing Yemen civil war.”  The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has accused the Saudi government of “deliberately trying to create a famine inside Yemen.”  On February 8, Newsweek reported that while the Saudi Prince claims he is giving Saudi women more rights, arrests of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia are increasing, with harsher punishments, including torture.  We call for the visit to be cancelled. If it is not cancelled, we call for protests at every venue. Join your organization to the call here. References:1. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/mohammad-bin-salman-us-visit-economy-agenda.html2. http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/revealed-saudi-crown-princes-uk-visit-delayed-over-protest-fears-13780431013. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4670011/murphy-young-yemen-murphy-saudis-deliberately-create-famine-yemen4. http://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-activist-detained-womens-rights-801459
Congress: Declassify U.S. Role in Saudi War in Yemen
A key reason the unauthorized U.S. role in the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen has been allowed to continue is that U.S. media have under-reported it. A key reason U.S. media have underreported it is that the Pentagon has concealed key information from Congress, the media, and the public. Congress has tools to press for the release of unjustly classified information. The House intelligence committee recently invoked Rule X, using its power to vote to declassify documents, the first time this key intelligence agency oversight reform provision has ever been directly used in either chamber since the intelligence agency oversight committees were created in the seventies following the revelations of intelligence agency abuses by the Church committee. Another way was illustrated in 2013 by Senator Wyden when he questioned then director of national intelligence James Clapper about the NSA's unconstitutional warrantless spying on Americans. When Wyden posed his question to Clapper, Wyden already knew the answer because Wyden is on the Senate intelligence committee. When Clapper lied under oath, Wyden knew it immediately and everyone else who had the same information as Wyden – like Edward Snowden – also knew it immediately. Wyden's question had the effect of pushing the unjustly classified information towards public disclosure. The answer may have been classified, but the question was not. Encourage Senators and Representatives to force out information about unauthorized U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen by signing our petition. Here are some questions Senators and Representatives should ask in open session: Question: What is the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda that the President claims he has the constitutional authority to bomb under the Al Qaeda AUMF? Which groups on the list are active in Yemen? Which groups on the list has the United States bombed in Yemen? Which groups on the list have been bombed by Saudi Arabia or the UAE in Yemen? Question: Has any agency of the U.S. government ever armed, financed, or trained any group on the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda? Have they done so in Yemen? What was the Constitutional basis for this action? Has Saudi Arabia or the UAE ever armed, financed, or trained any group on the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda? Have they done so in Yemen? Has any agency of the United States facilitated this activity by Saudi Arabia or the UAE in any way? What was the Constitutional basis for this action? Question: Is the United States refueling Saudi-UAE warplanes during their bombing runs against targets in Yemen which are not on the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda? Has it done so in the past? When did it begin doing so? Under what legal authority? What is the "specific statutory authorization" passed by Congress, as defined in the War Powers Resolution, that formed the Constitutional justification for this participation in hostilities? How many gallons of fuel has the U.S. provided to the Saudis and to the UAE for the bombing of non- AQ AUMF targets in Yemen? Which targets were bombed by Saudi-UAE warplanes that were so refueled? Were any schools, hospitals, sewage treatment plants, or residential apartment buildings bombed by warplanes that had been refueled by the U.S.? On what dates? Question: Has any member of any agency of the United States been assigned to "command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities" with respect to any group in Yemen that is not on the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda? Since that is defined as participation in hostilities in the War Powers Resolution, what was the Constitutional basis of that action? Question: Is any agency of the United States providing targeting information to Saudi Arabia or the UAE for the targeting of groups in Yemen which are not on the list of "associated forces" to Al Qaeda? Has it done so in the past? When did it begin doing so? Under what legal authority? What is the "specific statutory authorization" passed by Congress, as defined in the War Powers Resolution, that forms the Constitutional basis for this participation in hostilities? Encourage your Senators and Representative to ask these questions of Administration officials in open session by signing our petition.
Senate: Wield the Constitution to Stop Saudi Starvation of Yemeni Children
President Donald Trump has become increasingly concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, CNN reports. During a phone call with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump sounded angry while discussing the suffering of the civilians and told the prime minister that more pressure must be applied to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to prevent it, a UK official told CNN.CNN noted that "The US military provides aerial refueling support to aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition" that are bombing Yemeni civilians and civilian infrastructure and that are enforcing the Saudi-led blockade that has pushed millions of people in Yemen to the brink of famine. This suggests an obvious way that the Senate could apply "more pressure" to Saudi Prince Salman: invoke the War Powers Resolution to stop refueling the Saudi-UAE warplanes that are bombing Yemeni children. This military participation in Yemen's sectarian civil war has never been authorized by Congress, in violation of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Urge the Senate, the House, and President Trump to stop refueling the Saudi-UAE warplanes bombing children in Yemen by signing our petition.
Demand New Elections in Honduras
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is circulating a sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to President Trump, urging him to join the Organization of American States in calling for new elections in Honduras, and to immediately suspend all U.S. "security" assistance to Honduras. The letter highlights the violent repression of protests since the disputed election, and urges the President "to make clear to the Honduran government that these abuses must cease immediately." The letter states, "We believe that the Honduran people have a right to peaceful protests, and are alarmed at the actions of Honduran security forces." We need your help in securing the signature of your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this letter. Only members of the House can sign the letter. The deadline for signatures is today, Wednesday, December 20th. Urge your Rep. to support the Ellison letter by signing our petition.
@StateDept: Stop Licensing Gun Sales to Mexican Military and Police
Dear Secretary of State Tillerson,The State Department should suspend licenses to ship firearms to Mexican military and police until the U.S. can ensure they do not go to forces that collude with organized crime or violate human rights. Gun homicides in Mexico this year are the highest on record. Yet: • U.S. legal gun exports to the Mexican military, which distributes guns to state and local police, are nearly ten times what they were in 2001-2004; • the State Department licensed $266 million worth of gun sales by the U.S. gun producer Sig Sauer to the Mexican military; and • the Mexican Army sells guns to police with no verifiable mechanisms to track U.S. firearm shipments. As a result, U.S. companies have exported assault weapons to police that violate human rights and collude with organized crime, including police who attacked and disappeared 43 students from Ayotzinapa. The two major earthquakes that shook Mexico in September caused billions of dollars in damages to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Two hundred fifty thousand Mexicans lost their homes. U.S.-Mexico trade should benefit the majority of people in both countries, not arm forces that are destroying families and causing them to flee in search of refuge. The United States must stop weapons exports to end users in the Mexican military and police for whom there is documentation of collusion with organized crime or commission of gross human rights violations, until they have been brought to justice.