Calling for the Democratic Party to become the Party of Peace
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We would like to see an overhaul of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy. Doves, anti-interventionists, and anti-imperialists compose a large segment of the Democratic Party’s base, yet have long felt as if we lack a seat at the table. We’ve become disheartened with many aspects of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, including a myriad of regime change wars, drone strikes, arms sales to nations with known human rights violations, CIA covert operations, crippling economic sanctions, a bloated defense budget, and other such policies. We believe these policies place both American soldiers and the civilians of these nations in harm’s way, and that they are both counterproductive to global peace and our own domestic well-being. As progressives we care for all marginalized groups and know that there is no group of people more marginalized than the victims of war; we also believe that those who serve our country should not be placed needlessly in danger.
Though we are deeply grateful for the progress made with the Iran Nuclear Deal and steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba, we’re troubled by other foreign policy decisions made under Democratic leadership, including U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and possible war crimes involved; 26,171 bombs being dropped in seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 (23,144 bombs were dropped in six Muslim-majority countries in 2015); U.S. Special Operations Forces being deployed to 138 nations in 2016 (the SOF were deployed to 135 nations in 2015); the embrace of American Exceptionalism, a rightwing concept once reserved for the GOP. These frustrations have helped fuel the DemExit movement, though many of us have made the choice to remain in the Democratic Party and work to bring about fundamental change.
We would like to see the Democratic Party return to its more peaceful roots as exemplified by the late Senator George McGovern and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Justice Democrats have already taken on this task, though we would like for the Democratic Party itself to make the decision to move away from militarism. We would like to see the creation of a Congressional Peace Caucus with the responsibility of finding diplomatic and humanitarian solutions to global problems. Such a caucus would hold bipartisan appeal with Republicans of libertarian leanings, such as Senator Rand Paul and Representative Justin Amash, and help build strong alliances across the aisle when dealing with issues of peace.
We would like the Democratic Party to support the Stop Arming Terrorists Act sponsored by Representative Tulsi Gabbard; history has shown us that previous financial support for groups like the Mujahideen and Contra resulted in gratuitous bloodshed, and therefore we must not repeat the same mistakes now in Syria. Congresswoman Gabbard recently went on a fact-finding trip to Syria, along with former Senator Dennis Kucinich, in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the six-year civil war and to prevent the United States from being further embedded in another Middle East conflict. While in Syria Congresswoman Gabbard met with Christian and Muslim religious leaders, internally displaced persons, humanitarian workers, academics, and the government; she did so as one must work with all parties involved in order to achieve diplomatic solutions, even when one is morally opposed to the actions of said parties. Representative Gabbard’s efforts have been harshly criticized by both her fellow members of Congress and the media, similar to the way other peace advocates have been treated within the past fifteen years. If only more elected leaders had listened to political figures like Representative Barbara Lee, Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Representative Ron Paul, the United States would not be presently involved in a state of perpetual warfare. We would like for the Democratic Party to support those who work toward finding lasting peace, for we will need strong peace advocates in the years ahead as the warmongers and neoconservatives push the Trump administration toward military confrontation with Iran, China, and elsewhere.
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