Jefferson Morley | July 30, 2019
Kirsten Gillibrand, Hawkish Critic of Endless Wars
On the Campaign Trail:
Foreign Policy Vision: ‘Strong and Strategic’
The junior senator from New York says “America needs a strong and strategic foreign policy, not endless wars.“
Gillibrand combines opposition to U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria with hawkish positions on Venezuela and Iran.
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On Venezuela: Supports Trump’s Sanctions
Gillibrand supports the Trump administration’s sanctions on Venezuela.
“Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) supports working with our allies to recognize Juan Guaidó – who was legitimately elected – as the interim president under the Constitution until Venezuela can hold new elections,” said Meredith Kelly, communications director for Sen. Gillibrand’s presidential exploratory committee. “And while she believes economic sanctions are the appropriate response to achieve this, she does not support sending troops to Venezuela.”Where Democratic Presidential Contenders Stand On The Venezuelan Crisis — Huffington Post
I want to see free and fair elections in Venezuela – monitored by international experts so that the will of the Venezuelan people is reflected in their government. But more than that, I want to see a fair judiciary, an open press, and other aspects of a truly thriving democracy. So I support the efforts of the international community to impose a combination of sanctions and humanitarian aid and diplomatic pressure on President Maduro, and to take steps to lessen the humanitarian disaster ordinary Venezuelans are suffering. Almost 4 million Venezuelan refugees have fled and we must provide humanitarian and refugee assistance.Venezuelans, like other asylum seekers who reach our shores, deserve our protection. But I do not support military intervention. We cannot allow Trump’s warmonger advisors get us into yet another war. It would not be good for the American people,Venezuelans or our other friends in the region.Council on Foreign Relations interview
On Iran: Trump’s ‘Shortsighted, Dangerous Mistake’
While she opposed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, she co-sponsored a bill introduced by opponents of the deal.
By walking away from the Iran Deal, President Trump has made a shortsighted, dangerous mistake. The deal gave us the ability to aggressively monitor and verify Iran’s behavior. This move only opens the door to Iran going back to developing a nuclear weapons program.Twitter
She was a co-sponsor for the Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act which sought to deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves.
On Afghanistan: Bring Troops Home
She favors U.S. withdrawal.
“America cannot afford an endless war in Afghanistan,” Gillibrand said. “After nearly a decade at war, with still no equal commitment from the Karzai government, and after all the lives we’ve sacrificed and the billions we’ve spent on this war, it’s time to start bringing our troops home.”Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Presses Administration For Clear Withdrawal Plan From Afghanistan — Huffington Post
On Yemen: ‘End This Humanitarian Crisis’
Saudi Arabia is using American-made bombs to terrorize Yemeni civilians with airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians – and millions are without food and access to medical care. The Senate must do everything it can to end this humanitarian crisis.Facebook
On North Korea:
When it comes to North Korea, we must base our actions on a clear understanding of what has and has not worked in the past, and make a commitment to peace on the Korean Peninsula. I would come to an arms control summit prepared with facts based on seasoned policy and intelligence advice. I would strategically leverage diplomatic steps to curb aggression. And I would carefully articulate our national security goals, rather than send mixed signals. I would work together with our allies, including through incremental measurable steps designed to limit the North Korean threat, with the ultimate goal of a nuclear-free and peaceful Korean Peninsula.Council on Foreign Relations interview
On Syria: Don’t Arm Rebels
Unlike Hillary Clinton and many in the foreign policy establishment, Gillibrand opposed arming the anti-government rebels.
I don’t think arming the [Syrian] rebels in this instance is necessarily going to be productive.CBS News
On Arms Control: Back Towards Stability
Gillibrand is not a Russia hawk. She was one of 26 senators who opposed Trump’s decision to leave the INF Treaty. The letter (which was also signed Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar) stated:
A collapse of the INF Treaty and failure to renew New START would lead to the absence of verifiable limits on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces for the first time since the early 1970s. We ask you to reverse the recent course set by your administration and instead point our nation back towards stability.Kirsten Gillibrand’s Senate Website; Press Release — 12.13.2018
On Israel: Careful of First Amendment
‘Yes. In my trips to Israel and through conversations with U.S. experts and Israeli leaders, I have learned that Israel’s security and the prosperity of both Israelis and Palestinians is best achieved through a peace based on two nations living side by side. But that lasting peace and security can only be achieved by those on the ground, and the U.S. must remain engaged, but balanced, in order to foster direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Trump administration has dangerously undermined U.S. ability to foster such negotiations. As president, I would seek to restore it by continuing America’s strong relationship with our ally, Israel, ensuring its meaningful military edge allows Israel to defend its people, while at the same time reversing the Trump administration’s damaging policies toward the Palestinians. This means reopening the diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, restoring our USAID presence in the West Bank and restarting USAID programs that President Trump has cut.’Council on Foreign Relations interview
Senator Gillibrand withdrew as a co-sponsor from the Senate Israel Anti-Boycott Act on August 1, 2017 for 1st Amendment concerns.
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Where I Stand On Israel, BDS And The First Amendment — Forward (8.10.2017)
On Human Rights in China:
I am deeply troubled by the alarming reports of widespread human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim Chinese citizens. I have called on U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to update U.S. export controls on American technology to ensure that neither China nor other repressive regimes can use American technology to commit human rights violations. I have further supported targeted sanctions against those responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and other abuses of human rights, and have cosponsored the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. America must pursue a variety of goals in the bilateral relationship with China, including holding them accountable for currency cheating, unfair trade practices, and cyber theft of American technology and Americans’ data. But history has taught us that we never ultimately advance our interests when we ignore human rights abuses. I believe we can support human rights in the context of addressing our country’s vital national security and economic interests.Council on Foreign Relations interview
‘Russian aggression toward Ukraine – whether in the Crimean Peninsula, Eastern Ukraine or in the Kerch Strait – is dangerous, not only toward Ukraine, but broadly, because it emboldens Russian aggression elsewhere. Russia’s cyber hacks of Ukrainian infrastructure gave it a testbed, and its lessons could be used to target the U.S. We must be very clear with President Putin that Russia’s illegal attempts at annexation are not acceptable. That is why rather than warmly greet Putin in confidential conversations, or weigh his assertions above U.S. intelligence assessments, I would continue a policy of sanctions aimed at the group of Russian leaders who have undermined Ukraine’s democracy, security and territorial integrity, and closely coordinate our policy with our European allies to deepen their impact. And I would once again deepen our NATO ties because this alliance presents one of the strongest bulwarks against Russian aggression.Council on Foreign Relations interview
And because Russia has demonstrated its willingness to invade its neighbors, it is all the more reason that we must ensure we have arms control agreements in place to limit Russia’s nuclear and strategic forces. I had opposed President Trump’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement because its absence opens the door to a new and dangerous arms race. It is all the more critical that we extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to limit Russian nuclear weapons and provide information to the U.S. intelligence community.’
In the Eyes of ‘the Blob’ and the Secret Intelligence Agencies:
President Gillibrand would probably be acceptable to policymaking elites, intelligence chiefs, and military leaders in the same way Obama was. Like Obama, she resists calls to use U.S. military force but otherwise does not advocate fundamental change in the national security system.
Research: Daniel Ortiz