On Foreign Policy, Warren Claims the Mantle of JFK

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Claiming the Mantle of JFK

Sen. Elizabeth Warren at American University, November 29, 2018

For her debut speech on issues of war and peace, Senator Elizabeth Warren chose the symbolically potent setting of American University in Washington DC.

In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave one of the most famous speeches in the same spot, calling for a “strategy of peace” to end the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war. The speech was controversial at the time because is signaled JFK’s dovish intentions toward the Soviet Union and the world.

By speaking in the same spot, Warren was placing her foreign policy in the tradition of President Kennedy’s last year in office. She was positioning herself, like JFK, as an agent of responsible change in U.S. foreign policy.

Warren has taken more explicit policy positions than any other Democratic candidate with the possible exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Like Sanders, her foreign policy is rooted in her views on the national and world economy where she sees the power of corporations and the wealthy as a threat to ordinary Americans.

President Warren, she says, would pursue “a foreign policy for all. “

On the Military Industrial Complex:

On Diplomacy:

On Iran: No War Without Congress

“I’m very concerned about a slide towards war with Iran. I want to remind this administration that the administration cannot declare war on its own. It has to come to Congress and make that case and ask for an authorization for a use of military force. That’s not politics, that’s a point of the Constitution of the United States of America….{…}…Part of the problem we’ve got right now is that the president backed out of a deal that the United States had committed to and he does it with no coherent alternative strategy. …{…}…He’s continued to poke at Iran but then back off. At one point we hear an announcement there’s going to a huge troop buildup, then no troop buildup. It’s not possible to tell where the president is headed and if we can’t tell that here in the United States, it means our Congress can’t fulfill its Constitutional function.” — Fox News from Manchester, N.H.

Warren endorses the Iran nuclear deal and does not talk about “getting tough.”

It’s obvious that Iran isn’t our friend. It sponsors terrorism, engages in human rights abuses, tests missiles, and takes other destabilizing actions. But one area where we’ve made real progress is the nuclear deal, which put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program and placed it under monitoring and inspections. Enforcing this deal is better than no deal at all, and even skeptics like Trump’s Secretary of Defense agree.

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On Venezuela: Sanctions Hurt Everyday People

Warren is against the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and the threat of U.S. intervention, another sign that she is not a candidate of continuity in foreign policy. The sanctions are supported by other Democratic candidates and the Washington foreign policy establishment.

“The Venezuelan people deserve free and fair elections, an economy that works, and the ability to live without fear of violence from their own government,” she said. “Instead of reckless threats of military action or sanctions that hurt those in need, we should be taking real steps to support the Venezuelan people.”

Where Democratic Presidential Contenders Stand On The Venezuelan Crisis — Huffington Pos
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On the Defense Budget: Reduce the Bloat

President Warren would cut defense spending.

A strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it.

We should also leverage all the tools of our national power, not just our military might. That means cutting our bloated defense budget and ending the stranglehold of defense contractors on our military policy.

Source: Issues| Elizabeth Warren

On Afghanistan: ‘Going in Circles’

We’ve “turned the corner” in Afghanistan so many times that we’re now going in circles.

On Russia: Arms Control Before its Too Late

Warren talks more about pursuing arms control with Russia, as opposed to “getting tough.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “testing Donald Trump“ to see how far he can go without punishment, Warren said, and Trump is “failing.” “He is not responding with strength,” Warren said of the mercurial Republican president, who has at times overtly sought friendly relations with the Russian strongman.

Warren also noted,however, that Trump has threatened to engage in a new nuclear arms race against Russia. She insisted that is a foolish idea because the U.S. does not need more nuclear weapons.

Warren said the U.S. should pursue more arms control initiatives, and she came out in favor of a “no first use” doctrine, which means the U.S. would pledge not to be the first to use a nuclear weapon in a conflict. 

‘A moment of crisis’: Warren lays out foreign policy vision — Politic

On the Intelligence Community:

On North Korea: Patience and Experience Needed

We’re at the beginning of a diplomatic process that will require patience, experience, and close coordination with our allies. I want to see the President succeed, but a handshake is no substitute for a binding, verifiable deal.”

Warren Statement on the United States-North Korea Summit — 6.12.2018 Press Release

In the Eyes of ‘the Blob’ and the Secret Intelligence Agencies:

President Warren’s left-liberal policy views might disturb policymaking elites, intelligence chiefs, and military leaders. But as a process-oriented insider with deep policy experience, Warren would also work within the Washington system while seeking to change it.

Elizabeth Warren announces her candidacy.

Research: Daniel Ortiz

Return to Insider’s Guide to the 2020 Democrats on War and Peace


2 Replies to “On Foreign Policy, Warren Claims the Mantle of JFK”

  1. As with all policy wonks her devil is in the details, particularly with regards to N. Korea, Iran (meaning Saudi Arabia and Israel of course), and Russia. No candidate seems to be talking much about US foreign policy in the Third World – African engagement, SE Asia, Central America.

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