Jefferson Morley | August 29, 2019
Cory Booker on Military Heroes and Support
On the Campaign Trail:
The junior senator from New Jersey has not devoted much time or effort to addressing issues of war and peace. When he does, he tends to avoid controversy more than define policy.
Booker is a favorite of Wall Street and the Israel lobby so his foreign policy views, if and when he articulates them, will probably hew closely to Washington orthodoxy.
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On Russia: A Hawk Among Doves
‘When it comes to Russian aggression, let’s be clear: the Russians are not just attacking Ukraine, or the U.S.–they are trying to undermine democracy. They are attempting to create divisions and divisiveness between individual leaders as well as within nations, and that’s unacceptable. The Trump Administration has looked the other way in the face of Russian aggression, whether that aggression is against Ukraine, which I visited and witnessed first-hand, or an attack on the integrity of our elections.Council on Foreign Relations interview
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee I signed a letter affirming Ukraine’s sovereignty, and voted to disapprove of President Trump’s decision to end sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarchs. I support increasing the use of the Global Magnitsky sanctions and other tools to assert pressure on Russia into cooperation with the global community. We also need to mend our relationship with our transatlantic allies and NATO, which President Trump’s has undermined. I would seek to repair any doubts about the U.S. commitment to its allies and partners in NATO.’
Booker sounds hawkish on Russia, following the lead of foreign policy elites who define the country as a threat.
“Putin respects strength, and we’re lying down in the face of ongoing attacks. And so here you have a bipartisan bill overwhelmingly supported by Congress, and he did not use the tools in the toolbox. It’s – contradicts what he said in his speech about a strong country. More important than building his wall is making sure that we have strong cyber defense because China, Russia – they cannot match us tank for tank or battleship for battleship, but they’re fighting us now on the field of cyberattacks unless we fight back.”Sen. Cory Booker On Trump’s State Of The Union, Russia — NPR
The more dovish position is to prioritize arms control with Russia over hostility toward Putin. Unlike Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, Booker did not sign a letter to President Trump objecting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty.
On Iran: ‘An Imperfect Deal’
Booker supports the Iran nuclear deal.
“Make no mistake, I had concerns about the Iran nuclear agreement when I voted on it, but an imperfect deal with years remaining to conduct further diplomacy was and remains better than a nuclear-armed Iran.”Senate Website — 5.8.2018 Press Release
On Israel: Anti-BDS and Pro-AIPAC
‘I support a two-state solution because I believe in justice and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians. As President of the United States, I will be committed to finding a two-state solution to the conflict so that both Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace with dignity and security. ‘Council on Foreign Relations interview
Booker is friendly with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as shown by a leaked recording of his comments to activists at the group’s annual conference last month. The progressive advocacy group MoveOn called on 2020 candidates to skip the conference, and at least five of the Democrats declined to attend. Not Booker.
Booker is the only 2020 candidate who is a co-sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin and Rob Portman which seeks to discourage American companies from joining international organizations in boycotting Israel. The bill is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union which says the law could be interpreted to allow criminal penalties for nonviolent activism.
On March 26th, Cory Booker gave a closed-door speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The Intercept received a leaked recording of what the presidential candidate said:
On China and Human Rights:
Protecting human rights must be a central tenet of our foreign policy and that means protecting persecuted religious and ethnic minorities and preventing genocides. If I am president, whenever the United States meets with China, human rights will be a focus of the conversation.Council on Foreign Relations interview
I am deeply disturbed by the human rights abuses happening in China’s Xinjiang region and support putting companies that build the detention camps there and their surveillance systems on the Commerce Department’s Entity List, in addition to using the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction the people involved with the detention camps.
I am also a co-sponsor of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which requires a series of reports on China’s treatment of the Uighars, including from the State Department and the Director of National Intelligence, that would be used to determine whether certain individuals meet the criteria for sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
As president I will also insist that China honor the commitments it has made for the autonomy of Hong Kong, and will be a voice for the people of Hong Kong and their ability to organize and express their opinions.
On the Trump-Kim Summit: Skeptical
Our goal has to be the full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. A nuclear North Korea is among our greatest national security threats and we must use every tool available to pursue peaceful denuclearization. I would work closely with our allies to develop and execute a thoughtful strategy to denuclearize the peninsula and address international concerns with the DPRK’s missile program and proliferation activities.Council on Foreign Relations interview
I will always remain hopeful that a breakthrough can occur with North Korea that will end their nuclear program, stop the human rights abuses happening there, and lead to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. I truly doubt that the outcome of this meeting puts us on a course to get there.Senate Website — 6.12.2018 Press Release
On Military Spending: ‘An Attempt to Fight the Wars of the Past’
The military threats of the future look very different than the challenges we faced in the 80s, 90s, or even just a few years ago, and America’s military needs to keep up. Without a major adversary like the Soviet Union, smaller nontraditional conflicts and interventions are more likely to be the rule, even as we refocus on asserting power in the Pacific. That is why military spending should be driven by a strategy to meet future threats, rather than an arbitrary number invented for political posturing or an attempt to fight the wars of past.Source: Cory Booker’s Campaign Website
On Venezuela: No Comment.
Nicolas Maduro lacks the legitimacy to govern, and I have publicly stated that he should step down for the good of his people. However, we cannot simply anoint a new Venezuelan government — that would be repeating the mistakes of our dark history in the region.Council on Foreign Relations interview
I support imposing sanctions on Maduro and his top officials for corruption and human rights violations committed against their own people. We should also engage closely with our partners in the region to pursue a diplomatic, negotiated settlement, including by working with a transitional government in Venezuela that can lead to peaceful elections and a return to democratic norms and stability.
He avoids comment.
In a brief interview on Capitol Hill, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told HuffPost that Maduro “is alarming to me on many levels” but did not elaborate beyond that. His office did not respond to further requests for comment.Where Democratic Presidential Contenders Stand On The Venezuelan Crisis — Huffington Post
On June 7, Sen. Booker sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging for the State Department to exhibit US leadership in the crisis in Sudan. Booker emphasized the brutal military crackdown on peaceful protesters as unacceptable and urged the US to send a Special Representative to Sudan to assist in negotiations to prevent further bloodshed. You can read his letter in full here.
Research: Daniel Ortiz