Foreign policy is more than just war and peace, it is a nuanced and complex issue that directly affects us here at home.
Jane Sanders sat down with Representative Tulsi Gabbard to talk about foreign policy, starting with her personal experiences serving our country both at home and abroad, through the government’s budget decisions between foreign and domestic spending, and our country’s approaches to some of the most contentious current foreign issues.Read More
The horrific accounts of immigrant families being torn apart have inspired ordinary Americans to take to the streets, calling for an end to the Trump Administration’s cruel detention policies. But while President Trump’s recent actions have led to shockingly brutal child incarceration, mass arrests, and the criminalization of immigrants, the issues that push desperate migrants and refugees to our borders span many decades. Progressives must seize this historic moment to tackle the United States’ long-dysfunctional relationship with its Latin American and Caribbean neighbors and build new, more perfect ties.Read More
Europe’s biggest challenge in resisting US sanctions on Iran is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological: European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches.Read More
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal dangerously increases the likelihood of war and undermines approaching talks with Kim Jong-un to denuclearize North Korea."Read More
The US demands that North Korea adhere to the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and on that basis has encouraged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions in pursuit of denuclearization. Yet the brazenness with which the US demands not true denuclearization, but rather its own nuclear dominance, is stunning.Read More
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard urged President Donald Trump today to refrain from taking military action against Syria, saying it would escalate the conflict, resulting in more refugees and fewer resources to invest in rebuilding American communities.Read More
Italy - which stands at the border between Europe's prosperous north and crisis-ridden south, and between an open Europe and one seized by atavistic nationalism – will play a pivotal role in determining whether the EU survives long enough to reform itself. The coalition government that emerges will prove crucial.Read More
President Trump recently suggested that the United States should come out of Syria “very soon.” Leading voices of the foreign policy establishment - in the Pentagon, State Department, Congress, and the media — pushed back, calling for the United States to stay in Syria. Trump quickly acquiesced. Trump was right (yes, a rarity) while the security state was wrong yet again. It’s long past time for the United States to end its destructive military engagement in Syria and across the Middle East, though the security state seems unlikely to let this happen.Read More
America’s official narrative has sought to conceal the scale and calamitous consequences of US efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. That is understandable, because US efforts are in blatant violation of international law, which bars UN member states from supporting military action to overthrow other members' governments.Read More
This article from Vox answers the question: "Why does the US have such a high rate of gun murders, by far the highest in the developed world? Is it because of guns, or is there something else going on?"
It finds that America does not have a higher crime rate than other developed countries, the issue is that the crimes are much more lethal - "American criminals just kill more people than do their counterparts in other developed countries. And guns appear to be a big part of what makes this difference."
Specifically, "when people have a handheld tool that is specially engineered for killing efficiently, escalation to murder becomes much, much more likely."
This article details the current nuclear situation around the world. At the "dawn" of the Nuclear age the United States hoped to hold a monopoly on nuclear weapons, but that has since changed. Since the U.S. acquired nuclear weapons, a number of other countries have acquired the ability to build nuclear weapons. In 1968, a number of countries signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty designed to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further; in 1996 many also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The article then lists each of the countries who have possession of nuclear weapons, how many they have and information about retirement and dismantlement. For instance:
The United States has 1,411 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 673 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. In addition to approximately 2,300 non-deployed strategic warheads and roughly 500 deployed and non-deployed tactical warheads.
The Global Partnership for Education, a worthy and capable initiative to promote education in 65 low-income countries, is begging for funds. The fact that it must do so - and for a paltry $1 billion per year, at that – exposes the charade of the US and European commitment to education for all.Read More
With America AWOL and China ascendant, this is a critical time for Germany and the European Union to provide the world with vision, stability, and global leadership. And that imperative extends to Germany's Christian Democrats and Social Democrats.Read More
If the U.S. is truly committed to the security of the American people, and making the world a safer place through nuclear nonproliferation, we must demonstrate our commitment to peace and diplomacy to Iran and to the rest of the world.Read More
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Visits Armenia on Congressional Delegation to Enhance U.S.-Armenian Economic, Humanitarian, and Security Tie
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard last week traveled to Armenia on an official, bipartisan diplomatic trip as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, and as a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.Read More
Nothing is more important than the safety and security of the people of Hawaii and our country. As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, I am focused on keeping the American people safe from threats to our national security, environment, communities and fellow citizens.Read More
More than ever, we need an era of diplomacy that emphasizes compromise, not another round of demonization and an arms race that could all too easily spiral into disaster.Read More
At this panel discussion and press conference held in New York City on June 24th, 2017 by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance, Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined a panel discussion about how academic and legislative responses to terrorism are complementary approaches that will provide long term and intellectual responses to terrorism.
In a press release about the event, the IFUT said that this discussion "will lead towards nuanced understanding and informed solutions."
Gabbard said, “I think that there has been a concerted effort both on the part of some in the media, as well as many in politics, and many in our foreign policy establishment seem to have been advocating for a continuance of these regime change wars, really ignoring the fact of what has been the consequence of these wars in countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria, where each time we have waged these wars, [it] has resulted in the strengthening of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL], and it has resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and death for the people of these countries."Read More
Recently, the Paris Climate Agreement as been in the news but what is the agreement and why does it matter? This article from NPR outlines some of the key goals included in the Paris Climate Agreement:
2 Degrees: "Holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels ..."
$100 Billion: "To help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to greener sources of energy and adapt to the effects of climate change, the developed world will provide $100 billion a year,"
2020: "The agreement now codifies that and sets a framework for those reductions to begin in 2020."
5 years: The deal is designed to evolve as the years pass. Every five years, specifically, each nation's targets will be reevaluated to move the world closer to the 2-degree target.
The article explains how and why these, and other goals were included.View Page
"Trump's wars are now all over the map. The peace movement can fight back by joining already thriving intersectional campaigns."
This article, written by Phyllis Bennis and highlighted by Danny Glover, investigates the foreign policy approach under the Trump administration. It describes the focus on raw power and war as opposed to diplomacy. "According to the British human rights monitor AirWars, well over 1,000 civilians may have been killed by U.S.-led forces just in Iraq and Syria in March alone, the highest monthly total they’ve ever tracked."
Bennis suggests that there is a way for the United States, and factions therein, to turn back towards diplomacy. He states "What we do know is that everyone - from Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis, and Yemenis to those of us in this country — needs diplomacy to win out over war. We’ve faced wars for decades now, but we’ve also had some victories where negotiations triumphed over force — in Cuba, in Paris at the climate talks, and most especially in the Iran nuclear deal."Read More
This video by Vox describes the complex history and alliances of the Syrian civil war.
It begins with the Arab Spring protests in 2011, then describes the transition through multiple foreign powers backing the different sides, the rise of ISIS, through to the decision by the Trump administration to bomb forces related to Assad - "This is the first time that the United States has directly attacked the Assad regime."Read More
This fact sheet lists all of the humanitarian aid that the United States is involved with in Syria.
It describes the current situation in Syria specifically looking at the individuals who are in need of humanitarian aid. Looking specifically at the time period between February and March of this year, official organizations have "recorded nearly 687,000 displacements, including approximately 44,000 new displacements, from conflict-affected areas in northern and southern Syria."
The report also looks at the humanitarian access that these individuals have, and how the UN and others give humanitarian aid: "Between February 1 and 31, three UN humanitarian convoys delivered food assistance for approximately 64,000 people and relief commodities for more than 30,000 people."
These actions, however, are not enough. The fact sheet goes on to describe the areas where assistance is not covering all the need that exists:
Food security and nutrition: "An estimated 9 million people across Syria are in need of emergency food assistance, agriculture support, and livelihoods interventions, according to the UN."
Health: "The ongoing conflict, including attacks on health infrastructure and personnel, continues to diminish health care capacity throughout Syria."
Water: Approximately 51 percent of Syria’s population lacks sustained access to the public water network, according to the UN."
Refugee Assistance: "As of March 24, UNHCR had registered nearly 5 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries."
Other Humanitarian Assistance: "In mid-March, the UN released the 2017 HRP, requesting $3.4 billion to address the critical needs of conflict-affected people in Syria."Read More
This paper from the Center for Economic Policy Research compares the performance of the Mexican economy with that of the rest of the region and with its own economic performance, over the 23 years since NAFTA took effect, based on the available economic and social indicators. Among the results, it finds that Mexico ranks 15th out of 20 Latin American countries in growth of real GDP per person, the most basic economic measure of living standards; Mexico’s poverty rate in 2014 was higher than the poverty rate of 1994; and real (inflation-adjusted) wages were almost the same in 2014 as in 1994. It also notes that if NAFTA had been successful in restoring Mexico’s pre-1980 growth rate - when developmentalist economic policies were the norm — Mexico today would be a high-income country, with income per person comparable to Western European countries. If not for Mexico’s long-term economic failure, including the 23 years since NAFTA, it is unlikely that immigration from Mexico would have become a major political issue in the United States, since relatively few Mexicans would seek to cross the border.Read More
"As national governments lurch to the right, a citizens coalition is Barcelona is showing how ordinary people can reclaim control of their communities."
This article, written by Bertie Russel and Oscar Reyes and published on Danny Glover's website, describes the successes and evolution of the "citizen platform Barcelona en Comú." It comes to a number of conclusions about the main lessons "that can help inspire and inform a radical new municipal politics that moves us beyond borders and nations.":
1) The best way to oppose nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment is to confront the real reasons life is shit.
2) Politics doesn’t have to be the preserve of rich old white men.
3) A politics that works begins by listening.
4) A politics that works never stops listening.
5)Politics doesn’t begin with the party.
6) Power is the capacity to act.
7) Transnational politics begins in your city.
8) Essential services can be run in our common interest.Read More
The Trump administration has recently put forward a budget that includes cuts to the foreign aid program. In this article Prof. Jeffrey Sachs argues the merits of foreign aid.
Sachs' support for foreign aid is rooted in his morality: "My own support for foreign assistance is based on morality. “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” we are told in the book of Deuteronomy. Those who fail to help the poor cast themselves outside of the moral community."
There are also clear, measurable benefits to foreign aid:
"Aid works when its main purpose is to finance supplies such as medicines and solar panels, and the staffing by local workers in public health, agronomy, hydrology, ecology, energy, and transport. US government aid should be pooled with finances from other governments to support critical investments in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure, based on professional best practices. That’s how the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria works, as one important example. It’s a model of success."
Sachs ends his article with the statement: "There is a real question: Who has aided whom over the past centuries? And can we live in morality and peace?"Read More
This fact sheet from citizen.org looks at the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and specifically the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS): "NAFTA grants rights to thousands of multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments."
It describes the legal basis for theses ISDS. ISDS gives multinational corporations the ability to challenge new government policies if corporations claim these policies violate their NAFTA rights. "More than $392 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA." When looking specifically at what sorts of claims are made "of the 11 claims (for more than $36 billion) currently pending under NAFTA, nearly all relate to environmental, energy, financial, public health, land use and transportation policies - not traditional trade issues."
The fact sheet then lists and describes a number of the cases that have been brought under NAFTA.Read More
Not for decades has American foreign policy been as uncertain and contested as it is today.Read More
The only sane way forward for the US is vigorous global cooperation to realize the potential of twenty-first-century science and technology to slash poverty, disease, and environmental threats. The rise of regional powers is not a threat to the US, but an opportunity for a new era of prosperity and constructive problem solving.Read More
In November 2016, Founding Fellow and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria.
This article, written by Rep. Gabbard, summarizes the meeting and outlines the recommendations that she put forward to President Trump about how the U.S. could and should approach the Syrian civil war - including stopping U.S. interventionism and supporting groups with ties to Al Qaeda.
She states: "The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: We must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people.Read More
THE SINGLE MOST important issue in allocating national resources is war versus peace, or as macroeconomists put it, “guns versus butter.” The United States is getting this choice profoundly wrong, squandering vast sums and undermining national security. In economic and geopolitical terms, America suffers from what Yale historian Paul Kennedy calls “imperial overreach.” If our next president remains trapped in expensive Middle East wars, the budgetary costs alone could derail any hopes for solving our vast domestic problems.Read More
SHADOW WORLD REVEALS THE SHOCKING REALITIES OF THE GLOBAL ARMS TRADE – THE ONLY BUSINESS THAT COUNTS ITS PROFITS IN BILLIONS AND ITS LOSSES IN HUMAN LIVES.
Directed by Johan Grimonprez and produced by Danny Glover, and in part based on Corruption Watch UK founder Andrew Feinstein’s globally acclaimed book TheShadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, the film reveals how the international trade in weapons – with the complicity of governments and intelligence agencies, investigative and prosecutorial bodies, weapons manufacturers, dealers and agents – fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracy and creates widespread suffering.
The film unravels a number of the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. It illustrates why this trade accounts for almost 40% of all corruption in global trade, and how it operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often illegal actions. SHADOW WORLD posits alternatives through the experience of a peace activist and war correspondent, as well as through the voice of Eduardo Galeano who contributed selections from his stories for the film.
Ultimately SHADOW WORLD reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, how weapons of war are turned against citizens of liberal democracies and how the trade decreases rather than enhances security for us all. In shedding light on how our realities are being constructed, the film offers a way for audiences to see through this horror, in the hopes of creating a better future.
Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion.Read More
Brexit is a watershed event that signals the need for a new kind of globalization, one that could be far superior to the status quo that was rejected at the British polls. What is required, above all, is a shift from a strategy of war to one of sustainable development.Read More
Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba is the first by a US president since Calvin Coolidge went in 1928. Normalization of the bilateral relationship will pose opportunities and perils for Cuba, and a giant test of maturity for the US.Read More
"America doesn't have a gun problem, it has several of them." This video from Vox takes a broad view of gun violence in the United States.
92 Americans die per day from guns.
The video begins with a description of the number of gun deaths per day - 92, and then breaks it down into the number of homicide deaths (30), suicides (58), accidental shotings, police shootings, and undetermined.
The video then compares gun deaths and laws in the United States to other countries and determines "Gun violence is a uniquely American problem"Read More
This article lists a number of the successes that USAID and other foreign assistance programs have had. It begins with the assertion that foreign aid is less than one percent of the total federal budget. Some of the categories that USAID uses to point to their improvements:
Health - immunization programs, increasing life expectancy, family planning.
Food- improving land cultivation practices, increasing agricultural yields, preventing famine.
Democracy & Self-Governance - increasing democratic nations.
Sustainability & the Environment - increasing technical assistance.
Economic Growth & Financial Independence - disaster prevention, micro business loans and encouraging entrepreneurs.
Education - increasing literacy rates.Read More
Syria is currently the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe and most dangerous geopolitical hotspot. If the fighting is to stop, any solution must be based on a transparent and realistic account of what caused it to start.Read More
In this video, Vox outlines the key points of the Israel Palestine conflict.
It begins with the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the rise of Palestinian nationalism and Zionism - the belief that Judaism is a nationality and that Jewish people deserve a nation of their own.
This history of the conflict then looks at the migration of Jewish people during and after WWII, the tension in the area, international support for a state of Israel and the UN proposal in 1947 to divide the area into two states with Jerusalem as an international zone. It tracks the conflict through: the Arab-Israeli war 1948-1949, the 1967 Six Days War; the Camp David Accords in 1978 that resulted in Israel giving Sinai back to Egypt; the rise of the Palestinian Liberation Organization; Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, the first and second Intifada; the Oslo Accords, and the assassination the Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin.
The video ends with the description that much of the history of the conflict "shows how extremists on both sides can use violence to derail peace and keep a permanent conflict going." Vox is uncertain about where the situation will lead but they do not see an end in sight.Read More
This video explains the history of isolationism in America. It begins with the question: "Are we an isolationist country that doesn't want to get involved in other nations' problems? or are we a global leader that must try to solve them?"
The video covers isolationists and isolationism from Charles Lindbergh and FDR's contrary position on WWII, through when isolationism returned during the Korean War and the emergence of unilateralism during that era, liberal isolationism during the Vietnam War, and finally the U.S.'s current situation after over a decade of war in the Middle East.Read More
Those who oppose gun control argue that gun control would never work: criminals would still be able to access guns and that crime rates would increase because criminals would know that law abiding citizens would not have guns. But what actually happens when guns are banned?
This article from the Harvard Bulletins investigates the effect of the 1996 National Firearms Agreement in Australia that "banned semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns, bought back more than 650,000 of these weapons from existing owners, and tightened requirements for licensing, registration, and safe storage of firearms."
It finds that "the NFA seems to have been incredibly successful in terms of lives saved. While 13 gun massacres (the killing of 4 or more people at one time) occurred in Australia in the 18 years before the NFA, resulting in more than one hundred deaths, in the 14 following years (and up to the present), there were no gun massacres."
The article concludes that "From the perspective of 1996, it would have been difficult to imagine more compelling future evidence of a beneficial effect of the law."View Page
"On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces."
This article puts his speech into perspective considering the build up of the military industrial complex since Eisenhower was in office.
Eisenhower "was worried about the costs of an arms race with the Soviet Union, and the resources it would take from other areas - such as building hospitals and schools" and "the possibility that as the military and the arms industry gained power, they would be a threat to democracy, with civilians losing control of the military-industrial complex."
Ultimately, the article states that despite Eisenhower's warning, "It has only become more difficult to control the size of the nation's military industry."View Page