Over the last few months, a steady trickle of people have been mentioning to me, privately, that they know about the Sanders campaign through me. It’s a little daunting, knowing that when people ask you his stance on an issue, what you tell them actually matters. So my reply, for the most part, has been – “I’ll look into it and get back to you,” or, “Actually, I’ll email the campaign and see if I can get some info.” (If you remember, my last post was about the campaign involving its grassroots supporters directly, in a self-organized, decentralized structure that’s filled with 99%ers.)
A few days ago, a friend specifically asked if I had any links to articles she could show her mom, who wanted to know what Bernie was like on foreign policy. In the interest of getting another primary voter to #FeelTheBern, I scoured r/SandersForPresident and googled for answers, and came up with a list of policy flyers made available for free as PDFs. FeelTheBern.org makes them available for free, for activists and grassroots supporters who want to communicate Bernie’s talking points. I passed those on – btw, here’s the link – and that was that.
This morning, my dad yelled, “Rachel! Bernie’s on TV!” I came down a few minutes later to see Bernie getting interviewed on Meet the Press, and watched as he responded constructively to questions that might have put another candidate on the defensive. A while later, I wandered back in as Dianne Feinstein was talking about what it will mean if the Russian plane that exploded in midair was destroyed by a terrorist bomb.
Feinstein is a Democrat from California, and the host introduced her by citing her career and noting that she’s seen exactly this kind of scenario play out in the past. While he didn’t ask her to outright confirm whether it was a bomb, he asked about the likelihood that that might be the case. Feinstein’s response said, essentially, that based on her experience she would be surprised if it turned out to be something other than a bomb (my words, not hers). As I listened, I realized that the terrorist group in question was ISIS/ISIL, and they were saying that if it is, that’s an attack by a group that has now made significant military headway in the Middle East against Russia, and Russia might finally sit up and take notice.
Feinstein seemed to know what she was talking about, and I was curious – with so much coverage about Bernie’s supposed foreign policy weakness, did someone like Feinstein have anything to say about Senator Sanders? I couldn’t find any direct comments (though if anybody does, please pass them my way). Well, at the very least, I could compare what she was saying, which seemed to make sense, and see how it lined up against the actions Sanders has taken in the past. The following excerpt is one of the candidate’s quotes, from the article “Bernie Sanders on ISIS,” at www.FeelTheBern.org:
“I have supported U.S. airstrikes against ISIS and believe they are authorized under current law, and I support targeted U.S. military efforts to protect U.S. citizens. It is my firm belief, however, that the war against ISIS will never be won unless nations in the Middle East step up their military efforts and take more responsibility for the security and stability of their region. The United States and other western powers should support our Middle East allies, but this war will never be won unless Muslim nations in the region lead that fight. It is worth remembering that Saudi Arabia, for example, is a nation controlled by one of the wealthiest families in the world and has the fourth largest military budget of any nation. This is a war for the soul of Islam and the Muslim nations must become more heavily engaged.”
After looking through that information, I feel like I have a handle on where Sanders stands on ISIS – that it’s important for regional powers to take the lead. I definitely feel like I understand more about his thoughts on a specific foreign policy issue, so I wanted to share this. Have a look and let me know what you think, and if you’re wondering where Sanders stands on foreign policy, this article is as good a place as any to start.
Read the entire article here.