Stephen Zunes : Democratic Party Foreign Policy
Democratic Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts is heavily favored to win the June 25 special election to fill the US Senate seat in Massachusetts vacated by John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State. Markey’s campaign has received widespread and enthusiastic backing from the progressive community, including endorsements from groups such as Peace Action and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) which have previously tended to formally endorse only a selected number of candidates who have strong records on peace and human rights.
This nearly unprecedented level of support comes despite the fact that – even though he comes from one of the most liberal states in the country – Markey’s foreign policy record is well to the right of the majority of Democrats, both in Massachusetts and nationally.
Here on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, it is important to remember that it was not just those in the Bush White House who were responsible for the tragedy, but leading members of Congress as well, some of whom are now in senior positions in the Obama administration. The 4,500 Americans killed, the far larger number permanently wounded, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and millions displaced, the trillion dollars of US taxpayers’ money squandered (and the resulting cutbacks through sequestration), the continued costs of the war through veterans’ benefits and interest on the national debt, and the anti-American extremism in reaction to the invasion and occupation which has spread throughout much of the world all could have been avoided if the Democratic-controlled Senate hadn’t voted to authorize this illegal and unnecessary war and occupation.
Hillary Clinton leaves her position as Secretary of State with a legacy of supporting autocratic regimes and occupation armies, opposing enforcement of international humanitarian law, undermining arms control and defending military solutions to complex political problems. She was appointed to her position following eight years in the US Senate, during which she became an outspoken supporter of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, lied about Iraq’s military capabilities to frighten the public into supporting the illegal war, unleashed repeated attacks against the United Nations, opposed restrictions on land mines and cluster bombs, defended war crimes by allied right-wing governments and largely embraced Bush’s unilateralist agenda.
President Obama’s selection of John Kerry as the next secretary of state sends the wrong signal to America’s allies and adversaries alike. Kerry’s record in the United States Senate, where he currently chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, has included spurious attacks on the International Court of Justice, unqualified defense of Israeli occupation policies and human rights violations, and support for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, thereby raising serious questions about his commitment to international law and treaty obligations. Furthermore, his false claims about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and his repeated denials of well-documented human rights abuses by allied governments raise serious questions about his credibility.
In a stunning violation of its own rules, the wishes of the majority of delegates at its national convention, and positions taken by the United Nations and virtually every country in the world, the Democratic Party leadership pushed through an amendment to its platform early during its proceedings on Wednesday, with barely half the delegates […]
A surprising number of progressives have been expressing regret at the resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) over the “sexting” scandal, correctly noting how the grossly inflated media coverage has distracted from far more pressing issues, as well as the far worse sins (mostly not involving sex) committed by Republican lawmakers. What is disturbing, however, is the way Weiner is being treated as if he was a leading progressive voice on Capitol Hill despite his decidedly right-wing political agenda, particularly on foreign policy.
As Israeli opposition parties, peace and human rights activists, and editorialists denounced their prime minister’s intransigence in the face of President Barack Obama’s peace initiative, Congressional Democrats here in the United States have instead joined their Republican counterparts in lining up to support the right-wing Israeli leader’s defiance. As Benyamin Netanyahu arrogantly rejected Obama’s modest parameters for a peace settlement in a May 20 speech before a joint session of Congress – a rare honor for a foreign leader – Democrats joined Republicans in giving him no less than 29 standing ovations, more than were given to Obama during his State of the Union Speech earlier this year.
The unarmed insurrection that overthrew the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and the ongoing uprising in Egypt have opened up debate regarding prospects for democratization in Arab and other predominately Muslim countries. Many in the West are familiar with the way unarmed pro-democracy insurrections have helped bring democracy to Eastern Europe, Latin America, and parts […]
Though outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has insisted that there just isn’t enough time for the lame duck Democratic-controlled Congress to consider much of the progressive legislation on the docket prior to the Republican takeover early next month, she and other Democratic leaders did find time last Wednesday to pass a resolution condemning efforts by Palestinian moderates to seek recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The many accolades coming out following the sudden death on Monday of veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke and his death bed conversion in opposing the Iraq war have overshadowed his rather sordid history of supporting dictators, war criminals and military solutions to complex political problems.