Stephen Zunes : Democratic Party Foreign Policy


Distorting Obama’s Views on Israel
2 October 2008

Barack Obama has alienated key sectors of his progressive base with statements and policy proposals regarding Israel in which he allies himself with right-wing Republicans. These have included: rejecting calls by human rights activists to condition military aid to Israel on an improvement in the government’s human rights record; defending Israel’s massive 2006 assault against Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, which killed more than 800 civilians; disputing findings by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other reputable human rights organizations citing Israeli violations of international humanitarian law; calling for an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without supporting the right of the Palestinian-populated eastern half of the city to be the capital of a Palestinian state; making exaggerated claims about Iran’s threats towards Israel while refusing to express any concerns regarding Israel’s threats towards Iran; and bringing in Dennis Ross — a prominent supporter of Israeli government policies — as his principal Middle East advisor….


Biden’s Foreign Policy ‘Experience’
23 September 2008

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s choice of Joseph Biden as his running mate has drawn sharp criticism from many Democrats as a result of the Delaware senator’s support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, his flagrantly false claims about the alleged Iraqi threat, and the abuse of his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to suppress antiwar testimony before Congress prior to the invasion.


The 2008 Democratic Party Platform and the Middle East
5 September 2008

The excitement over the nomination of Barack Obama as the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party has been tempered by some key foreign policy planks in the 2008 platform, particularly those relating to the greater Middle East region. These positions appear to run counter to Obama’s pledge early in the primary race to end the mindset that led to the Iraq War.


Obama and AIPAC
12 June 2008

In many respects, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has played right into the hands of cynics who have long doubted his promises to create a new and more progressive role for the United States in the world. The very morning after the last primaries, in which he finally received a sufficient number of pledged delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and no longer needed to win over voters from the progressive base of his own party, Obama — in a Clinton-style effort at triangulation — gave a major policy speech before the national convention of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Embracing policies which largely backed those of the more hawkish voices concerned with Middle Eastern affairs, he received a standing ovation for his efforts….


Barack Obama on Diplomacy
17 January 2008

The rise in popular support for Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy reflects the growing skepticism among Democratic and independent voters regarding both the Bush administration’s and the Democratic Party establishment’s foreign policies. Indeed, on issues ranging from Iraq to nuclear weapons to global warming to foreign aid, as well as his general preference for diplomacy over militarism, Obama has also staked out positions considerably more progressive than the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry….


Obama and the Middle East: Will He Bring About “Change?”
15 January 2008

The strong showings by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the early contests for the Democratic presidential nomination don’t just mark a repudiation of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy and “war on terrorism.” They also indicate a rejection of the Democratic Party establishment, much of which supported the invasion of Iraq and other tragic elements of the administration’s foreign policy.


Barack Obama on the Middle East
10 January 2008

The strong showings by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the early contests for the Democratic presidential nomination don’t just mark a repudiation of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy and “war on terrorism.” They also indicate a rejection of the Democratic Party establishment, much of which supported the invasion of Iraq and other tragic elements of the administration’s foreign policy…


Lantos’ Tarnished Legacy
8 January 2008

Pundits responded to news of the retirement of Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) at the end of his current term with platitudes and praise. They have focused primarily on his heroic role as a Holocaust survivor and member of the anti-Nazi resistance in his native Hungary as well as his leadership on human rights issues in Congress, serving as the founder and longtime co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus….


John Edwards’ Foreign Policy
20 December 2007

A sizable number of progressive activists, celebrities and unions who, for various reasons, are unwilling to support the underfunded long-shot bid of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich are backing the presidential campaign of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards as their favorite among the top-tier candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Indeed, the charismatic populist has staked out positions on important domestic policy issues, particularly addressing economic justice, that are more progressive than any serious contender for the nomination of either party in many years….


Hillary Clinton’s Militarism Exposed
17 December 2007

While much attention has been given to Senator Hillary Clinton’s support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, her foreign policy record regarding other international conflicts and her apparent eagerness to accept the use of force appears to indicate that her fateful vote authorizing the invasion and her subsequent support for the occupation and counter-insurgency war was no aberration. Indeed, there’s every indication that, as president, her foreign policy agenda would closely parallel that of the Bush administration. Despite efforts by some conservative Republicans to portray her as being on the left wing of the Democratic Party, in reality her foreign policy positions bear a far closer resemblance to those of Ronald Reagan than they do of George McGovern.