Democratic Establishment Rallies Around U.S. Foreign Policy

For Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright, and members of Congress, this election is all about gender. Gloria Steinem was trying to explain why young women support Bernie Sanders and she came up with this: they support him because his campaign is where the boys are. (( Madeline Albright started out with the claim that she was concerned about foreign policy, but then she threw in a warning, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help women.”(( I think it’s this same article that says Hillary’s supporters in the Senate think it’s time for a woman to be president.

It’s confusing when people start talking about something substantial, like foreign policy, and then pull out the gender card. It leaves you wondering if they support their candidate because of her gender, or because of her stand on the issues. They may as well have said, “Here’s a woman who’s eligible for the presidency and she has experience too, so what are you waiting for?” It makes me doubt the sanity of the political establishment—not because they support Hillary but because they can’t articulate their reasons better than that.

Now maybe Steinem and Albright only said these things because they thought it would get votes. This would be good news because it would mean that they aren’t necessarily that shallow. The bad news would be that they think the voters are. Anyway, if they have more sensible motives they apparently don’t want to reveal them.

I’ve never doubted that a woman could be president. If it had been a woman who presented a vision for a more just future I would have supported her. If this woman had also been willing to thumb her nose at the oligarchs I would most definitely have supported her.

On the foreign policy question, it seems to me the problem with running a campaign based on past foreign policy experience is that the physical conditions that once supported our foreign policies are changing—not to mention that they were never really sustainable in the first place. We need a new foreign policy that takes into account the survival of the planet. And not just its survival—we need policies that allow the planet and the human cultures that depend on it to thrive. To this end, we need someone in the president’s office who is willing and able to rethink our policies as opposed to blindly obeying them.

I think Senator Sanders demonstrated this ability in the New Hampshire debate when he said the most dangerous situation at this time is the development by North Korea of nuclear weapons. This opinion differs from from that held by members of the U.S. establishment who say Russia is the most dangerous. Sanders disagrees because he thinks the isolation and paranoia of North Korea’s leader makes its nuclear capabilities a more urgent threat. He would ask China to help curb this threat, and assumes that this would be in China’s interests since North Korea’s behavior threatens China too. Instead, the U.S. is now in talks to install a missile defense system in South Korea. Maybe this is a good move, I don’t know, but it’s sure to antagonize the Chinese who have already objected on the grounds that it will interfere with their own launch systems. ((K.J.Kwon and Paula Hancocks, South Korea, U.S. to discuss Missile Defense Plan, CNN, Feb 7, 2016. Available: However, this type of maneuver is consistent with current U.S. policy.

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