US Foreign Policy Is Life-and-Death. Don’t Expect Any Meaningful Questions About It in the Debates.

July 25, 2019
Stephen Kinzer
This is a summary of an op-ed originally published by The Boston Globe. 

The author writes that "bold ideas about America's future role in the world" will not be part of the second round of debates among Democratic presidential candidates. Of the top-tier candidates, only Bernie Sanders has put forth a consistent foreign policy view. But candidates aren't the only problem, according to the author. Candidates do not provide answers about world affairs because moderators don't pose those kinds of provocative questions. These questions, he writes, could include: “President Jimmy Carter has asserted that the United States is ‘the most warlike nation in the history of the world.’ Is that true? If not, why do so many people around the world believe it? … How can we avoid conflict with China? … The United States maintains nearly 800 foreign military bases. Britain, France and Russia have a total of about 30. China has one. Does the U.S. need 25 times more foreign bases than these other powers combined, or could we cut the number in half? ... If we believe that the government of another country is brutalizing its people and acting against American interests, should we seek to weaken or overthrow that government? … Would you end military maneuvers near Russia's borders and seek ways to cooperate, or is Russia our irreconcilable enemy? ... Our military forces now control one-third of Syria, including much of its arable land and energy resources. Should we continue this occupation, or withdraw and allow the reunification of Syria? … Is eternal war our destiny? Is peace possible? If so, what will you do to bring it closer?”

Read the full op-ed at The Boston Globe.


Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

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