Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#1

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The Hill
Buttigieg, Warren pledge Afghanistan withdrawal even without Taliban peace deal

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday went further than their previous pledges on Afghanistan by saying they would swiftly withdraw U.S. troops even without a peace deal with the Taliban.

The Democratic presidential candidates also said they would bring troops home quickly even if military leaders advised otherwise.

“We have got to put an end to endless war. And the way we do it is see to it that that country will never again be used for an attack against our homeland and that does not require an open-ended requirement of ground troops,” Buttigieg said. ...

Pressed by ABC moderator David Muir about whether she would pull troops if military leaders on the ground advised her that a deal with the Taliban was needed, she pointed to a trip to Afghanistan two years ago when she talked to local and U.S. military leaders.

She said she had asked officials to “show me what winning looks like.”

“No one can describe it, and the reason no one can describe it is because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military,” Warren said. ...

Buttigieg on Thursday also took a swipe at Trump over recent reports that a U.S. Air Force crew stayed at one of the president’s hotels in Scotland during a layover.

“We ... have a president right now who seems to treat troops as props, or worse, tools for his own enrichment,” Buttigieg said.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy

#2

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LA Times - Doyle McManus
Column: Foreign policy is on the 2020 ballot, right alongside Trump ...

So next year’s presidential election could offer voters two choices when it comes to foreign policy that haven’t been seen since the 1930s: A race between two candidates who both want to scale back U.S. commitments or a contest between an isolationist Republican and a more hawkish Democrat.

Since World War II, both parties have shared a rough consensus on U.S. engagement abroad — except when they divided between Republican hawks and Democratic doves.

This time, the cleavage between hawks and doves splits both parties, thanks to Trump, who often talks like a hawk, threatening “fire and fury” against countries that get in his way, but acts like a dove, avoiding real confrontations.

The Democrats’ internecine debate is nothing new. The contest of relatively centrist, internationalist candidates (Biden, Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) against progressive insurgents more skeptical of U.S. engagement abroad (Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii) would be familiar to anyone who has watched a primary contest since the Vietnam War.

The Republican fracture is more unusual, more disruptive — and perhaps more portentous.

Trump is breaking with a Republican foreign policy tradition that’s been in place since 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower defeated the isolationist Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio for the GOP nomination.

Republican internationalism persisted through the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and (in an assertive variant) George W. Bush, who launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trump, who was a registered Democrat during most of that period, doesn’t see himself as an heir to that tradition. His closest Republican forebear is Patrick J. Buchanan, who campaigned for president in 1988 as a neo-isolationist.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#3

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WaPo
Republicans’ advantage on national security has faded — and Democratic candidates are responding

The Trump administration keeps moving further from what Americans say they want.


Until the most recent debate, the candidates for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination scarcely discussed foreign policy. Last week, that changed — prompted in part by a cascade of international events, including the Ukraine scandal, President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, and Turkey’s immediate attacks.

So what do these Democrats have to say about national security? Here are some takeaways on who’s saying what and why it matters.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#4

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Politico
Buttigieg blasts Trump on Syria, says he’d make ‘better' deals

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying he’d make “better” foreign policy deals if he won the White House.

“If we think that there is a commitment, a treaty or a deal that we can improve on, we go to the table and we make it happen,” the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ...

“Right now, what is happening is the future [in Syria] is being decided by everybody but the United States ... and we are nowhere because American leadership has been withdrawn,” said Buttigieg, who was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

He also dismissed the notion of “completely” removing the U.S. military from the Middle East.

“We need to keep the American people safe when it comes to the Middle East,” Buttigieg said. “Yes, it will be messy for probably as long as I’m alive,” but the way to “end endless war” is not “saying ‘we're not even going to do anything until after we get attacked and are forced to get involved in some way.’” ...

"What President Trump does is wake up in the morning and have a phone call or, maybe, a tweet and completely change years or even decades of U.S. policy, surprising his own generals and country in the process,” Buttigieg said. “That's not how this works."

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#5

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Foreign Policy
Which Democratic Candidates Are National Security Employees Opening Their Wallets for?

Data shows that members of the State Department and the military are investing in candidates who are not currently topping national polls.


While former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren top most 2020 presidential democratic primary polls, the candidates of choice for most national security employees are Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Foreign Policy examined how much money was donated to campaign committees from employees of the State Department, the military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department, drawing on data from the Center for Responsive Politics. When combining contribution amounts together, Sanders is the biggest beneficiary of national security support, followed by Buttigieg and Warren. Democratic front-runner Biden and President Donald Trump trail behind those candidates, ranking no higher than third for any one department.

The numbers reflect 2019 contributions received through Sept. 30. Donations from employees include those made by their spouses. Foreign Policy tallied data for candidates who were still running as of Nov. 8.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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The Hill
Biden responds to North Korea: 'I wear their insults as a badge of honor'

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday responded to attacks on him by North Korea saying he will wear insults from the country "as a badge of honor."

North Korea's state news agency KCNA had described him earlier Friday as "a rabid dog" that needed to be put down.

"It seems that murderous dictator Kim Jong Un doesn't like me. Add him to the list of autocrats who don't want me to be president — right next to Vladimir Putin," Biden said in a statement released by his campaign. "I wear their insults as a badge of honor."

He also knocked President Trump for his sometimes-warm relationship with Kim, saying "there will be no love letters in a Biden Administration."

"When I am commander in chief, our adversaries will know that America doesn't embrace dictators," Biden said. "All Trump has accomplished is emboldening Kim and endangering our allies."

"Kim would love to see Trump reelected, as would the rest of America's adversaries. That's just one more reason it's so important we beat him next November," he added.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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Associated Press
Buttigieg touts military service, wary of overstating role ...

In his first Iowa television ad, he holds a rifle and points it toward the rubble at his feet, introducing himself, “As a veteran ... .”

Like candidates from the time of George Washington, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor is leaning hard on his seven-month deployment as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan as a powerful credential. As he does, he walks a narrow path between giving his wartime service its due and overstating it.

He is careful not to call himself a combat veteran even as he notes the danger he faced. One of his former competitors for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, has drawn a sharp contrast between his four combat tours in Iraq and Buttigieg’s service. And a former commanding officer, who said he thinks Buttigieg would be within his rights to say he is a combat veteran, nonetheless questions the use of a rifle in his ads.

As support for his campaign grows, Buttigieg can expect more intense scrutiny of his military record in a political climate where military service is far from sacred, as past attacks on the records of Republican John McCain and Democrat John Kerry show.

Buttigieg addressed the subject with reporters during a recent bus tour in northern Iowa. “It kind of felt like combat when the rocket alarm went off,” he said. “But I don’t feel prepared to use that term for myself.”

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#8

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US Walks Out of Defense Meeting With South Korea

https://www.courthousenews.com/us-walks ... uth-korea/
U.S. officials on Tuesday walked out of negotiations with South Korea over demands that Seoul increase its contributions to maintaining the U.S. military presence on its soil.

U.S. negotiator James DeHart said the United States decided to cut short a meeting that lasted less than two hours because Seoul’s proposals “were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing.”

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Washington has been calling for a “drastic increase” in South Korea’s contributions, which the country finds unacceptable.

The turbulent negotiations come at a delicate time for the allies, which face a growing North Korean threat and have squabbled over Seoul’s declaration to terminate a 2016 military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid a bilateral row.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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WaPo - Jennifer Rubin
Amy Klobuchar knows how to wield foreign policy vs. Trump

In her typically feisty fashion, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) delivered a stinging rebuttal to President Trump’s foreign policy during a speech for the Council on Foreign Relations. She blasted the president for “an erosion of our long-held principles, our alliances, and really, America’s moral authority.” The senator, who is also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, was just getting warmed up.

She began by reeling off a list of counterproductive actions that have hurt U.S. defenses: ...

The body of her speech was framed around a set of five R’s: “Restoring American leadership, repairing our alliances, rejoining international agreements, responding appropriately to the threats and challenges that come before us, and reasserting American values.” This is the responsible foreign policy for which there is strong agreement from the center-left to the center-right, at least in foreign-policy circles.

At a time in which Trump and Republicans have ridiculed foreign aid and have decimated the State Department, Klobuchar promised, if elected president, to “to rebuild and restore our diplomatic corps" that requires “immediately depoliticizing foreign policy making and ensuring that the State Department and international agencies receive sufficient funding.” She said she would also put out the "Welcome Back" sign in an effort to lure esteemed diplomats who left the Trump administration in disgust.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#10

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WaPo - Jennifer Rubin
Buttigieg’s foreign policy might be the key to his success

In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was up against a Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, who was the most experienced nominee in foreign policy since George H.W. Bush defeated Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis 20 years earlier. Obama passed the commander-in-chief test because, first, he argued he had the requisite judgment (having opposed the Iraq War) and, second, he radiated reasonableness, steadiness and quiet confidence. (You will recall during the financial meltdown in the fall of 2008, Obama seemed to be the calmer and more methodical of the two.) In other words, the candidate who generates the most confidence on national security might not necessarily have the most experience, although it is certainly an asset.

In this election cycle, the contrast between a Democratic nominee who is poised, rational, fact-based and candid and President Trump, who is impulsive, corrupt and ignorant, could be quite stunning. And oddly, while not widely covered or debated, foreign policy is where South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose cool and deliberate demeanor some compare to Obama, may excel, despite former vice president Joe Biden’s decades of experience. (Biden voted for the Iraq War.)

Buttigieg sat down with The Post Editorial Board last week and, especially on foreign policy, showed his steadiness, both in rhetoric and in policy. Consider his answer to The Post’s David Ignatius, who asked about Afghanistan, Syria and the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA):
Pete Buttigieg: So the Syria model actually informs the answer, I think, to the Afghanistan question in the medium term. After all, what we had there was a small number of troops, special operations and intelligence capacity, really a tiny number if we talk about the area that the president withdrew from, who were able to prevent the worst outcomes just by being there. And I think that as we develop a much more narrow and specific account of what the American objective in Afghanistan is, which from a military perspective is the defense of the American homeland — from a political perspective, it’s a lot more, we want to continue to support gains that have been made there — but from a military perspective, it’s protecting America, then it does lead to a likely medium-term scenario, where the bulk of the ground troops are gone, something, by the way, that I believed was underway in 2014. I thought, I was made to feel like I was one of the very last troops turning out the lights when we were packing up and leaving. And years later, we’re still there in comparable proportion. So that’s clearly got to come to an end.

But part of that way out, in order to keep the core American security objectives, may well involve a very light-footprint presence of highly specialized and capable intelligence and special operations people on the ground.
Here he avoids parroting the “get out of the Middle East” rhetoric popular in the right and left these days. Instead, he makes an informed critique of Trump and the common-sense observation that Syria (before Trump betrayed the Kurds) was the sort of deployment we might hope for in Afghanistan. Buttigieg is not promising to abandon U.S. leadership and responsibilities, but rather to transition to a different military posture.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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USA Today
Exclusive: With 218 foreign policy endorsements, Buttigieg targets a big Biden asset ...

The text of their joint letter targets President Donald Trump, but the subtext is aimed at former Vice President Joe Biden, who touts his foreign policy experience during the Obama administration as a major asset in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The endorsements are designed to burnish Buttigieg's credentials as a potential commander in chief and portray him as the leader of a new generation.

Among those from the Obama administration who signed the statement are former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, former deputy CIA director David Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon, former Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez, former State Department adviser Vali Nasr, former White House associate counsel Tess Bridgeman and former National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

The list of 218 names also includes Anthony Lake, national security adviser for President Clinton; Peter Galbraith, former deputy U.N. envoy to Afghanistan; Virginia Rep. Don Beyer; a dozen former U.S. ambassadors; and former officials from the State Department, Pentagon, CIA, NSC and elsewhere.

"Over the course of the past year, we have watched the emergence of a young leader who shares our belief in America's leadership role and values," the letter says, citing Buttigieg's "intelligence, steadiness, demeanor and understanding of the forces now shaping the world." It praises "his long-term approach to the generational consequences of near-term decisions." ...

Last month, the Biden campaign released its own list, announcing his endorsement by 133 former national security and foreign policy officials. They included some of President Barack Obama's top aides, among them former national security adviser Tom Donilon, former deputy CIA director Avril Haines, former Under Secretary of State Nick Burns, former Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco, and 65 former ambassadors. ...

"Many of the signatories are the next generation of foreign policy leaders whose careers are definitely still ahead of them," said Doug Wilson, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration who helps lead Buttigieg's foreign policy team. "We have involved people we think have a tremendous amount to contribute to that next generation, who have experience and expertise but are not at the end of their careers."

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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Associated Press
Buttigieg critiques Biden’s ‘judgment’ on Iraq War vote

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Sunday called former Vice President Joe Biden’s vote to authorize the Iraq War part of the nation’s “worst foreign policy decision” of the millennial mayor’s lifetime.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was responding to a question about how his foreign policy experience measured up to others’ in the Democratic race, specifically Biden, who was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when the U.S. went to war.

“This is an example of why years in Washington is not always the same thing as judgment,” Buttigieg said while recording the program “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television, according to a transcript. “He supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime, which was the decision to invade Iraq.”

As Buttigieg has risen to the top of voter preference polls in Iowa, where the presidential nominating contests begin in a little more than a month, some of his rivals have pointed to his governing experience being limited to a city of about 102,000 as a liability. ...

In the middle of a three-day trip through central and eastern Iowa, Buttigieg stopped short of suggesting Biden’s vote demonstrated a lack of foreign policy judgment required to be president.

“It’s certainly a question that reflects on foreign policy judgment at a time like this when it’s so precarious for the people of the U.S.,” Buttigieg told reporters after a campaign event in Knoxville, Iowa. “Obviously, my judgment is different when it comes to a lot of these issues.”

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#13

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Bloomberg
Trump's Iran Strike Hands Biden Edge in 2020 Democratic Race ...

Biden seized on the killing of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani as a chance to remind Democratic voters of why he believes he’s the best suited to face President Donald Trump on foreign policy in the general election.

Biden told voters in Dubuque, Iowa, on Friday that the U.S. “could be on the brink of a new kind of conflict in the Middle East.”

Calling Soleimani “the architect behind the slaughter of countless lives,” Biden said he doubts the Trump administration has “a strategy for what comes next,” suggesting he would not take action as president without a longer-term plan

“Unfortunately, nothing we’ve seen from this administration” to suggest such a plan has been worked out, Biden said. ...

Biden on Thursday night was among the first candidates to respond to news of the killing, and issued a statement longer than those of his opponents. He warned that Trump may not have considered the “second- and third-order consequences” of the attack.

“The administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attacks by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect,” Biden said in his initial statement. “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy.”

Democrats by wide margins consistently rate Biden, 77, as best able to handle foreign policy because of his eight years as vice president and his decades of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But he rarely focuses on those credentials because foreign policy isn’t typically a top priority for Democratic primary voters, who focus more on social and pocketbook issues. Trump’s escalation with Iran has at least briefly elevated the issue.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#14

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Except this country never replaces a CIC when we are at war. I bet Trump's approval rating goes up 10 points because of this. And the number of people who support impeachment plummets. He knows exactly what he is doing. Or, he's trusting what he's heard someone else say about how the country rallies around a president when it becomes us against them, being USA against any other country.
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#15

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:like:
RVInit wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:20 pm
Except this country never replaces a CIC when we are at war. I bet Trump's approval rating goes up 10 points because of this. And the number of people who support impeachment plummets. He knows exactly what he is doing. Or, he's trusting what he's heard someone else say about how the country rallies around a president when it becomes us against them, being USA against any other country.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#16

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There's a first time for everything.
No matter where you go, there you are! :towel:
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#17

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p0rtia wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:28 pm
There's a first time for everything.
Let's hope this will be one of those firsts. I am 100% in favor of my being wrong in this case.
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#18

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WaPo - Michael Scherer
Killing of Iranian commander exposes Democratic divide over America’s role in the world

The targeted killing of a top Iranian military official on the orders of President Trump thrust a long-simmering foreign policy divide to the forefront of the Democratic nomination fight Friday, exposing divisions about America’s role in the world just one month before voting begins.

The clash was most apparent in the immediate reactions of two of the top candidates in the race, who reflect the divergent philosophies of the party — Sen. Bernie Sanders, a long-standing critic of U.S. interventionism abroad, and former vice president Joe Biden, a fixture in the foreign policy establishment.

Both offered fierce critiques of Trump for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, which created the conditions for escalating tensions with the nation.

But, while Biden withheld judgment on the wisdom of the drone strike itself that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Sanders denounced the attack as “a dangerous escalation that brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East.”

Sanders compared the current moment to the months in 2002 before the Iraq invasion, when Congress voted on giving President George W. Bush permission to use military force in that country. Sanders opposed that measure, while Biden, then a senator from Delaware, supported it.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#19

Post by Suranis »

So their whole reason for yet another "Democrats are fighting one another piece is "Biden has been noncomittal and Sanders is going Rah rah!!"

Sanders isn't a Democrat, you gibbering ponses. Sanders is for Sanders and no-one else, imo.
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#21

Post by p0rtia »

Have him call me. Since he apparently hasn't been paying attention for the past four years, I'd be happy to fill him in.
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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#22

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Daily Beast: Biden Suddenly on the Defensive After Soleimani Killing

Former Vice President Joe Biden is particularly vulnerable to attacks on geopolitical orthodoxy as an example of what not to do.

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#23

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Des Moines Register
Campaigning in Iowa, Joe Biden predicts Iranian dominance in the Middle East following Soleimani's death, Iraqi vote

GRINNELL, Ia. — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Iran is now "in the driver's seat" in the Middle East, pointing to an Iraqi Parliament vote to remove U.S. forces from the country.

In his sharpest rebuke yet of Thursday's killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Biden said Sunday during a campaign stop in Grinnell that U.S. military leaders will lose sway in the region and Iran will speed up its efforts to build a nuclear weapon. He added that Iranian leaders will become more popular in their own country as its citizens rally behind them following the attack.

"This is a crisis totally of Donald Trump's making," Biden said. ...

"Iran now is going to be the person occupying and influencing Iraq, which is clearly not very much in our interest," Biden said Sunday.

He added: "We have to face this alone, without our allies. The (Trump) administration didn't consult or warn them, even though their interests are at stake, too — even though NATO countries have forces in the region as well. NATO countries now are telling both — our allies, NATO — are telling both the United States and Iran, treating us both as part of the problem. Not Iran. Not us. Both of us."

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#24

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WaPo Fact Checker - (Three Pinocchios): Biden’s claim that he didn’t tell Obama not to launch bin Laden raid

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Re: Issues 2020: Foreign Policy / National Security

#25

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Reuters
Biden, Sanders flex foreign policy muscles in 2020 U.S. Democratic race after Iran strike

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have seized on the killing of an Iranian military commander to tout their own leadership as the best antidote to what they call the reckless actions of President Donald Trump.

Biden blamed Trump on Tuesday for an “avoidable” rise in Iranian hostility that he said dated to the Republican president’s decision in 2018 to abandon a nuclear agreement with Iran signed when Biden was vice president.

“I have no illusions about Iran. The regime has long sponsored terrorism and threatened our interests. They’ve ruthlessly killed hundreds of protesters, and they should be held accountable for their actions,” said Biden, speaking in front of five American flags in New York.

“But there is a smart way to counter them - and a self-defeating way. Trump’s approach is demonstrably the latter.”

Sanders, a U.S. senator, has also slammed Trump’s actions but contrasted his own record as an anti-war campaigner with that of Biden, who voted in 2002 to authorize war in Iraq.

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