Jill Stein on Foreign Policy
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
Johnson: "Skeptic," but "wouldn't get rid of treaty."
Stein: Yes. Create nuclear-free zone in the entire Middle East.
Q: On Iraq: Did you support the Iraq war? Should the US commit significant additional ground troops to Iraq to combat ISIS?
Clinton: Voted to give Bush authority for war; then said "made a mistake." Supported Obama draw-down. Opposes adding more combat troops, but wants more support for Arab & Kurdish ground forces.
Trump: Says opposed war but made no public opposition statements at time, & some indicating support. Later supported troop withdrawal. Now supports 20,000-30,000 additional US troops.
Johnson: Opposed war. Boots on ground, bombs, & drones "make things worse." ISIS has been "largely contained geographically."
Stein: End Iraq and Afghan wars, withdraw troops & military contractors. Weapons embargo in Middle East.
STEIN: If you watched the debate the other night, you would have heard Trump saying that he's looking for collaboration with Putin. But I consider the threat of nuclear war not trivial at all, and this is one of the most clear and present dangers to our surroundings.
Q: Why is it more likely under Clinton, though? This is about Trump's hair-trigger temper generally, not just with Putin.
STEIN: Put it this way: The most likely nuclear threat right now is with Russia. And when you have Hillary Clinton then beating the war drums against Russia, and essentially saying that if she's elected that we will declare war on Russia--because that's what a no-fly zone over Syria amounts to. Shooting down Russian warplanes.
Q: Not if the Russians adhere.
STEIN: But our no-fly zone does not adhere to international law. Syria--for better or for worse--invited Russia there.
Hillary Clinton: I will not let anyone into our country that I think poses a risk to us. But there are a lot of refugees who are women and children.
Jill Stein: There is a refugee crisis created in large part by US military interventions. We need to do our part by taking in refugees.
STEIN: I think we need to take a good hard look at NATO. In my view NATO needs to be part of a re-examination of a foreign policy that has been based on economic and military domination and we need to look at what the consequences of this kind of foreign policy are. And, you know we spent $6 trillion--
Q: What's the domination, where NATO comes into it?
STEIN: Well, NATO for example is how we can do an end run around our own internal process when we want to create regime change somewhere.
Q: So your running mate [Ajamu Baraka] referred to the "gangster states" of NATO. Do you share that view?
STEIN: Well, he uses language I would not use. But, shall we say, I don't think it represents American democracy to do an end run around our process or determining when we will go to war.
Q: Well he uses language, but what does he mean?
STEIN: I think he means the same thing I'm saying.
A: Many Sanders supporters have long straddled both campaigns. As the Democratic Party moves to sideline his campaign, Sanders' supporters themselves are getting the word out that the revolution continues here, inside our campaign.
Q: Who are you reaching out to?
A: For example, we are getting the word out to Latinos and other groups concerned about immigrant rights. They have seen that Republicans are the party of hate and fearmongering. And Democrats are the party of deportation, detention and night raids. We are the only campaign opposing border militarization, pointing out that the most important solution to the immigration crisis is to stop causing it-- through predatory trade deals, the war on drugs and U.S. military and CIA-supported coups and regime change. U.S. immigration policy effectively criminalizes millions of refugees fleeing the poverty and violence resulting from misguided U.S. policies.
It's not only the Saudis, though. Stein argued that US involvement in sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, like the ongoing Syrian civil war, only exacerbate tensions in an already volatile region. "We're funding the 'good-guy terrorists' now, they might become 'bad-guy terrorists' later." Stein went on to draw a more complex picture of forces on the ground in the conflict: "They're hybrids of freedom fighters, resistance fighters. Then there are the religious extremists and the warlords. It's complicated."
One thing's for sure, said Stein: constant US meddling in the region is "putting a flamethrower to Middle East."
Our actions perpetuate an "absolute disaster of a policy. We're spending $8 million a day supplying the Israeli military." That money goes to continuing the policies of home demolitions, apartheid, and massacres, Stein said. The policies are "flagrant violations of international law" that will eventually have the effect of "driving Israel out of existence" by its own actions.
Stein has hope that a solution can be reached, she said, but she believes the US needs to step back and let things take their own course. "Most authorities say a two-state solution is no longer possible due to the carving up of the territories by Israel and the occupation," Stein said. "My feeling is we shouldn't be in the business of telling them how to work it out."
Stein pointed to the Syrian conflict as an example of the failure of US diplomacy in the region. "It's no secret that the Saudis have been behind the terror groups tearing Syria apart," she explained, citing US patronage of the oil-rich kingdom as a driving force behind instability in the war-torn country. "Saudi Arabia has been given blanket permission to instigate religious extremism to the tune of $100 billion in US weapons," she said, "Freely distributed to whichever terrorists they want to support." Stein believes that there needs to be a full weapons boycott in Syria and a freeze on the bank accounts of countries sponsoring terror, including Saudi Arabia.
The International Rescue Committee has called for the US to take at least 65,000 refugees from Syria's civil war rather than the 10,000 proposed by Obama. Stein criticized the Obama administration plan to take up to 18 months to screen refugees as "a bureaucratic nightmare than will only increase pain & suffering."
Stein: We should encourage Ukraine to be neutral--we helped foment a coup against a democratically-elected government, [resulting in a government] where ultra-nationalists and ex-Nazis came to power. Imagine the inverse: if Russia did that in Canada--installed a government hostile to us--we saw something like that in Cuban Missile Crisis--that would not be acceptable to us. So let's not be single-issue--instead of fomenting a hostile Ukraine we should be leading the way in establishing a neutral Ukraine that would allow Russia to not feel under attack. We've made great strides--Putin is not a hero--but as Noam Chomsky points out, the Doomsday clock has moved closer to midnight than it has been since 1983. The hostile faceoff with Russia causes that and is entirely misplaced--led by war hawks in Obama administration--especially [Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs] Victoria Nuland, who cheered on an overthrow in Ukraine.
Stein: We should deal with China like a member of global community--stop isolating and intimidating China--that is not gonna work.
OnTheIssues: What about the latest standoff in the South China Sea?
Stein: It is wrongheaded for us to deal with territorial rights on the borders of China--what I mean by dealing with China as a member of global community is not to isolate them. On US debt, they finance all sorts of 3rd-world countries in a way that is far less heavy-handed than the US--we need to compete with China on that. We do need to stand up on human rights--but we need to do that inside the US or it does not pass the laugh test. Like in our jails and in our schools and in our courts and the way that we treat immigrants--we have created them and then we criminalize them. We need to get our own house in order first--stand up for human rights in China, yes, but also in Israel and Saudi Arabia too.
Stein: It was long overdue--it was time to end our economic & political warfare against Cuba. We need to be respecting their right to self-determination. We should go there without intent to interfere in their national process of deciding what kind of government, what kind of food and entertainment they have--we should respect the choices that the Cuban people have made.
OnTheIssues: And the Castros?
Stein: We should not be in the business of overturning Castro's rule. We should encourage human rights in Cuba, but we have been harboring terrorists against Cuba and we need to address human rights violations that we ourselves have been doing.
Stein: I think this is an issue where something does need to be said--but it's important to understand where they are coming from. The United States, under Bush 1, had an agreement when Germany joined NATO--Russia agreed with the understanding that NATO would not move one inch to the east. Since then NATO has pursued a policy of basically encircling Russia--including the threat of nukes and drones and so on.
Stein: On the basis of human rights, international law, and diplomacy. We need to be a leading member of the world community--leading but not domineering, which has become the U.S. approach, dominated by endless war, which is unsustainable.
STEIN: To provide a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants and to restore our civil liberties, our foreign policy platform is very important. We feel that we should have a foreign policy that basically gets rebooted and established on the basis of international law, human rights and diplomacy, and that we should not be in the business of funding basically weapons for everybody who wants them, and in particular, we should not be delivering weapons systems or support of any sort to nations around the world that are human rights violators.
ROMNEY: I think the tension that existed between Israel and the United States was very unfortunate.
STEIN: We're seeing the candidates very similar to each other. They're both vowing their obedience to the right-wing government in Israel. And they are both saying that they will stop at nothing, but that war will be the last result. So, once again, we're seeing shades of gray here between the Democratic and Republican candidates, but we're not seeing what the American people really need and what international security really needs. And in fact, I should add that this slave-like mentality towards Israel is absolutely unjustified. We need to start raising the bar for Israel and holding them to an equal standard for supporting human rights and international law and ending occupations and illegal settlements and apartheid.
STEIN: The tragedy in Libya, I think, is a very good case in point that really shows how this "get tough" international policy has really been extremely unproductive, has really produced the opposite effect of what was intended. And we're seeing this now not only in Libya, but in the demonstrations against U.S. embassies across the Middle East, in the fact that the Afghanistan army is shooting at U.S. soldiers. The war effort really is not being turned over to an Afghan army. The Afghan army itself has a very high desertion rate. We need a foreign policy based not on "tough guy" militarism, but on international law and respect for human rights, not on wars for oil.
Q: Should the U.S. intervene in the affairs of other countries?
A: No, we should oppose wars of aggression and entangling alliances with other nations
A: Israel/Palestine is a microcosm of broader US foreign policy principles, and our foreign policy needs to come into harmony with principles of human rights, nonviolent conflict resolution and a respect for international law--which haven't been there at all in Israel/Palestine and more globally. So, in Israel/Palestine, we need to start holding all parties accountable. All of the various factions responsible in Palestine and in Israel, for stopping human rights violations, so that assassinations are not accepted, so that apartheid is not accepted etc. We need to ask all parties to come up to the same standards of respect of human rights. We need to stop, in particular, being Israel's enabler of being the more powerful prohibitor of human rights. Occupation is unacceptable.
A: On that scale, a multilateralist. We cannot afford to be the unilateral policemen of the world enforcing our own interest. We are a member of a very integrated world community and world economy and we need to behave accordingly.
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