Mike Bloomberg on Foreign Policy

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


US should lead during global emergency; Trump has not

The coronavirus pandemic is a global emergency, which makes it both necessary and possible to align governments as allies in a war against the disease. But that has not happened. Resources -- materials, information, research -- should have been marshaled to avoid waste and duplication; they were not. Export controls on essential equipment should have been discussed and agreed to, where necessary; instead, countries imposed them unilaterally. The World Health Organization and other agencies should have been recognized as vital global assets, staffed and funded accordingly; President Trump, in an attempt to shift blame away from the White House, announced that he would withhold funding to the WHO.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has launched initiatives to help cities manage the pandemic and to support vulnerable low- and middle-income countries, through its partnership with the WHO.

Source: Mike Bloomberg op-ed in Bloomberg News , Apr 28, 2020

Work on China's Uighur human rights, using business pressure

Q: As president, how would you enforce human rights policies, such as China's persecution of Muslims, despite potential economic pressures that may arise?

BLOOMBERG: Number one, it's a disgrace, their human rights policies. And it's not just against the Uyghurs. It's other ethnic groups in China. And we should try to pressure them to stop it. I think it's also unrealistic to say that we are going to stop doing business with China, for a few reasons. Number one, the biggest problem facing the world is climate change, because it can kill us all. And China is a very big part of that solution. And also the American economy and the Chinese economy are linked. So it's just unrealistic to think that we're going to stop doing business with China, but it is not unrealistic to try to pressure them --not just on human rights, [but also on] stealing intellectual property. They are very unfair in treaties, in the way we do business. We can't own something there; they can own it in our country.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

China doesn't want a democracy; but don't go to war over it

Q: You said that the Chinese leader is not a dictator--do you stand by that?

BLOOMBERG: Well it's a question of what is a dictator. They don't have a democracy in the sense that they have general elections, that is true. They do have a system where a small group of people appoint the head, and they churn over periodically. If you go back and look at the last two or three decades there've been a number of people that had the same position that Xi Jinping has. I think the question is, if your definition is a democracy where people vote and pick their leaders, that is not what China's about and they don't seem to want it. They like their system, and I think they're wrong. I think they'd be better off opening things up. And I think we should work as hard as we can to change that, but you're not going to war and try to force them. We have to figure out a way to work with them while protecting our industries and protecting our country militarily.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

Only solution is to split up Israel and Palestine

The battle has been going on for a long time in the Middle East, whether it's the Arabs versus the Persians, the Shias versus the Sunnis, the Jews in Israel and the Palestinians, it's only gone on for 40 or 50 years.

Number one, you can't move the embassy back. We should not have done it without getting something from the Israeli government. But it was done, and you're going to have to leave it there.

Number two, only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated. The real problem here is you have two groups of people, both who think God gave them the same piece of land. And the answer is to obviously split it up, leave the Israeli borders where they are, try to push them to pull back some of those on the other side of the wall, where they've built these new communities, which they should not have done that, pull it back.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

Repair our frayed relationships with our allies

The greatest source of American strength abroad is not our tanks or planes or ships, but our partnerships with countries in every corner of the world. Mike will repair those frayed relationships, giving the State, Treasury and Commerce Departments the mandate and resources to intensify diplomacy, promote democracy and human rights and negotiate high-standard trade deals. And he will lead new regional coalitions to safeguard American interests, modernize international institutions and deter potential r
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeBloomberg.com , Jan 20, 2020

Trump coddles Russia; they intruded in 2016 election

Bloomberg accuses Trump of "coddling" President Vladimir Putin and failing to stand up to him over Russia's interference in U.S. elections. He argues for stronger measures to counter Russia.

He says that Trump is in a "state of denial" about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which Bloomberg calls "a hostile power's intrusions into U.S. sovereignty."

Source: Council on Foreign Relations on impeaching Trump , Dec 24, 2019

System of alliances achieved peace & democratic progress

Bloomberg calls Trump's approach to diplomacy "incompetent" and "counterproductive," arguing that it is alienating the United States, insulting allies, and flattering adversaries. He says that commitment to the system of alliances the United States helped build after World War II should be bipartisan, since that system has helped achieve peace, democratic progress, and economic growth.

Both as mayor and through his philanthropy, he has furthered his vision of diplomatic engagement with heads of state, city representatives, business leaders, and organizations around the world.

He has worked closely with the United Nations, especially on climate. In 2014 he was appointed a UN special envoy for climate and he has helped to organize UN climate summits.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has worked with global institutions such as the World Health Organization and with national governments on its public health initiatives in areas such as disease prevention, nutrition, and family planning.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Don't recognize Crimea annexation; do extend START treaty

Bloomberg argues for stronger measures to counter Russia while also calling for fresh negotiations with Moscow on arms control.

He says that lifting any sanctions on Russia or recognizing its annexation of Crimea would be "a monumental mistake." He argues that Washington must continue providing Ukraine with lethal aid for it to defend against Russian aggression and maintain faith in U.S. security guarantees.

He has called Putin a "strongman" who seeks territorial expansion and the destabilization of Europe and who has abetted war crimes in Syria by supporting Bashar al-Assad's government.

He opposes the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Europe, arguing that it would give Putin increased leverage over European countries.

He calls for talks with Russia to extend the New START treaty, a nuclear arms reduction agreement set to expire in 2021, as well as to revive the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Saudi Arabia's modernization is going in the right direction

Bloomberg's views on the Middle East have focused on his close ties to Israel, his ambivalence toward the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, and his support for Saudi Arabia's modernization efforts.

Bloomberg hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in New York in 2018 and he has praised Saudi Arabia for its reform efforts, especially its expansion of women's rights, saying the country is going "in the right direction."

Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Partner with World Bank: reduce traffic fatalities worldwide

Mayor Bloomberg joined the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the UN Economic Commission for Europe today to address efforts to reduce global traffic fatalities. The following are Mayor Bloomberg's remarks:

Around the world, road traffic injuries are taking the lives of 145 people every hour of every day. That adds up to something like 1.3 million people dying on the world's roads each year--and a further 20 to 50 million people suffering injuries, often debilitating ones. But make no mistake about it: this is a problem that affects us all--especially the world's poorest. 90% of these fatalities occur in the world's rapidly urbanizing low- and middle-income nations.

Our record of improving safety in New York encouraged me to try to replicate this same success around the world, and it also inspired us to act at the fact that road safety has not typically been a top priority--yet the number of lives that could potentially be saved is incredible.

Source: Mayoral website, NYC.gov , Apr 19, 2011

Visited Israel for first time just before candidacy

Some at Bloomberg L.P. are convinced they were made part of the boss's "rebranding."

Bloomberg's advisers bristle at that interpretation. The company's expanding good works, and new focus on city news, were extensions of Bloomberg L.P.'s growth and prosperity in its hometown.

Maybe so. But the policy still had political value, spreading his name and goodwill.

Bloomberg exposed himself to his spreading network of advisers and local factotums. A secular Jew who had dutifully contributed to NY's many Jewish causes, he even visited Israel for the 1st time 2 months before declaring his candidacy. (He had, just 5 years earlier, quipped to a reporter for the "Jerusalem Report" that he saw no reason to go to Israel because "there's no good skiing there," boasting that he had said precisely the same directly to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's future prime minister, then the Likud leader.)

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p. 87-88 , Sep 28, 2010

Peace is fragile and democracy is fragile

Bloomberg's nasal sangfroid set just the right tone as the city learned that 4 men stood accused of wanting to bomb 2 synagogues in the Bronx. Bloomberg was calm & substantive as he told a tense city that though we live in intimidating times, everything was under control, the accused has no connection to foreign terrorists and NY was safe. "Sadly," he said, "peace is fragile and democracy is fragile and we have to be vigilant all the time." People felt reassured. A trustworthy adult was in charge.
Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p.222 , Sep 28, 2010

2008: I know foreign policy from negotiating deals worldwide

He had never articulated an Iraq policy, then the central issue in the campaign, and bristled when anyone questioned his foreign policy credentials: "I know more about foreign policy than any of the candidates. I've negotiated deals around the world, I've dealt with politicians in every one of these countries, we do business with their companies and with the governments."
Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p.167-168 , Sep 28, 2010

Maintains mayoral office for UN relations, run by his sister

The United Nations has been, and always will be important to New York City for the vital work that you do and I think important to this country and to the world. And its importance to New York is shown by the fact that the Mayor’s office maintains a “Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps, & Protocol,” whose commissioner is my sister, Marjorie Tiven.

Of course, being the Mayor of NYC--the world’s most international city--is a bit like presiding over the UN every single day of the year

Source: Speech to the United Nations on tropical hardwoods , Feb 11, 2008

Four trips abroad in first four months of 2007

Mayor Bloomberg’s trip to Mexico today, his fourth visit to a foreign country in as many months, is adding fuel to the speculation that he is attempting to shore up his international credentials and raise his national profile in preparation for a White House run.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg visited England, Ireland, and Israel, and he has shown up in the presidential swing states of Ohio and Florida. He made a high-profile visit to Los Angeles in September. Last week, he appeared in Jersey City flanked by mayors and police officers to announce an advertising blitz for his national campaign targeting illegal guns.

Officials said today’s trip was planned to allow Bloomberg to examine Mexico’s program that pays impoverished families for meeting certain health, education, and employment goals. Bloomberg has reached into his own pocket to help pay for a pilot program starting in N.Y. this fall that is modeled on one in Mexico.

Source: Grace Rauh, New York Sun , Apr 24, 2007

Egypt shakes down Israeli tourists at border crossings

My niece, Rachel, was arrested in Egypt. In 1996, Rachael went sightseeing across the Israeli border into Egypt. When she came out of the ladies' room at a bus stop, the police arrested her, claiming they had found a gun in the bathroom. The protocol of this standard shakedown was to "confess" instantly and pay a bribe on the spot. Rachel, being Rachel, refused. We had to get Bloomberg's Jerusalem reporter, our London bureau chief, the Cairo bureau of another news organization, and a family friend in the State Department to prod the United States embassy for help. Such scams happen all the time. After she was released, an American diplomat warned my sister, "Now don't tell anyone about this. It would hurt our relationship with Egypt." Of all the dumb things. Who on earth is our guy protecting? How will other parents know to warn their kids? Talk about misplaced priorities. That diplomat never learned my mother's lesson of taking care of "us" before "them."
Source: Bloomberg by Bloomberg, by Mike Bloomberg, p.205 , Aug 27, 2001

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Other big-city mayors on Foreign Policy: Mike Bloomberg on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 25, 2021