Mike Bloomberg on War & Peace

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


Keep troops in places abroad where terrorists congregate

Q: Would you pull all combat troops out of the Middle East?

BLOOMBERG: No. You want to cut it back as much as you can, but I think, if we learned something from 9/11, people plan things overseas and execute them here. We have to be able to stop terrorism. And there's no guarantees that you're going to be able to do it, but we have to have some troops in places where terrorists congregate, and to not do so is just irresponsible. We shouldn't be fighting wars that we can't win. We should go to war only as a last resort. Nobody argues with that. But this is a dangerous world. And if we haven't learnt that after 9/11, I don't know what's going to teach us what to.

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

Iraq war was a mistake based on faulty intelligence

Bloomberg said he had no regrets over supporting the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. "I don't live in a regret world, and I didn't make the decision," the former New York mayor told The Times. "America wanted to go to war, but it turns out it was based on faulty intelligence, and it was a mistake," Bloomberg said. "But I think the people that made the mistake did it honestly, and it's a shame, because it's left us entangled, and it's left the Middle East in chaos through today."
Source: Los Angeles Times on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Jan 6, 2020

Supports Israel's military response to Gaza rocket attacks

Bloomberg is a strong supporter of Israel, where he visited often as mayor. In 2014, he defended Israel's right to respond militarily to rocket attacks from Gaza and flew his private jet to the country to show solidarity after US regulators temporarily barred commercial flights there.

He backs a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has denounced the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, as "an outrage.

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

Deep reservations that 2015 Iran nuclear deal wasn't enough

Bloomberg's views on the Middle East have focused on his ambivalence toward the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. He expressed "deep reservations" about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying that its restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program didn't go far enough and blaming the Obama administration for "smearing" the deal's critics.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Supported 2003 Iraq War, as response to 9/11

Bloomberg supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, framing it as a response to the 9/11 attacks. He later grew critical of the war, though he consistently opposed congressional attempts to put a timetable on the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

No attractive military option against North Korean nukes

Bloomberg's brief comments on North Korea have focused on the need for strong U.S. alliances, which he says Trump has weakened. He says that dealing with a "rogue state" such as North Korea requires close relationships with other countries in the region, and that Trump has undermined U.S. alliances. He says there is no "attractive" military option for responding to North Korea's nuclear program.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Israel justified in crossing into Gaza to defend itself

[On Israeli defense]: "Every country has a right to defend its borders from enemies, and Israel was entirely justified in crossing into Gaza to destroy the tunnels and rockets that threaten its sovereignty. I know what I would want my government to do if the U.S. was attacked by a rocket from above or via a tunnel from below; I think most Americans do, too. Israel has no stronger ally than the U.S." He said that Israel did not have to limit itself to a "proportional" response to Gaza attacks.
Source: MondoWeiss blog on 2019 Democratic primary , Jan 25, 2016

False arguments justify increase in military spending

The Pentagon received an extra $15 billion in the spending bill that will keep the government open through September. To put it in perspective, that's 1.5 percent of the pool of about $1 trillion that funds the Pentagon and the rest of the national defense. There won't be intelligent debate on any of these matters if the only subject of conversation in the Pentagon or Congress is a false "readiness" crisis and histrionic warnings about a "hollow force."
Source: OpEd by Michael Bloomberg in Bloomberg News , Jan 25, 2016

1960s: No burning passion to go war, but it was expected

During the 2004 campaign, the Daily News looked into Bloomberg's claim that he had tried to volunteer for military service in Vietnam.

In his memoir Bloomberg wrote that [during the 1960s] he was "trying to do the right things--serve my country-- while also trying to maintain a measure of control over my life." His campaign literature rang with the same patriotic theme. Years later, he sounded more practical than patriotic, like millions of others who tried to get through the Vietnam era in one piece, their reputations also intact.

"I don't know that anybody wanted to serve, that I wanted to serve," the mayor told me. "I thought I had to and I was gonna go do it. Did I have a burning passion to go to war like some of these young kids do? No. But it was just what you were gonna do."

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p.113-114 , Sep 28, 2010

Nobody wants war to continue, but what happens next?

Nobody wants the war in Iraq to continue, but how are you going to pull out, and what happens next? You’ve got to be able to say, 'If pulling out of Iraq causes this, this is what I would do.' 'If staying in Iraq causes that, this is what I would do.'
Source: Grace Rauh, New York Sun , May 8, 2007

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Other big-city mayors on War & Peace: 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