ACTION ALERT: Let’s Have a Foreign Policy Based on Diplomacy Not War
Jon Rainwater / Peace Action
(July 1, 2020) — For decades, US foreign policy has been overly focused on confrontation with perceived adversaries and the global projection of US military power. Doing so has militarized our response to global challenges, distorted our national security spending priorities, toxified our political discourse, and left us woefully ill-prepared to confront the growing transnational threats to human security we face today that do not have military solutions.
We are demanding a fundamental shift in US foreign policy.
The coronavirus has changed everything, and our foreign policy priorities must change to reflect the fundamentally new world that we are living in. As the coronavirus pandemic reveals, our country and many others are woefully unprepared for the crisis that we now face. Without extraordinarily bold leadership, this is likely to be the beginning of a period of profound instability for the entire planet, given the intensifying climate crisis that is also now underway.
The US currently has more than 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories. According to one study, the wars we have engaged in the Middle East and Asia have cost $6.4 trillion since 2001.
It is time to end our endless wars and adopt a new approach to international relations, one in which the US abides by international law, encourages others to do the same, and utilizes our military solely for the defense of the people of our country.
This progressive shift of foreign policy principles includes: returning war powers to Congress; reducing the Pentagon budget; engaging with Iran and North Korea; rejecting discriminatory immigration policies and supporting refugees; and ending support for governments that violate human rights, among others.
This Is a Movement Moment for Peace
In the last couple of weeks, peace leaders and pro-peace ideas have been moving forward. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Barbara Lee are actively pushing hard for the bold Pentagon cuts Paul and I have been writing to you about recently.
Last week in New York’s 16th congressional district primary, rising progressive star Jamaal Bowman unseated incumbent Eliot Engel, the hawkish chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who supported the Iraq war and opposed the Iran deal. Now there is a chance to have that powerful committee on foreign policy chaired by a pro-peace leader. There is no excuse for the committee overseeing US diplomacy to be helmed by an anti-peace politician.
For decades, US foreign policy has been overly focused on confrontation with perceived adversaries and the global projection of US military power. Doing so has militarized our response to global challenges, distorted our national security spending priorities, toxified our political discourse, and left us woefully ill-prepared to confront the growing transnational threats to human security we face today that do not have military solutions.
Over 83,000 people have already added their names. Can you help push it over 100,000 signatures?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news last week. The House released the Pentagon “defense” bill with a staggering $732 billion dollar price tag. That’s 38% of global military spending — more than the next 10 countries combined — most of which are our allies!
Misplaced priorities like this are a big part of what led to the US failure in the COVID-19 crisis. We have wasted trillions of dollars on the endless war on terror that has made us less safe, while real human security needs are starved of funds.
What Really Keeps Us Safe?
Bombs and warfare? Or healthcare, diplomacy, and environmental protection?
The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading like wildfire throughout the South and West. Speaking of wildfire, wildfire season is starting and so too is hurricane season. Racial violence and militarized policing continue to take far too many Black lives. The US healthcare system is failing to care for all our people. These are the real-life and death matters we face together.
We need to divest from false protection and invest in what truly keeps us safe. Healthcare. Preventing and addressing disease and natural disasters. Education. Community investments. Combating climate change.
A better, saner world is possible. Many in Congress are failing to hear the wake-up call of the COVID-19 crisis while they continue to feed the insatiable beast that is the Military-Industrial Complex.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Beyond the Bomb
Environmentalists Against War
The Feminist Foreign Policy Project
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
Just Foreign Policy
Justice is Global, People’s Action
National Iranian American Council
The Other 98%
Women’s Action for New Direction (WAND)
World BEYOND War
Jon Rainwater is the Executive Director of Peace Action
PO Box 8637, Silver Spring, MD 20907, United States