Appearing on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ Sanders praised Obama’s expansive military policy while condemning Clinton for her support of foreign wars.
WASHINGTON — On Sunday, Bernie Sanders endorsed President Barack Obama’s violent, expansive foreign policy in an effort to distance himself from accusations of inexperience in matters of war.
At the beginning of an interview on CBS’ “Face The Nation” between John Dickerson and the Vermont senator, Dickerson noted:
“Senator, while you were in New York, North Koreans launched a long range missile. As President, you’d face that kind of thing all the time, very often. And what Secretary Clinton is saying is that you don’t have the experience to be ready for those kinds of challenges on day one.”
“Well, that’s what she said about Barack Obama in 2008, and it turned out not to be true. I am impressed by the quality of his foreign policy.”
Sanders also emphasized his vote against the Iraq War, which he said was “most important foreign policy issue in modern history.”
Under Obama, the U.S. military has expanded its presence throughout the globe, with bases or military advisors found in over 100 countries. Africa, in particular, has been transformed into what military scholar and journalist Nick Turse called a “laboratory for a new kind of war.”
While he claims to be against income inequality and wasteful spending, the U.S. spends $3.1 billion annually on aid to Israel, despite the occupation of Palestine, and Sen. Sanders has supported this deadly conflict with his votes.
In another echo of Obama’s foreign policy, Sanders made it clear during the interview that he won’t seek to end the wars in the Middle East, but rather would shift more of the burden of fighting them to foreign forces.
“We’ve got to learn the lessons of Iraq,” Sanders told Dickerson, “and that is that the United States of America cannot do it alone. We have to work in coalition with major countries and with Muslim countries whose troops will be on the ground.”
He added: “My main concern, in terms of the Middle East, is the United States does not get involved in perpetual warfare.”
However, Obama’s military aid to the Middle East has supported a number of deadly conflicts that show no signs of ending, and may even contribute to the rise of extremism. Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s closest Middle Eastern allies and a buyer of billions of dollars worth of U.S. arms annually, is embroiled in a deadly conflict in Yemen that’s killed over 6,000 people, including more than 2,800 civilians.
The Obama administration aided local forces in the destabilization Libya, leading to the rise of extremism in that country. Last month, the Pentagon began laying the groundwork for new military actions in Libya, in order to quell the rise of Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the group commonly known in the West as ISIS or ISIL), which has flooded into the power vacuum left after the overthrow of the Gadhafi government.
And in Syria, U.S. aid has gone to so-called “moderate” rebels that were often allies of Daesh or al-Qaida. These rebel allies helped destabilize the nation, leading to one of the worst refugee crises the world has ever seen.
Sanders’ remarks reflect his consistent and familiar approach to foreign wars. Shadowproof’s Dan Wright, in a recent analysis of Sanders’ proposed foreign policy, noted:
“If it sounds like another term of Obama’s foreign policy, at least rhetorically, that’s because it is. Minus the inclusions of fair trade … it is nearly identical to the principles espoused by President Obama.”
Watch “John Dickerson Interviews Bernie Sanders” from “Face the Nation”: