Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been a pleasant surprise for advocates of a restrained foreign policy. Her deployments to Iraq and Kuwait as a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard give her a unique perspective on the issue of war. She believes that her message of bringing “principles of service above self to the White House” is what attracts people to her.
If she were president, Gabbard would end the “counterproductive regime change wars” and focus more on domestic policy. She even declared in an interview with Boston’s WBUR radio that “the United States needs to stop acting as the world’s police [and] needs to stop waging these costly regime change wars because it does not serve the objectives in the interests of the American people, first of all.”
Gabbard acknowledges that these wars cause more death and destruction, along with an influx of refugees who wind up on American and European shores as a result of the destabilization. On top of that, terrorist actors like ISIS and Al-Qaeda only become stronger under these chaotic circumstances which allow them to fill the power vacuum left over from government intervention.
America has already spent over $1 trillion on both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Getting involved in further entanglements will only exacerbate America’s imperial overreach and put the country on a fiscal death spiral. At the end of the day, Gabbard is a foreign policy realist. She at least acknowledges that leaders like Bashar al-Assad in Syria are dictators. Nonetheless, the U.S. has not prevented itself from opening up diplomatic ties with dictators like Nikkita Khrushchev and Mao Zedong in the past.
Although Gabbard’s views on economic matters are suspect — she supports Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage — she brings a fresh perspective on foreign policy that is frankly lacking in the Democratic Party. Apart from being completely mired in identity politics, the majority of Democratic Party presidential candidates also support D.C.’s well-established tradition of launching global crusades under the guise of “democracy”. Gabbard’s campaign actually challenges the military industrial complex by rejecting the narrative of never-ending wars that has become firmly ensconced in D.C. politics.
While there are obvious points of disagreement for anyone who believes in limited government, Gabbard’s campaign offers a fresh perspective in the stale field of 2020 Democratic candidates.