With over 20 Democratic party candidates vying for the US presidential election in 2020, there appears to be an abundance of choice from a glance at the mere number of contenders. But the superficial optics are far from “2020 vision”.
Unfortunately, lamentably, on crucial foreign policy concerning militarism, war and peace, and on relations towards Russia and China, there seems little difference between the crowded field. The single notable exception, so far at least, is the Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Gabbard, a veteran soldier who served in Iraq, has trenchantly criticized America’s overseas militarism and covert wars for regime change. She has also clearly called for an end to Cold War-style hostility towards Russia, and for better bilateral relations.
In some ways, Gabbard is an echo of Donald Trump when he was running for the 2016 presidency as the Republican candidate. Trump back then condemned US foreign wars and proffered developing normal relations with Russia. Since then, however, Trump has failed miserably to end Washington’s militarism. Indeed he has emerged as an even bigger militarist than previous presidents, boosting the Pentagon’s already gargantuan budget, and embarking on a policy of reckless aggression towards Iran.
In regard to Russia, Trump has expressed wanting friendly relations with Moscow. Nevertheless, he has not scaled back on NATO’s provocative build-up along Russia’s borders; his administration continues to sanction Moscow over spurious claims, including on the matter of gas energy trade with Europe; and, to cap it all, this week the US has officially ended its adherence to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear (INF) Treaty. The US termination of the INF raises the specter of a new arms race with Russia and gravely undermines global peace and security. It was President Trump who personally pushed ending the INF by citing baseless claims of Russia violating the treaty.
In short, Trump is no friend of Russia and his past electoral promises of challenging the US status quo on malign foreign policy have turned out to be pathetic empty rhetoric.
It remains to be seen whether Tulsi Gabbard advances to the nomination as Democrat candidate for the presidency. And whether she retains her commitment to fundamentally change US foreign policy on matters of militarism, war and peace and in particular on creating a real reset in relations with Russia.
As both of our columnists cited above have appraised, the US mainstream corporate-controlled media and Washington political establishment have embarked on a systematic and scurrilous campaign to smear Gabbard as “soft on Russia” and a “Kremlin stooge”. The same smear campaign, of course, has been a non-stop effort to politically eviscerate Trump since he entered the White House more than two years ago. He appears to have conformed to the pressure by self-censoring and suppressing his erstwhile promise to restore relations with Russia.
That brings us back to the other 20 or so Democrat candidates. Virtually all of them conform to the giant media hoax (“psyops”) known as “Russiagate” which bombarded the US public with specious allegations of Russian “interference in American democracy”.
Democrat front-runners Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are proponents of this nonsense. So too are supposed “radical left” candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. A handy compilation of all the candidates’ stated views on Russia as “an enemy” and their denigration of President Vladimir Putin as a “dictator” illustrate the execrable poverty of independent, intelligent thinking among America’s political class. These “opponents” are supposed to be offering American voters a change from Trump. Admittedly, Trump has scoffed at the whole Russiagate claims as “fake news” – and he is right to do that. But what has Trump actually done to pursue normal relations with Moscow? Very little.
All the Democrat candidates – with the honorable exception of Gabbard – are on record for harboring, to varying degrees, Cold War-style ideology of depicting Russia as an enemy or adversary. They have used this baleful and offensive view of Russia as a way to attack Trump. Instead of challenging Trump on his dubious economic policies favoring the wealthy and big corporations, the Democrats have used a futile and destructive tactic of trying to paint Trump has a “Kremlin agent”. Such thinking has only consolidated ever-more hostile US relations with Russia, which has culminated this week in the deplorable collapse of the INF Treaty.
As well as supporting the status quo of obscene US military spending and militarism generally, the so-called political opposition to Trump demonstrate with crystal clarity that there is only one party in the US – the War Party.
Republicans and Democrats are in reality two sides of the same coin that promotes oligarchy and imperialistic wars. That conformity of thinking even among so-called “radical left” candidates is a repugnant reflection on the degraded state of US politics and democracy.