Don’t Let Democrats Become the Party of WarRoundup
tags: foreign policy, political history, Democrats, Trump
This month, the president of the United States will meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Either the path toward peace for 75 million Koreans will advance, or it will reverse into recriminations and nuclear threats. In the coming months, too, the president may act on his desire to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from ill-conceived, open-ended missions in Syria and Afghanistan—or he will continue to keep them in harm’s way, with no strategy for victory in sight.
If the president taking these actions were not Trump, many of his domestic detractors would likely welcome progress toward diplomacy and peace. Yet over the past six months, politicians and experts have repeatedly done the opposite: They have urged this most impulsive and unprincipled of presidents to undertake more international conflict, not less. In the few instances in which Trump has sought to de-escalate violence, he has drawn howls from the national security establishment, including Democratic Party leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, dubbed the Syria pullout a “Christmas present to Vladimir Putin.” Now a majority of Senate Democrats have voted to oppose a “precipitous withdrawal” from Syria and Afghanistan.
The gambit to out-hawk Trump is a dangerous one. It may have already influenced the administration to slow its departure from Syria and withhold peace-building measures from North Korea. And it threatens to turn the Democratic Party into a party of war. As progressives seek to develop a new foreign policy, they should reject the party’s drift toward belligerence and rescue diplomacy from Trump and the Democratic establishment alike.
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