By Arlen Grossman
“Trump… Nikki Haley…Mike Pompeo… The people around John Bolton. These people are advocating for strengthening our economy, and if the only way they can do that is by building that economy based on building and selling weapons to countries that are using them to slaughter and murder innocent people, then we need new leaders in this country. The American people deserve better than that.” — Tulsi Gabbard
More and more I’m liking Tulsi Gabbard. She is a young, passionate candidate with progressive ideas. What makes Gabbard stand out among the other Democratic candidates is her willingness to strongly call out the military-industrial complex and its never-ending wars.
Gabbard is a 38-year-old four-term congresswoman from Hawaii. She was deployed in Iraq and Kuwait and currently serves as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. She is certainly not your typical presidential candidate. She was born in American Samoa and is a practicing Hindu.
Her military experience gives her some cred when she decries military intervention. She wants the U.S. to disengage from foreign wars and focus on peacemaking. For this reason, this makes her an outlier among other elected officials, Democrat or Republican. It makes her toxic to the mainstream ruling class and corporate media. And it guarantees she will never come close to becoming president.
Gabbard checks off on all the progressive policy positions. She supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, campaign finance reform, reforming Glass-Steagall to rein in the big banks, free college tuition, criminal justice reform, and most every other domestic progressive policy.
It is in the area of foreign policy that she most departs from the other candidates. Asked if there were any wars that justified the use of US military force, Gabbard cited World War II as her only example. She has said, “When it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk,” but “when it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I’m a dove.” Tulsi’s website states her belief that “the United States would be far better off spending the trillions of dollars wasted in interventionist wars on more pressing domestic issues in America, like infrastructure, college debt, healthcare, etc.”
Her views are really not radical at all. They are largely a refection of what the public believes. A J.Wallin Opinion Research survey last year revealed that 71 percent of Americans believed Congress should pass legislation that restrained military action. 86.4 percent believe the military should be used only as a last resort. And 63.9 percent of those polled felt that military aid, both money and weapons, should not be provided to regimes like Saudi Arabia—the West’s top ally in the Arab world.
Unfortunately, her positions on military policy guarantee she will not be considered a viable candidate for president. The powers that be are not in favor of anyone who is not strong on military issues. I don’t expect her to be a contender, but I wish she could be.
Tulsi Gabbard at CNN Debate