Opinion

TITUS: Bernie Sanders — The Strong Commander In Chief We Need?

REUTERS

Alex Titus Contributor

Bernie Sanders is riding high.

Once considered a pariah by both political parties, the socialist senator from Vermont now has a realistic shot at the 2020 Democratic nomination. Polls have shown he has a leg up on Vice President Joe Biden and Sanders gave an impressive performance to a roaring crowd during a recent town hall hosted by Fox News.

But that high may be coming to an end now that we have a window into what Commander in Chief Sanders would look like. A recent profile digging into Sanders’ foreign policy views illustrates a politician with little understanding of America’s role in the world or the challenges that we face as a nation. Sanders is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief and voters will soon recognize that.

It should come as no surprise that Sanders has radical views on foreign affairs. He has long maintained an independent streak dating back to his time as Mayor of Burlington. But a recent deep dive by the New Yorker shows just how fringe Sanders’ positions are on America’s role in global affairs.

In the profile, Sanders argues that America needs to “reconceptualize” the global order to be one “based on human solidarity.” This new global order would be recognized by combatting “income inequality” and “right-wing authoritarianism” because “you can’t separate the two.” In his view, this would bring about a more cohesive international community.

How would Sanders plan to tackle this monumental feat? He’s not exactly sure yet, but climate change is one way the international community can work together towards a more equitable outcome for all citizens. Summed up: America is not to be the world’s leader, but merely a promoter of economic equality for citizens of other nations.

If you don’t consider this looney enough, even more shocking are his views on America’s competitors. He labels Russian President Vladimir Putin as nothing more than an “obstacle” and China a “mixed bag.” He also argues that the U.S. needs to reposition closer to Iran and away from our traditional Arab allies.

They say history repeats itself, we’ve seen this sort of back seat leadership before and it doesn’t work. For example, appeasing Iran’s bad behavior is what got us into the Iranian Nuclear Deal, which shipped nearly $100 billion back to the Islamist regime. This newfound piggy bank empowered the regime to spend excessively on funding terror activities outside its borders.

Syria was thrown into further chaos. Iranian funds helped ignite a horrible civil war in Yemen. And the Kingdom of Bahrain remains under siege from Tehran-backed rebels. Sanders claims to want America to stop embroiling itself in endless conflicts in the Middle East, yet his policies would lead to just that.

Iran is a bad actor; it’s that simple. Sanctioning the regime while voicing support for the Iranian people is the best way to do away with its maligned behavior. That isn’t going to happen by getting them on board with some dubious climate change agreement.

Russia and China both fall into that category too.

Sanders’ description of China as a “mixed bag” is both short-sighted and naïve. More than one million Uyghur Muslims are locked up in forced labor camps in China’s Xinjiang province. These political prisoners are forced to work for little to no wages and have been hauled out to sing if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands for reporters who were granted access.

Not to mention that China has aggressively expanded both its economic and military posture recently. Through the One Belt One Road Initiative, Beijing seeks to bring other nations into its umbrella through economic coercion and bad loans. China has also built enormous man-made islands in the South China Sea with radar capabilities and fortifications in once empty international waters.

Russia has also followed suit.

Putin has continued to embark on an ambitious campaign to push through the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline which would further Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow. Europe buying more Russian gas would significantly increase Putin’s political flexibility and sway amongst key U.S. allies like Germany. Moreover, Russia still continues to fund and arm a bloody rebellion in Ukraine which has claimed countless lives.

With these pressing challenges in mind, it is clear that we need a strong commander in chief who recognizes that peace is only achieved through strength. Promoting international climate agreements and international income equality isn’t going to do the trick. America needs a strong leader, and it’s clear Sanders doesn’t pass that bar.

Alex Titus (@ATitus7) is a Public Interest Fellow in Washington, D.C. The Public Interest Fellowship provides exceptional men and women with professional opportunities in the tradition of freedom.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.