Bernie Sanders on Russia
Historically, Russia has been, and will continue to be, a significant player in the international economic and diplomatic sphere. Bernie Sanders supports a strong, consistent stance with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Bernie supports enforcing economic sanctions and international pressure as an alternative to any direct military confrontation when dealing with Russia.
Economic and Diplomatic Pressure
Bernie believes the United States should isolate Putin politically and economically. In March 2014, Bernie commended President Obama on sanctions levied against Russian leaders after voters in the Crimea region supported a Russian-backed referendum to secede from Ukraine. At the time, Bernie said:
“The entire world has got to stand up to Putin. We’ve got to deal with sanctions. There are a number of things that you could do. But this is what you don’t do: You don’t go to war. You don’t sacrifice lives of young people in this country as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
What else has Bernie said about the use of military force against Russia?
For Bernie, the situation with Russia is a complex one, “as is often the case with foreign policy.” In an interview with Ed Schultz, he stated that Republicans are blind to any solution to geo-political problems other than the use of military force, adding that the United States has to be tough with Russia, but there is no reason, as of yet, to resort to war. Bernie summarized his position by stating:
“I would prefer to deal with a complicated issue in a measured way: serious international discussions about how we proceed, but force, force should be the last option we use.”
Instead of rushing in and making the same mistakes we’ve made in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bernie recommends making informed decisions and working with ally nations to isolate Russia economically and politically. He believes that only after all peaceful and diplomatic efforts have been exhausted should we consider war.
What does Bernie think about President Obama’s response to Russian aggression?
Work with the International Community
Bernie believes that in order to stand strong against Russian aggression, we must cooperate with our international allies. We must have the support of the United Nations and the European Union when it comes to our adversaries, especially with Russia. Bernie also believes that by cooperating with ally nations, we reduce military spending and casualties.
What has Bernie said supporting this position?
Bernie believes the exorbitant costs associated with military intervention would be better applied to improving the living conditions in the United States. Bernie explained his support in a FOX News interview:
“Well, the issue, again, is, right now, the United States alone spends almost as much money… on defense as the rest of the world… We don’t have enough money to take care of our veterans. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Kids can’t afford to go to college. So, what we have got to do is work with the entire global economy and all the countries around the world.”
But why should we reduce our military presence abroad?
Compared with the rest of the world, the United States maintains the largest number of military bases in foreign countries and has significantly increased the number of soldiers posted internationally.
But as he told FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, Bernie isn’t afraid to resort to military force if absolutely necessary, though it is far preferable to do so with the support of the international community: “What we have learned is that we don’t repeat what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States virtually did it alone.”