This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter
It’s time for a change.
U.S. foreign policy is mired in an unsustainable paradigm of worldwide military dominance, with force as an option of first resort. Washington seeks to act as the world’s policeman – but as the world did not choose the U.S. as its policeman, this strategy causes insecurity and resentment towards the United States. A more restrained foreign policy would be more effective, more democratic and would cost less.
To turn around US foreign policy we need a far broader movement. The traditional peace movement cannot do it alone. In fact, foreign policy is everyone’s problem, and the issues go far beyond simple questions of war and peace.
The Foreign Policy for All is based on five basic values.
- Democracy: We don’t want a foreign policy made by elites
- Peace & International Cooperation: we need to respect other nations and build collective security
- Justice: overturn unjust power structures and respect international law
- Human Rights: uphold the full range of human rights and apply them to our own society as well as worldwide
- Sustainability: live in harmony with the earth, promote climate justice, build a sustainable economy
The policies of the Foreign Policy for All include:
Nuclear Disarmament: Immediately start multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention
Climate Justice: Urgent national effort to stop climate change; support green economic development worldwide
Strengthen international law and international organizations: Reform UN, sign on to international courts, ratify treaties
Five principles: Sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference, equality and mutual benefit, peaceful coexistence
Non-intervention: Renounce pre-emption; humanitarian interventions must be led by a reformed UN
Peacebuilding Abroad and at Home: Support international grassroots efforts
Protect the global commons: Protect and demilitarize oceans, atmosphere, outer space, polar zones
Demilitarization: Reduce military spending by 50% or more; close overseas bases; refocus mission of military on defense of national territory and participation in UN missions
Arms Trade: Ratify Arms Trade Treaty and shut down the international arms trade
Development: Contribute generously to world green economic
and social development
Just Transition: Companies, not workers now employed in the military and fossil fuel sectors, must pay for transition
Trade Justice: Base trade policy on cooperation, solidarity, sustainable development, democratic scrutiny
Priority Regional Issues: New approaches to China, Korea, Middle East and Persian Gulf, Israel/Palestine, Africa, Cuba, Venezuela, Marshall Islands, NATO and more.
To implement the Foreign Policy for All we will have to confront corporate control.
The other big obstacle is the national security state. The Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NSA, and Congressional leadership, etc., make policy in secret and are barely accountable to the democratic institutions that supposedly control our government.
The Foreign Policy for All is only one part of a people’s agenda that is bringing together labor, people of color, immigrants, women, LGBT people, ex-prisoners, environmentalists, community activists, civil libertarians, and more in a broad progressive coalition. All these movements are ultimately struggling against the same corporate interests that control our economy and politics for the benefit of the 1%.