What is the Foreign Policy for All?

This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter

Cole.profile2It’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%.