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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at a campaign rally in Sioux City, Iowa. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at a campaign rally in Sioux City, Iowa, Jan. 26, 2020 (AP photo by John Locher).

Can Bernie Sanders’ Foreign Policy Vision Really Lay Claim to FDR’s Mantle?

Monday, Jan. 27, 2020

Bernie Sanders’ remarkable staying power in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries—including narrow leads in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and now a slight edge over former Vice President Joe Biden in a recent national poll—has unsettled the U.S. political establishment. His revived presidential campaign increases the possibility that Democrats will select, and Americans elect, a left-wing nominee who could upend America’s global role, but in a very different way than President Donald Trump.

In contrast to his 2016 presidential run, which treated foreign policy as an afterthought, the Vermont senator’s 2020 campaign has been actively challenging longstanding shibboleths of American exceptionalism and U.S. global leadership. As president, Sanders would like to slash U.S. defense spending and reduce the nation’s military footprint, rein in globalization to give it a human face, aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions, and reorient U.S. human rights policy from promoting ideals abroad to living up to them at home. Foreign policy elites are skeptical, but his positions resonate with broad swaths of the American electorate. ...

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