From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject New Survey Shows Americans Want a More Progressive Foreign Policy and, Yes, That Includes Israel
Date October 22, 2019 12:00 AM
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[“Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on
wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and
beyond to show for it,” points out Koshgarian. ]
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NEW SURVEY SHOWS AMERICANS WANT A MORE PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN POLICY
AND, YES, THAT INCLUDES ISRAEL  
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Michael Arria
October 18, 2019
Mondoweiss
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_ “Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on
wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and
beyond to show for it,” points out Koshgarian. _

Palestinians in the Shejaiya neighborhood wave a white flag as they
flee to safety, on July 20, 2014., Ashraf Amra/APA Images

 

During the recent Democratic debate in Ohio, Congresswoman Tulsi
Gabbard asked Senator Elizabeth Warren if she would join her in
calling for an end to “the regime change war in Syria.”

“So, look, I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East,”
Warren responded.
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“I don’t think we should have troops in the Middle East. But we
have to do it the right way, the smart way.”

Warren’s answer was enough to rankle Democratic frontrunner Joe
Biden. “I was surprised last night in the debate,” he told
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a crowd in Iowa the next day. “One of my colleagues said we should
remove all troops from the Middle East.”

A new repor
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released by the progressive think tank Data for Progress shows that
Warren’s sentiment is more in line with voters than Biden’s is.
The group polled over 1,000 people on issues of foreign policy. “We
found that voters’ attitudes stand in stark contrast to the
hesitation demonstrated by elected leaders to enact major shifts in
national-security policy,” it concludes, “Many progressive
proposals have bipartisan support, and some have particular resonance
among Democratic voters.”

Here are some of the report’s major findings:

• 50% of voters support a repeal of the Muslim Ban (74% of
Democratic voters)

• 52% support closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay (74% of
Democratic voters)

•  67% want a negotiated peace agreement with North Korea (63% of
Democrats, 76% of Republicans, and 64% of independents)

What about military aid to Israel, the supposed third rail of politics
that neither party can effectively challenge? 46% support conditioning
aid to Israel in an effort to stop its inhumane treatment of
Palestinians. That includes 65% of Democratic voters.

The Israel statistics fall in line with another report
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Data for Progress put out last month that generated similar numbers
over the topic of leveraging military aid to the country. “These
results suggest that Democratic voters are not holding Israel to a
different standard than they would hold any other recipient of US
military aid dollars,” Emma Saltzberg, a Data Progress fellow who is
also a co-founder of the Jewish, anti-occupation group IfNotNow, wrote
in announcing those findings. “They also suggest that Democratic
politicians who float the possibility of changes to the US–Israel
aid relationship do so with the support of their party’s voters.”

Data for Progress isn’t the only group that put out a foreign policy
report this week. The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) released
research detailing how Medicare for All could be funded by slashing
the United States military budget. Medicare for All was also a hot
topic during the debate as Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders were both
criticized by the other candidates for endorsing such a plan despite
its costs.

Addressing the findings in a _New York Times_ op-ed
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IPS’ National Priorities Project director Lindsay Koshgarian writes
that the necessary money for Medicare for All could be freed up via
moves like a nuclear weapon ban, the end of military partnerships with
private contractors, and production cuts for the F-35. “Over 18
years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only
more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for
it,” points out Koshgarian. “That’s nearly the $300 billion per
year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for
All (though estimates vary). While we can’t un-spend that $4.9
trillion, imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20
years.”

There’s certainly indications that such a plan might be more popular
among voters than most lawmakers might think.

_Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss. _

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