Opinion: Response to “Any blue will do — except Tulsi Gabbard”

Tulsi Gabbard CREATIVE COMMONS
Student Dylan Rosenthal makes his case.

U.S. Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is without doubt a controversial figure in American politics, even among her own party.

Given her atypical foreign-policy views and other actions, such as resigning as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) for president in 2016, she has ruffled the feathers of many.

That said, last week’s op-ed, titled “Any blue will do — except Tulsi Gabbard,” is flawed, primarily because it claimed that any of the other Democratic candidates would be a solid candidate.

First of all, Gabbard is a veteran who served two different deployments in Iraq and Kuwait; she has seen war up close, from a perspective neither Martin nor I nor the vast majority of people have seen.

She was a medical-unit specialist in a combat zone, where she witnessed the true cost of war up close and watched her brothers and sisters in uniform lose their lives. Her judgement on foreign policy is more valuable than ours — and most politicians as well, as most are former lawyers and not actual foreign-policy experts.

Gabbard has, in fact, called for pulling our troops out of Afghanistan.

“We achieved our original goal of entering Afghanistan,” Gabbard said in 2011. “We’ve killed Bin Laden, decimated al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and given the Afghan people the opportunity to have a democratic country if they choose. It is now time for the Afghan people to take responsibility for their own country.”

Gabbard believes that intervening in foreign affairs that do not pose a direct threat to the U.S. is dangerous. She has routinely argued that when the U.S. intervention in a sovereign state or attempts regime-change is counterproductive, and creates more issues than simply not intervening at all.

She is not saying we have to turn our backs on humanitarian crises, but rather that we should provide aid for the people in the middle of these conflicts, and help them decide their nation’s or government’s own fate.

The op-ed also pointed out that Gabbard “felt it appropriate to meet with Bashar al-Assad after the dictator had gassed his own people” during her time in office. That is true. It is also completely consistent with Gabbard’s approach to foreign policy: avoiding more military conflict at any cost necessary.

Yes, Assad is a brutal dictator, and Gabbard has acknowledged that herself; all it takes is a simple Google search to see her statements condemning his actions. But it is important to ask whether we should be endlessly intervening in conflicts that do not directly threaten the U.S., or if we should be trying to use diplomacy at any cost to prevent more civilian and American deaths.

In interviews, Gabbard has said that Assad is not an enemy of the U.S. She expanded on this point by stating that Assad, again, is a brutal dictator and has committed horrific crimes, however she defines an “enemy” as someone or something that poses a direct threat to the United States.

Gabbard has dubbed herself a “hawk” on terrorism and a “dove” on intervention. Is this really that radical of an idea? I was born in 1999, and the U.S. has been involved in conflicts on the other side of the world for almost my entire life. Most Americans at this time likely cannot even name the numerous countries the U.S. currently has our military fighting or aiding in. This is not normal.

The Constitution does not say a single thing about us policing the rest of the world; this is simply a concept that gained support over time in the past century, and it has resulted in more deaths of Americans and innocent civilians.

Where do we draw the line? Do we have to become involved in every single military conflict throughout the world in order to promote “American values”? Do we have to live through constant U.S.-military intervention to satisfy our “interests”? How many more American soldiers do we need to lose before we decide enough is enough with our intervention-based foreign policy?

Many Americans are increasingly understanding the consequences of war and learning that our foreign policy has been far from perfect. Gabbard’s hesitation to call for military intervention is refreshing, and it would definitely be beneficial to have a soldier crafting our foreign policy — someone who wants war to be a last resort, not a hobby.

Dylan Rosenthal is a sophomore at the university studying political science and public policy. He can be reached at dylanjay@udel.edu.

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COMMENTS

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  • comment-avatar
    Pash 2 months

    100%

  • comment-avatar
    Mike Ehling 2 months

    I was born a few years before you — in 1951 — so I remember some other stuff like Vietnam as well as, in the 1980s, the refugee crises our intervention caused in El Salvador and elsewhere in the region. I was a lifelong Republican until I switched parties in 2002, well before the Iraq invasion, when I saw that a bunch of nitwits were about to get this country into a civil war between Sunnis and Shi’ites, which would be a whole lot worse than the mess we got into in Vietnam.

    Everywhere we meddle we make more trouble for ourselves and for everyone else. Put ourselves in the other guy’s shoes and ask … How would we have felt if England had recognized the Confederacy and sent an army in from Canada in a “humanitarian” intervention to end all that terrible bloodshed of our Civil War? (Humanitarian? Hmmpf. More the case that British textile mills needed that Southern cotton, the “oil” of the mid-19th century.)

    The refugee problems we are confronting today stem in substantial part from the chaos we create when we intervene in other peoples’ countries. Just wait for our troops to go into Venezuela!

    But I say a “substantial” part of the problem is interventionism. The immediate cause of the current refugee crisis on our southern borders is the chaos that our “War” on Drugs has created in countries like Honduras. Criminalize the junk and you’re going to have violence and crime, on our own streets but even more severely in the countries producing the junk. The drug problem has to be addressed medically, not criminally, which is something Tulsi emphasizes equally with miltary non-interventionism.

    Democrats and Republicans alike have become two branches of the War Party, aside from Tulsi and her Republican cohort the late Walter Jones (R-NC) along with a few others. If we want to see Tulsi in the DNC debates starting in June, we’re going to have to satisfy the DNC requirement that she raise donations from at least 65,000 unique individual donors. Sunday afternoon, in a Zoom conference call to her volunteers nationally, Tulsi gave us the current figures. She’s still short of 65,000 but we’re going to make it if folks like you go to https://www.tulsi2020.com and make just a very small online donation through ActBlue, which will monitor the count. What matters is the number of contributors, not the amount of money raised. Whether you plan on voting for Tulsi or for someone else, please help get her into the debates, where her positions on regime-change and militarism won’t otherwise be addressed.

    • comment-avatar
      David 2 months

      Well stated Thank you

    • comment-avatar
      Kathy 4 weeks

      I am 100% behind Tulsi Gabbard. She is the blue who WILL DO. She is the one candidate who has the courage to stand up for what is right and honorable. I guess I’m Tulsi or Bust.

  • comment-avatar
    Terri Nopp 2 months

    Thank you for researching Gabbard and formulating an original opinion. Refreshing to say the least. Keep up the good work!

    And remember, when somebody starts to dictate what you write, quit. That’s the problem with most of today’s “journalists” … they’re fed speaking points and given “facts” and told yo write a certain way and they do it!

    Been in PR for 30 years and have seen the destruction of watchdog journalism as puppet lackey writers who will do anything they’re told by their corporate masters.

    Richard Martin who wrote the original article is one such “journalist” who hasn’t had an original thought in his past two dozen articles, but is obviously paid well for the spew he regurgitates.

    Keep up the great work. We need more investigative journalists and those who are able to think outside speaking points.

  • comment-avatar
    Alan Vervaeke 2 months

    If anyone makes an issue of Assad, just remind them how Trump has met 2 times with a brutal dictator from North Korea who had men killed by firing an anti-aircraft gun at them. She will bring our troops home, and work on our failing infrastructure. She will stop the ill-advised war on drugs and work to make our healthcare better. It is long past time we stopped giving all the attention to old white men (and women) and start looking towards a younger generation to lead this country.

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    Jon Fournier 2 months

    Will it finally be enough when it’s your chield or a neighbors child layed out with a flag drapted over them at Dover Air Force base. Our people are dying and the locals suffer as well.
    Why can;t people see that the only ones benifit arebthe defence contracters and ther paid off politicians. Tulsi Gabdard has seen the blood up close and tht is why she will be a great choice for POTUS!

  • comment-avatar
    Bruce Wayne 2 months

    Great work! Once again, a student doing actual research beats a so-called “journalist” copy-pasting from CNN!

  • comment-avatar
    Clark Kent 2 months

    Great article! Regardless of your opinion on Tulsi, the article this responds to was sexist.

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