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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Election 2008: Security policy for Democrats

Bill Hartung had an informative piece on U.S. security policy in The Nation, November 19 issue. It gives credit to -- and points accusing fingers at -- Democratic candidates who stake out particularly good or bad policy positions.

For example, Hartung praises John Edwards for not proposing increases in U.S. troop strength, for his pro-nuclear disarmament position, and for endorsing the Unified Security Budget. As a member of the USB task force, Hartung has a broad view of security:
The most recent task force report calls for cutting $56 billion from the Pentagon budget by eliminating or scaling back spending on unnecessary programs like the F-22 combat aircraft, the Virginia class submarine, the V-22 Osprey, missile defense and nuclear weapons. The proposal then argues that $50 billion of these funds should be invested in peacekeeping, diplomacy, development of alternative energy sources, public health infrastructure and protection of chemical and nuclear plants.
Barack Obama receives praise for his devotion to protecting Soviet-era nuclear material (Nunn-Lugar) and for supporting nuclear disarmament proposals. Obama gets dinged for calling for 80,000 more members of the Marines and Army.

Hillary Clinton also gets dinged by name for supporting the troop increase and is otherwise not mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, I think she's largely to blame for this paragraph in the story:
major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have not adequately distinguished their views from the Bush doctrine. Each has endorsed one or more of the following actions: threatening a unilateral military strike in the territory of an allied country; keeping all options "on the table"--including, presumably, the use of nuclear weapons--in addressing Iran's nuclear program; increasing the Army and Marines by 80,000 or more troops and increasing the military budget.
Obama and Edwards, however, have also called for strikes against Pakistan -- though there are important differences in their positions. Edwards seems to be a genuine multilateralist.

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