Background on the candidate’s statements, positions, and record on diplomacy, global development, and America’s role the world

On U.S. global leadership:

  • As mayor, U.S. Senator, and presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders has positioned himself as a proponent of an American foreign policy centered on alliances, diplomacy, and global development, stating “We need a foreign policy that focuses on core U.S. interests, clarifies our commitment to democratic values both at home and abroad, and privileges diplomacy and working collectively with allies to address shared security concerns.”

On diplomacy, global development, and national security:

  • Expressing skepticism of American military interventionism, Senator Sanders has said, “The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world. Nor, on the other hand, is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibilities… Our goal should be global engagement based on partnership, rather than dominance. This is better for our security, better for global stability, and better for facilitating the international cooperation necessary to meet shared challenges.”
  • He has highlighted the return on investment from global development, saying, “Development aid is not charity. It advances our national security. It is worth noting that the United States military is a stalwart supporter of non-defense development and diplomacy aid. Starving diplomacy and aid now will result in greater defense needs later on.”
  • He has also praised foreign assistance as a means to prevent armed conflict, saying “We must seriously reinvest in diplomacy and development aid… Addressing issues like civil and religious tension, corruption, and lack of opportunity before these conditions give rise to conflict can eliminate the need to address them militarily in the future.”
  • On the threat of climate change in the developing world, he has called it a “major international security issue when large numbers of people are migrating and fighting for land.”
  • In a bipartisan show of support for the International Affairs Budget, Senator Sanders joined with 41 other senators and signed onto the 2018 letter led by Senators Durbin and Young calling for robust funding for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
  • As Ranking Member on the Committee on the Budget, Senator Sanders has been a committed voice for robust resources for diplomacy and development. In the Senate, Sanders has voted against all amendments to cut foreign assistance including the 2017 amendment to slash the International Affairs Budget. He also voted for PEPFAR Reauthorization and the Biden-Lugar Amendment in 2008.
  • In the House, he co-sponsored numerous bills to fight global poverty and support development including the Hunger to Harvest bill — a multi-year commitment to fight hunger and poverty in Africa — and a bill implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement with a UN peacekeeping force.
  • Sanders has called on the U.S. to “create room for Africa to play a greater role in setting the global agenda” and that “our global institutions, like the IMF, World Bank and UN Security Council… must reflect the changing global demographics and add Africa to leadership roles.”

On global health:

  • Senator Sanders is a member of the Senate Working Group on Malaria, which seeks to “help raise awareness and support for efforts to combat the disease that claims more than one million lives each year.”
  • In the fight against HIV and AIDS, the Sanders campaign released a proposal in 2016 to “substantially expand PEPFAR funding to increase access to treatment worldwide and to end the global AIDS epidemic by 2030.”
  • Joining with other Members of Congress, he co-signed a bipartisan letter in 2013 calling on the United States to double the number of people around the world receiving treatment for HIV and AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

On global economic engagement:

  • Senator Sanders has been critical of international trade agreements that he believes benefit corporations at the expense of American workers noting that “Our job is to push for trade policies that don’t just benefit large multinational corporations and hurt working people throughout the world as they are written out of public view.”
  • In 2012 and 2015, he voted against the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization.

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