Democratic presidential candidates have criticized President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, condemning his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Russia and the international convention to combat climate change, as well as continuing abroad military campaigns that they deem unnecessary.
Participants in the first round of debates in Detroit also promised not to use nuclear weapons first and to try to strengthen America’s image on the international stage.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar expressed displeasure that Trump was behaving like a “single person” in dealing with the rest of the world.
“He took us out of the climate agreement, from the nuclear agreement with Iran, from the nuclear agreement with Russia, and I don’t agree with that,” she said.
“And when he was speaking with Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit and he was asked about meddling in our democracy, he translated it all into a joke,” Klobuchar continued. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died on the battlefield defending our democracy and our right to vote.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to strengthen U.S. credibility at the United Nations if elected and focus on diplomatic rather than military methods.
During the debate, Sanders was asked how his rejection of the U.S. military presence around the world differs from Trump’s reluctance to be a “world cop.”
Sanders responded by calling Trump a “pathological liar.”
“We have been present in Afghanistan for, it seems, for 18 years. In Iraq, 16 or 17 years. We spent $5 trillion on the war on terror,” Sanders recalled. “There are probably more terrorists in the world now than there were before it started… We need a foreign policy focused on diplomacy and ending conflicts through dialogue, not murder.”
Former Colorado Governor John Hikenlooper, who opposed the increase in trade duties against China, expressed similar views on diplomacy.
“Ask any economist: there is no example in history where there would be a winner in a trade war,” he said. “Trade wars are for losers.”
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttidzic, has vowed to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the first year of his presidency. Buttidzic himself once served in Afghanistan.
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke spoke in the same vein, pledging to withdraw troops from Afghanistan during his first term in office.
“We have already achieved the goals that initially prompted us to enter the conflict in Afghanistan,” he said. “It’s time to bring home troops from Afghanistan, as well as from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has vowed to refrain from pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons if elected.
“Our primary duty is to ensure our own safety,” she said. “And under Donald Trump, what’s happening is that they continue to expand our capabilities in terms of nuclear weapons and their use, putting us at risk.”