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Confused by All the Presidential Candidates?

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A skydiver glides down with the American Flag in the game at Nippert Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
A skydiver glides down with the American Flag in the game at Nippert Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Confused by all the presidential candidates? Here’s where you can find information about each candidates’ national security and foreign policy ideas:

President Donald Trump, the all-but-certain Republican nominee, has a section of his website about his administration’s national security and defense policies. It can be found here.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, can obviously be judged by his time in the Obama Administration. You can read about his platform here, but there is not a section about foreign policy or national security aside from mentioning the need to “secure the border.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan for foreign policy, centered around the objective of combating the “forces of militarism” that keep the U.S. in “unending wars,” can be looked at here.

California Senator Kamala Harris’ vision is to “restore American leadership” globally and reject isolationism, while ending U.S. military involvement in the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Her foreign policy can be reviewed here.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren says she has a “foreign policy for all” that can be read about here. Her anti-corruption platform also includes banning foreign governments from hiring Washington lobbyists.

She has not said whether this ban would also include foreign organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. It is likely not the case, since at least 10 of the Democratic presidential candidates have lent their support to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood entity.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana served in the war in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer for the Navy. You can read about his security policies here. Unlike most other candidates, he specifically refers to fighting “Islamist-inspired violent extremism.”

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker offers a particularly vague national security strategy that can be read here.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has a foreign policy that is focused primarily on Central America, climate change and nuclear disarmament. The summary can be found here.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has a very short summary of her foreign policy vision here.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has a list of over 100 policy proposals, including requiring the vice president to approve any use of nuclear weapons in addition to the commander-in-chief and modernizing military spending by shifting funds to combat “loose nuclear material, cyberterrorism, misinformation and other unconventional attacks.”

Yang’s vague “Foreign Policy First Principles” can be found here.

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney does not have a foreign policy or national security section on his campaign website. However, he does call for creating a Department of Cybersecurity and starting a national service program, with enlisting in the military as one of the options offered to the youth.

Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio who served as President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, does not currently have a section about foreign policy or national security on his campaign website.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan also does not have a section about foreign policy or national security on his campaign website, though he often makes a point of emphasizing those topics in interviews.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has a vague national security section here.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who served in Iraq as part of the Hawaii Army National Guard, is the candidate who most emphasizes foreign policy and national security.

She is best known for criticizing the Obama Administration for declining to use language like “Islamist” and “jihadist.” She also makes a point of opposing both the Obama and Trump administrations by siding with Bashar Assad, the pro-Iranian dictator of Syria, and supporting Russia’s military intervention on Assad’s behalf.

Gabbard identifies the “Wahhabi-Salafist” ideology promoted by Saudi Arabia as the primary cause of Islamist extremism.

Her campaign says that she will end “regime change wars, an end to the new cold war and nuclear arms race.” Her website emphasizes the threat of nuclear war. You can read it here.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s campaign is almost exclusively about climate change and he, like many other candidates, will characterize it as the primary national security and foreign policy issue. His website only discusses that and immigration policy. Click here to read about his ideas.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet’s campaign offers little in the way of foreign policy and national security directly but does promote several measures against foreign influence operations that could apply to Islamist governments and organizations and other adversaries.

Bennet’s political reforms include banning members of Congress and their senior staff members from ever representing foreign governments or foreign political parties. He also wants to close loopholes that enable lobbyists to work for foreign governments without registering as foreign agents. He also wants to ban social media platforms from allowing “foreign actors” to purchase political ads to influence U.S. elections. His platform is available here.

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s national security and foreign policy has three focuses: Cybersecurity, open and fair trade policy and strong alliances. His website discusses these issues here.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s campaign website is devoid of national security and foreign policy positions. It can be found here.

Spirituality author Marianne Williamson’s national security policy is to dramatically cut the military budget, increase aid for humanitarian assistance, end support for undemocratic regimes and create a Department of Peace. Her views are explained here.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell’s campaign is mostly focused on gun violence. His platform is available here.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who failed to qualify for the debates, emphasizes his “one big idea” of “fighting foreign money.” He wants to force political non-profits to certify that they are not using foreign funding to promote campaigns. You can read more about his proposal here.

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who failed to qualify for the debates, is arguing that he is the national security candidate. He was in the Marines and served four tours in Iraq, where he worked on a special counterinsurgency team under the direct supervision of General Petraeus.

He summarizes his vision as, “We need to stop fighting wars without winning them and start winning wars without fighting them.” You can read more about his platform here.

Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida, failed to qualify for the debates. You can read about his foreign policy platform here.

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who failed to qualify for the debates, has a campaign slogan of, “End the American Empire.” You can read about his “Foreign Policy of Peace” here.

Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, who did not qualify for the debates, was a three-star vice admiral in the Navy. He was the highest-ranking military officer ever elected to Congress when he won and was the director of defense policy under President Clinton.

His defense and foreign policy can be read about here.

*Clarion Project does not support or oppose political candidacies on either side of the aisle. The purpose of this review is to provide a substantive breakdown of the policies promoted by the candidates.

 

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Ryan Mauro

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.

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