The United States faces many foreign policy challenges – from the threat of international terrorism, seemingly endless conflict in the Middle East, Russian aggression in Ukraine, tensions in the South China Sea, to the nuclear saber-rattling of North Korea.
Beyond issues of war and peace, the United States also faces enormous global challenges addressing the disastrous effects of climate change and promoting international trade agreements that are fair to workers at home and abroad.
Leading America to meet these challenges requires a demonstrated history of sound judgment, an understanding of how and when to deploy American power, and a commitment to investing in the long-term prosperity of the United States.
We strongly believe that Senator Bernie Sanders, more than any other candidate for president, has the judgment and vision to lead our country and meet these challenges.
Senator Sanders understands that military force must be a last resort, and that we should only deploy our brave men and women in uniform for necessary and achievable military missions.
Bernie Sanders helped lead the congressional opposition to the Iraq War – perhaps the worst foreign-policy blunder in American history – and he has been a vocal and consistent opponent of wars of regime change.
Time and again, his concerns have proven prescient about the unintended consequences of going to war without adequately planning for what happens after combat ends.
Over the past 15 years, the wars that Bernie Sanders has opposed have greatly harmed U.S. national security, destabilized the Middle East and North Africa, helped create space for terrorist groups to grow, and seriously undermined American global leadership.
Senator Sanders’ judgment is consistent with President Obama’s warning against the “Washington playbook” of the “foreign policy establishment” that overemphasizes military responses and leads to bad decisions.
President Obama, like Bernie Sanders, also strongly opposed the war in Iraq and has correctly refused calls to intervene more deeply in Syria’s civil war – including pressure to use the American military to remove Bashar al-Assad from power.
We are deeply concerned that Secretary Clinton has not fully learned the lessons from her mistaken support for the invasion of Iraq: dictators can be toppled, but unintended and often disastrous consequences must be fully considered before deciding to act.
As Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton played a leading role advocating for intervening in the Libyan civil war to topple Muammar Gaddafi, in spite of almost nonexistent post-war planning – what President Obama recently called the biggest mistake of his presidency.
Today, Libya is in chaos and ISIS has a growing presence there.
Secretary Clinton’s tendency toward ill-considered military interventions also applies to the case of Syria.
Secretary Clinton has advocated escalating U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war, including imposing a no-fly zone and safe zone that would have required significant military action against Bashar al-Assad and risked a dangerous confrontation with the Russian air force.
Senator Sanders stands out as a presidential candidate because he has the bold vision necessary to address the most difficult security challenges of the 21st century.
He has spoken forcefully about the threat posed by climate change not only to American security, but to the peace and prosperity of all humanity.
Bernie Sanders also stands out for supporting specific plans to reduce excessive investment in nuclear weapons – funds that can and should be invested in more appropriate ways to protect the security of the United States.
Senator Sanders is willing to speak difficult but necessary truths – even when not politically expedient. To counter terrorism, he rightly calls for the Gulf states to step up their efforts against ISIS.
And he has spoken more candidly than any other candidate about addressing what perhaps is the world’s most difficult diplomatic challenge – reaching a durable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – which he understands will require firm commitments to the security of Israel as well as a just future for the Palestinian people.
Finally, Bernie Sanders is by far the most credible candidate to repair the economic and human foundations of American power.
His plans to rebuild the middle class, invest in critical infrastructure, and expand access to education recognize that American leadership abroad depends on the strength of America at home.
And unlike other candidates, he has consistently opposed free-trade agreements that have devastated the middle class domestically and exploited workers abroad.
Bernie Sanders understands that trade policy is foreign policy.
The United States faces a rapidly changing world. The next President must be ready to confront challenges and seize opportunities.
Many will prove unexpected, but all will demand a clear vision and sound judgment. Bernie Sanders has proven he has both.
Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan
Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund, President
James Zogby, American Arab Institute, President Gordon Adams, American University, School of International Service (emeritus), and former Associate Director of National Security and International Affairs, Office of Management and Budget
Ian Hurd, Northwestern University, Department of Political Science
Sean Kay, Ohio Wesleyan University, Department of Politics and Government
Charlie Martel, former Counsel, U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee
Joseph Young, American University, School of International Service
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University, Department of Political Science
Bruce Blair, Princeton University, Program on Science and Global Security, and Co-Founder, Global Zero Stacey
Philbrick Yadav, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Department of Political Science
Jeffery Sachs, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Director
David Kang, University of Southern California, Center for International Studies
Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service
Maria Repnikova, Georgia State University, Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication
Amanda Murdie, University of Missouri, Department of Political Science
Nadiya Kravets, Harvard University, Ukrainian Research Institute
Jeremy Menchik, Boston University, Pardee School of Global Studies
Stanley R. Sloan, Middlebury College, Department of Political Science, and former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Western Europe, Central Intelligence Agency
Robert English, University of Southern California, School of International Relations
The views contained in this letter solely express the opinions of its signatories, and are in no way affiliated with their employers.