How progressives in Congress can change the narrative and promote restraint and diplomacy
Wednesday, March 6, 2PM
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325
Free and Open to Public
[Closed to Press]
Hosted by Congressman Ro Khanna
Robert Malley, President & CEO, International Crisis Group
Peter Beinart, Contributing Editor at The Atlantic
Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor & Publisher of The Nation Magazine, Washington Post Columnist
Andrew Bacevich, Professor Emeritus of Int’l Relations & History, Boston University
Trita Parsi, Founder of the National Iranian-American Council; Professor, Georgetown Univ. Walsh School of Foreign Service
As President Trump destabilizes America's role in the world, progressives have a unique opportunity to define a new foreign policy for America. But while the ascendant progressive movement in Congress has advanced a bold agenda on domestic policy, it needs to develop a cohesive and principled vision for the US role in international affairs. Polls indicate that Democrats support decreasing America’s military presence overseas and oppose higher military spending, as the price tag for the post-9/11 wars of $5.9 trillion dollars saps needed funding for our urgent domestic needs. As proponents of militarism are highly organized and well-funded, progressives need to unite around a powerful vision for restraint and diplomacy in order to prevail on key questions of international affairs.
The Trump Administration’s incoherent approach to foreign affairs presents additional challenges: he has sabotaged the nuclear deal with Iran, supported Saudi war crimes in Yemen, and threatened a US military intervention in Venezuela, while promoting dialogue with North Korea and disengaging militarily from Syria and Afghanistan. He appears extraordinarily close with Putin, while taking actions that are hawkish on Russia, including ratcheting up tensions by withdrawing from Reagan’s INFnuclear treaty, providing Ukraine with the lethal arms that Obama refused to send, and implementing sweeping sanctions against members of Putin’s inner circle.
Progressives in Congress have taken varying approaches to these developments. Congress reasserted its constitutional power over war by passing a historic, unprecedented War Powers Resolution to end the Trump Administration’s support for the brutal Saudi war in Yemen that has left millions on the brink of famine. Democratic leadership has firmly opposedTrump’s withdrawal from the IMF nuclear treaty. But in other instances, some Democrats have appeared to find common cause with neoconservatives who reject diplomacy, oppose the troop withdrawal from Syria, and support efforts led by John Bolton and Elliott Abrams to intervene in Venezuela.
This event will bring together leading commentators, experts, and activists for a discussion about how progressives can advance a steady vision for a foreign policy that combats dangerous Trump policies, provides principled and nuanced support for anti-interventionism, and creates a movement that can refocus our priorities on the urgent domestic needs of the war-weary American public.