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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
March 8, 2019

Like Trump, Does Bernie Still Think NATO Is A Waste of Money?

During the Trump administration, we have seen the ramifications of a US that has become more isolationist at home. Russia has become increasingly aggressive and willing to interfere abroad. Democracies increasingly cannot rely on the US, as Trump questions the value of alliances. However, would Bernie Sanders be any different? Afterall, Bernie has dismissed NATO as a "waste" of money for the U.S., which funds a disproportionate share of the alliance among its 28 member nations. During his debates with Hillary Clinton, Bernie was Trump like in demanding that "The countries of Europe should pick up more of the burden for their defense."

Finally, Bernie even suggested that NATO was obsolete as Trump has done by proposing that NATO admit Russia and be transformed into anti-terrorist organization, rather than a bulwark against Russian aggression. This pro-Russian stance is particularly concerning given Bernie's long standing opposition to Russian sanctions such as the Magnitsky Act, the 2015 reauthorization of the Act, 2017 Election sanctions, and the efforts to lift sanctions earlier this year.

Put another way, if we oppose Trump's Russia friendly policies, why would we support Bernie Sanders and not a Democrat?


Sanders calls for new NATO that includes Russia

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for a new accord between America, its closest allies and Russia as well as Arab nations as a major plank on how to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We must create an organization like NATO to confront the security threats of the 21st century — an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Thursday during a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“We must work with our NATO partners, and expand our coalition to include Russia and members of the Arab League.”

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, started at the doorstep of the Cold War and eventually became a major alliance against the then-Soviet Union. So accepting Russia into NATO, or creating a new defense group all together, would rearrange one of the world’s most powerful bonds by uniting the former rival countries around ISIS as the modern enemy.
March 5, 2019

Bernie and Trump's Scapegoating of Mexicans and Chinese on Trade and Immigration - Part I (Tariffs)

In response to a poster who wrote:

Do you have any links? I'm curious to see what you think are attacks against Mexico and China

by Bernie. TIA. I think I'll be waiting a while.


I am going to explain how Bernie's dog whistle attacks on foreign countries parallel if not exceed the xenophobic attacks of Donald Trump.

Even more so than Trump, Bernie has made a career of blaming America's problems on trade and immigration. In particular, the villain in Bernie's attacks has been Mexico and China regardless of the facts behind his attacks. Indeed, more so than Trump, Bernie has seen fit to mostly exempt white countries from his demands for demands even when Mexico or China account for a small portion of US imports for the product at issue.

For example, lets look at steel tariffs. Trump announced the imposition of tariffs on steel imports, which is a move that Bernie Sanders has long championed:


Along with NAFTA, Sanders said he also would rewrite CAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China, and the Korean Free Trade Agreement.

He didn’t specify what changes he would make but said U.S. workers shouldn't be forced to compete against people making “pennies an hour.” He also criticized deals that lead corporations to move to countries such as China where there are “virtually no environmental standards” compared to the U.S.

“That is not fair competition,” he said.

His campaign says Sanders also would impose countervailing tariffs on imports from China and Japan “until they stop dumping steel into the United States and stop manipulating their currencies.

Now who is the biggest importer of steel to the US? China, right? Nope. Mexico? Wrong again. It is Canada, which imports more steel into the US than China and Mexico combined. Indeed, China only accounts for 2.9 percent of US steel imports.


So, you would think that Bernie would totally support Trump's efforts to impose tariffs on steel imports as Bernie long championed? Right? The answer is sort of. Bernie said:


I strongly support imposing stiff penalties on countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to prevent them from illegally dumping steel and aluminum into the U.S. and throughout the world. American steel and aluminum workers need our help, and they need it now, but not at the expense of farmers, workers, small businesses and consumers in Vermont and throughout this country. Given Vermont’s proximity to Canada and our strong trade relations with Canada, these policies will be especially harmful to Vermont and other northern border states. It simply makes no sense to start a trade war with Canada, the European Union and others who are engaged in fair trade, are not cheating and where workers are paid a living wage with good benefits.

So, with the exception of Russia, Bernie supported Trump's imposition of tariffs on non-white countries, but suddenly exempted Canada (the top importer of steel to the US) from steel tariffs? Put another way, we think Trump is racist, but Bernie is the one who wants to focus on non-white countries when it comes to tariffs.

Of course, some folks will try to explain that Bernie is only focusing on third world countries with low wages that exploit their workers. Okay. Well, then why is Bernie Sanders including South Korea? South Korea third world? Heck, South Korea has a higher cost of living than the U.S.


Finally, in 2016, Bernie liked to use the bogeyman of Mexican workers taking away jobs from real Americans: “You didn’t need a Ph.D. in economics to understand that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Mexico making 25 cents an hour.”


Indeed, s late as 2017, Bernie was still egging Trump on to tear up NAFTA:


Bernie Sanders Tells Trump to Keep His Promise on Nafta

President Donald Trump is finding an unlikely ally in his efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement: the political left.

Civil-society groups, union leaders and left-wing politicians have opposed almost everything Trump has done. But they’re urging him to stand firm in his attempt to overhaul Nafta -- and face down opposition from business groups, who complain that U.S. companies will be hurt by the proposed changes. Mexico and Canada have called U.S. demands unworkable, including on regional-content requirements for cars and investor-state dispute systems.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an outspoken critic of trade deals in his campaign for president last year, called on Trump to deliver. “When Donald Trump campaigned for president, he promised that he was going to stop corporations from shifting American jobs to Mexico,” Sanders said Wednesday at a rally for the #ReplaceNafta movement in Washington. “For once in your life, keep your promises.”

Of course, when Trump threatened to actually do this, as Bernie advocated, Bernie once again stayed silent. Will Bernie flip flop again like he did on steel and condemn Trump if he does indeed withdraw from NAFTA? Or, will Bernie just say that he would do it better?

Next: Immigration.

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