One criticism of Senator Bernie Sanders is that he lacks the kind of foreign policy experience claimed by Hillary Clinton. Personally, I find Sanders’ principled approach to foreign policy to be a strong reason to support him.

Sanders has the right judgement

Let’s dispel the notion that Sanders doesn’t have enough foreign policy experience to be president. He has more foreign policy experience than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama had when they became Secretary of State and President, respectively.


Recently, Sanders talked about experience versus judgement, saying that Clinton supported the 2002 Iraq War, “the most crucial foreign policy issue of our time.” He said, “It turns out that Secretary Clinton, with all of her experience, was wrong and I was right. Experience is important. Dick Cheney had a lot of experience. A whole lot of people have experience but do not necessarily have the right judgment. I think I have the right judgment to conduct sensible foreign policy.”

Opening up trade with China

Sanders has also pointed to Clinton’s poor choice of Henry Kissinger as an esteemed adviser.

Sanders said, “Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”

Clinton then defended Kissinger on the basis that he opened up trade to China.

Sanders responded, “You’re right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he’s urging companies to shut down and move to China.


Not my kind of guy.”

Legalized slavery

When forced to defend his 2007 vote against immigration reform, Sanders provide an apt critique of the hidden harms of the law, saying that groups agitating against it including the Southern Poverty Law Center, AFL-CIO, and LULAC, a Latino anti-discrimination organization. He objected to provisions for guest-workers that were “akin to slavery, where people came into this country to do guest work, were abused, were exploited, and if they stood up for their rights, they’d be thrown out of this country.”

Deportation of unaccompanied child refugees

Highlighting one difference in foreign policy orientation, Sanders noted, “we saw children coming from these horrendous, horrendously violent areas of Honduras and neighboring countries, people who are fleeing drug violence and cartel violence, I thought it was a good idea to allow those children to stay in this country.

That was not, as I understand it, the secretary’s position.”

Clinton's defense of the deportation of children, that we had to “send a message to families and communities in Central America not to send their children on this dangerous journey in the hands of smugglers,” drew Sanders’ ire.

Appalled, Sanders replied, “in terms of the children, I don’t know to whom you’re sending a message. Who are you sending a message to? I think we welcome them into this country and do the best we can to help them get their lives together.”

Sanders’ foreign policy

Sanders’ leadership plan is practical and honorable: “We live in a difficult and dangerous world, and there are no easy or magical solutions.  As President and Commander-in-Chief, I will defend this nation, its people, and America’s vital strategic interests, but I will do it responsibly.


America must defend freedom at home and abroad, but we must seek diplomatic solutions before resorting to military action. While force must always be an option, war must be a last resort, not the first option.”

Sanders has both the experience and the judgement to lead our country. We will no longer risk the lives of U.S. soldiers in mistaken pre-emptive attacks on other nations. We will practice foreign policy that respects the humanity of immigrants instead of treating them as commodities. Bernie Sanders will be a president we can trust with foreign policy decisions.