The Jill Stein defense plan has a drastically different vision of military operations and requirements than what we hear from most politicians.
The Green Party candidate goes further than any other candidate in the race in her proposals to cut the size of the military and, as with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, she takes a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy.
Stein believes that many of the United States’ recent military interventions abroad have been good for corporations which have profited from them, but not for the people in those countries, despite the humanitarian justifications for the interventions.
“Such intervention serve the interests of multinational corporations and global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations,” according to Stein’s official campaign platform.
Stein, along with Johnson, believes that military intervention in the name of the “War on Terror” has actually made us less safe by destabilizing the Middle East and northern Africa, leaving a ripe environment for the rise of terrorist groups and the creation of the migrant crisis.
Cut the military budget
Stein is calling for a drastic cut to the military budget of at least 50 percent. Part of the spending reduction would consist of closing most or all of the over 700 military bases the United States maintains all across the world.
This is a more far-reaching measure than Johnson proposes, who thinks we should close 20 percent of the bases. This, of course, would leave a whole lot of servicemen and –women out of work.
But Stein thinks we should put them to work in other areas of need, especially the transition to renewable energy here in the United States. She wants to attain 100 percent reliance on renewables by 2030.
The United States spends more on its defense budget than the next highest seven or eight countries combined. Proponents of maintaining or expanding the budget claim that it is necessary to counter the threats we face and maintain our obligations around the world. Opponents, like Stein, contend that the size and reach of our military are actually what put us in a precarious position with people abroad.
Nix the nukes
Stein doesn’t think it’s enough to encourage nuclear non-proliferation; she wants the United States to lead the charge of straight-up disarmament.
She wants the United States and Russia to each agree to reduce their respective arsenals to 1,000 nukes initially, and for countries to come together to develop a treaty for the elimination of this type of weapon.
And the drones, too
President Barack Obama has relied heavily on the use of drones to go after suspected terrorists abroad without getting ground troops involved.
Proponents claim that the weapons are very precise and that they keep U.S. military personnel safe, while critics have raised concerns that the weapons are killing more civilians than most people realize and encouraging the spread of anti-American sentiment. Stein doesn’t think the United States should use drones anymore to target and kill suspects abroad.
The number of civilian casualties from drone strikes abroad is not known. In 2015, The Obama Administration claimed that between 64 and 116 civilians total had been killed in drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Africa during its tenure (leaving out Iraq and Syria, where strikes occur very frequently).
However, data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows a higher civilian casualty tally for Pakistan alone. They also note that a majority of people killed have fallen into the “Other” category; any able-bodied male killed in a drone strike is put into this category unless he is proven to be a civilian. We don’t actually know how many in this category were combatants or civilians.
Stein takes a similar tack as Johnson when it comes to addressing the issue of terrorism: Rather than trying to kill all terrorists, we should pursue a financial approach and work to cut off their funding.
One way to do so, she says, is to freeze the bank accounts of nations that give money to terrorist organizations. She mentions Saudi Arabia as an example on her campaign platform.
Stein’s defense plan skews more heavily to the left than any of her presidential contenders, calling for greater cuts to defense spending, bases, and nukes than any of them.
She believes that current U.S. defense policy is our primary national security threat, and that scaling back operations and working for peaceful solutions will leave us, and those abroad, safer.
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