An Examination of Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy Platform


SEATTLE, Washington — With dozens of candidates still remaining in the Democratic Primary Race, the campaign trail is blazing hot with extensive discussions on domestic issues and their solutions. While these are important topics at the forefront of voter’s minds, it’s also crucial to analyze each candidate’s foreign policy platform. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a front-runner in the race. She is a former lawyer and legal scholar that was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Her political career has been relatively short compared to other candidates, so her voting record isn’t as long. However, Sen. Warren has been vocal about her stance on various global issues during her time in Congress. In order to examine Sen. Warren’s foreign policy platform, this article explores some of her previous public statements on foreign aid, her stance on the symbiotic relationship of domestic and foreign policies and her three-part plan for revitalizing U.S. diplomacy.

Public Statements on Foreign Aid

Sen. Warren’s foreign policy platform spans both sides of the aisle. For example, she has consistently supported Israel, including Israel’s 2014 War on Gaza, despite U.S.-Israel ties continuing to be a point of conflict within the Democratic Party. On the other hand, Sen. Warren has also voted for military de-escalation in other global issues, like her vote to end the Yemen War.

During her tenure, Sen. Warren’s foreign policy platform has included her signature on many letters written in support of various foreign aid issues. On global health, Sen. Warren signed a 2013 letter to Barack Obama on a New AIDS Treatment Goal and a 2014 letter to Ban Ki-moon pressing other nations to contribute to the Ebola fight. Sen. Warren has also signed letters supporting refugees. Last year, for example, she signed one letter to Vice President Pence to raise the plight of the Rohingya during the East Asia Summit. She signed another letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to call for full funding of refugee programs.

Domestic and Foreign Policy: A Symbiotic Relationship

Sen. Warren wrote In Foreign Affairs, “with American power increasingly challenged from within and without, we can no longer afford to think of our domestic agenda as separate from our foreign policy.” She explains the need for additional analysis of U.S. defense spending and the allocation of parts of that budget to other forms of “international engagement and critical domestic programs.” Sen. Warren has expressed the notion that U.S. strengths abroad are generated at home, but that U.S foreign policy often prioritizes profits for large corporations over working American families.

In an interview with The Council on Foreign Relations, Sen. Warren noted that the U.S. has the world’s largest economy but has “failed to pursue foreign policies that prioritize American workers.” Despite only 1 percent of the federal budget going to federal aid, Sen. Warren understands that Americans struggling economically often question the value of our international contributions. “Diplomacy is not about charity,” Warren wrote in her Foreign Affairs essay. “It is about advancing U.S. interests and preventing problems from morphing into costly wars.”

Warren’s Proposed Plan

During the third Democratic debate, Sen. Warren outlined her three-part plan to revitalize U.S. diplomacy.

  1. Work with allies. Sen. Warren expressed the need to strengthen ties with key allies that share our values and goals, resulting in cooperation to identify and solve global problems.
  2. Expand diplomatic efforts. In order to expand diplomatic efforts, proper funding must be allocated to the United States State Department.
  3. Fortify international outreach. Warren emphasized the importance of “having eyes and ears on the ground.” In order to advance security and other initiatives abroad, Sen. Warren believes there needs to be a larger number of foreign service workers, staff and diplomats in American embassies across the globe.

Consistently stressing that diplomacy shouldn’t be run exclusively by the Pentagon, Sen. Warren’s foreign policy platform is firmly planted in the idea that diplomacy should be a multilateral effort. With much of the Democratic Primary race to go, it is crucial for foreign policy to be discussed in debates and campaign speeches nationwide.

Trey Ross
Photo: Flickr


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