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Landers writes: "Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders - one of multiple lawmakers discussed as possible presidential candidates in 2020 - offered a line-by-line rebuke Tuesday of the current foreign policy stances that President Donald Trump has taken, saying Trump is inspiring 'authoritarian leaders around the world.'"

Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders: 'Authoritarian Leaders Around the World' Inspired by Trump

By Elizabeth Landers, CNN

10 October 18


ermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders -- one of multiple lawmakers discussed as possible presidential candidates in 2020 -- offered a line-by-line rebuke Tuesday of the current foreign policy stances that President Donald Trump has taken, saying Trump is inspiring "authoritarian leaders around the world."

"While this authoritarian trend certainly did not begin with Donald Trump, there's no question that other authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the President of the world's oldest and most powerful democracy is shattering democratic norms, is viciously attacking an independent media and an independent judiciary, and is scapegoating the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society," Sanders said in a speech focusing on countering authoritarianism.

Weaving in familiar themes of economic inequality, stagnating wages and climate change -- issues he campaigned on as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 -- with newer actions and themes taken by Trump's administration in the last year, Sanders described "two competing visions for the future."

"On one hand, we see a growing worldwide movement toward authoritarianism, oligarchy and kleptocracy," Sanders said. "On the other side, we see a movement toward strengthening democracy, egalitarianism, and economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

The room at the Kenney Auditorium at the John's Hopkins School of Advance International Studies in Washington, DC, had every seat filled, but the subdued crowd marked a different kind of audience than Sanders is used to in his typically large rallies.

Sanders said that the Saudi Arabian government is a "country clearly inspired by Trump," citing their distaste for dissent and war in Yemen. Sanders also mentioned the recent disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that if news reports that he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are true, "there must be an unequivocal condemnation by the United States." Sanders believes that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman feels "emboldened by the Trump administration's unquestioning support."

Saudi Arabia was the first foreign country that Trump visited in May 2017.

Sanders warned that Trump's affinity for leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines should raise red flags and these relationships are "needlessly increasing tensions with our democratic European allies."

He also took a swipe at Trump's personal wealth and finances, citing a recent report from The New York Times that claims that Trump and his family committed widespread tax fraud over the last few decades of running their real estate empire. Trump dismissed the allegations in a tweet at the time as a "very old, boring and often told hit piece," though he did not directly dispute any of its findings.

Instead of the current foreign policy approach that Trump is taking, Sanders suggested fighting "for a future in which public policy and new technology and innovation work to benefit all of the people, not just the few."

He cited climate change as a clear example of an area in which a multi-national approach must be taken.

"Europe can't do it alone, China can't do it alone, and the United States can't do it alone. This is a crisis that calls out for strong international cooperation if we are to leave our children and grandchildren a planet that is healthy and habitable," Sanders told the crowd.

The senator concluded his remarks -- which lasted for about 45 minutes -- with a call for international action.

"Let me simply say that in order to effectively combat the forces of global oligarchy and authoritarianism, we need an international movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power."

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+21 # Moxa 2018-10-10 12:31
Bernie is the only politician worthy of being elected president. He has every quality we need in that office: vision, integrity, compassion, leadership ability, intelligence, courage and a deep sense of what is fair and just. He is also likely the only candidate who could actually beat Trump.
+21 # jwb110 2018-10-10 14:17
I love the statement of "raise RED flags".
The bigger problem in this country is the rise of a Financial class which has set itself at the top of the pyramid. That is where it seems to me the trend has come from. Follow the money. The financial empire of Trump was his father's doing. Donald would not have had a tinkers chance without his dad's money. Trump may not be the brightest bulb in the marquees but just like JW Bush what they lacked in intelligence they made up for in lying and cunning. They are both morally bankrupt and would vote for the devil himself if it made them and their cronies more money.
As for the tweeting, the man is preaching to the choir. No one will ever convert his followers. Not a chance. What can happen is to turn our collective backs (the media included) on the jerk and let him spontaneously human combust. There is more than one way to contain plague.
This is a time for talking about a new kind of future. Focusing in what is wrong feeds the fear. Focusing on an America that in the spirit of the Constitution "provides for the general welfare" of all Americans. The message needs to be reframed in those terms. In the positive redefining of what America could mean for all people. "All men are created equal" is a slogan to consider.
+8 # kgrad 2018-10-10 15:36
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
+2 # economagic 2018-10-10 14:51
The "good" news might be that authoritarian rule might now be the only path to avoid runaway planetary warming, and China might just absorb the US weakened by decades of decline in so many respects--such as diminishing respect for anyone and anything.
0 # lfeuille 2018-10-12 23:53
Unfortunately the authoritarians now in power are not interested in fighting global warming. In fact they are for the most part excellerating it for profit.
+4 # jon 2018-10-10 15:09
I will not contribute to any Presidential candidate other than Bernie.
+3 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-10-10 17:18
Run Bernie, RUN.
+1 # Robbee 2018-10-10 18:22
"no more mister nice guy!"

"the gloves have come off!"

the bromance flowing from dickhead to progressives is officially caput!

dickhead just renamed his campaign to save congress from dems his campaign to save congress from socialist lefties who can go to "venezuela!"

perhaps nobody here noticed, but in 2016 dickhead gave bernie a free pass!

there was a one-sided armistice such that, when bernie lost the dem primaries, naturally dickhead called on bernie supporters to become dickhead supporters!

yesterday, the gloves came off!

progressive dems are now socialists who st. dickhead will drive to venezuela!

this is how dickhead will play these mid-terms! signed in blood!

what does it mean?

it means that progressives are free to stop browbeating dems! we ARE the evil dems!

it frees us from making dems public enemy #1! - no bones about it, WE are public enemy #1!

in 2017, when bernie was the most popular politician in america, so many of us held a shiny, pollyanna notion that in 2020 bernie was a "shoe-in" for prez? no?

we are about to find out if a socialist is a shoe-in for any national office!

this is our watershed moment!

the writing is on the wall!

detente is caput!

mark my words! we are in for an ever-ascending shit-storm over running a socialist for prez!

as Kareem intones - "Don't just blame Donald Trump for the current anti-intellectu al threat to democracy" - 9 October 18

be forewarned! wake up! promote bernie!
-1 # elkingo 2018-10-10 21:25
"shattering democratic norms, is viciously attacking an independent media and an independent judiciary, and is scapegoating the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society,"

+1 # Jaax88 2018-10-11 17:51
Trump is like a bad piece of meat, rotten, that needs to be thrown away or like a bad uncle that the family has to endure until he gets kicked out, thrown in jail or dies.

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