Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy stance sets her apart in crowded field
As Tulsi Gabbard launches her bid for the presidency, her platform on foreign policy distinguishes her in a growing field of Democratic primary contenders.
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U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has focused on issues relating to the military, national security and international affairs since first elected to Congress in 2012.
She’s been an outspoken opponent of what she often refers to as U.S. involvement in “interventionist regime change wars.” Gabbard has opposed U.S. support for rebels in Syria seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad and has been a harsh critic of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, where tens of thousands of children are believed to have starved to death amid the ongoing conflict.
Most recently, she’s opposed any U.S. effort to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is facing a challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaido.
“The United States has a disastrous history of military intervention and regime change around the world which has brought suffering to millions of people. It’s bankrupted our country, it’s dishonored our troops and it’s undermined our national security,” Gabbard said last week in a video posted on social media. “We must end this policy now before we get into yet another military conflict, this time in Venezuela.”
As Gabbard, 37, launches her bid for the presidency, her platform on foreign policy distinguishes her in a growing field of Democratic primary contenders who have remained focused on domestic issues, and it’s expected to play a central role in her campaign.
Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East as part of the Hawaii National Guard, which she has drawn on to bolster her foreign policy credentials.
In keeping with her more isolationist foreign policy stances, Gabbard also opposed former President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing that the trade deal would reduce restrictions on foreign corporations operating in the United States and incentivize the outsourcing of American jobs.
While Gabbard has zeroed in on issues relating to military and foreign affairs during her time in Congress, she also has a track record of supporting environmental causes. In 2016, she joined a contingent of military veterans who promised to act as human shields for protesters opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, N.D. Standing Rock Sioux opposed the oil pipeline, worried it could contaminate their drinking water.
Gabbard also has fought in Congress to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, an issue that galvanized Hawaii progressives in recent years.
She currently serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services committees, and previously served on the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Gabbard served on the Honolulu City Council from 2011 to 2012 and in the state House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004, when she resigned to deploy with her Hawaii National Guard unit to Iraq.
Here’s a look at some of the key legislative accomplishments of her political career:
Helping Heroes Fly Act
Gabbard introduced the Helping Heroes Fly Act a year after being elected to Congress and it was signed into law by Obama in August 2013. The law eases airport security screening processes for wounded and severely disabled service members and veterans.
Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015
Introduced by Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the law awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino and Filipino-American veterans who fought in World War II.
The measure was introduced as part of reparations for Filipinos who actively fought under the American flag with the promise of getting government benefits. That promise was rescinded by Congress when it passed the Rescission Act of 1946, voiding their service.
Gabbard, along with Hirono, successfully championed legislation that requires suspected cases of child abuse on military bases be reported to state child welfare officials. Talia’s Law was named for a 5-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her father at Wheeler Army Airfield in Wahiawa. It’s intended to provide an added layer of protection to children who are being abused on military bases.
HONOLULU CITY COUNCIL
Gabbard successfully introduced a ban on the storage of personal belongings on public property. Subsequent enforcement efforts by city officials lead to sweeps of homeless camps along sidewalks and in parks and other public spaces.