Episode

12/6 What Does a Left Foreign Policy Look Like? w/ Daniel Bessner

December 6, 2018

Daniel Bessner, professor at Washington University’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and author of Democracy in Exile, joins Michael Brooks to explains his vision of an authentically left-progressive foreign policy. Bessner and Brooks begin by explaining what happened at senator Bernie Sanders’ Sanders Institute’s inaugural conference, where thought leaders like Fernando Haddad, Yanis Varofakis and Sanders laid out plans for an international coalition as a counterbalance to our highly nationalistic political moment. A big concern for Brooks is the axis of far-right governments taking power in the Caribbean and South America and their cozy relationship with our current leaders, specifically John Bolton. How would a left foreign policy reorient these relationships that are so grounded in imperialism and resource extraction? Progressive voices in America need to build coalitions and show solidarity with the working-class people and left politicians in countries like Brazil, and use our position in the world to enable it–while still being aware of the nature of an imperialist history.  According to Bessner, investing in alternative energies in America would transform our policy in the Middle East. It would allow America to be less beholden to the Saudi family and allow the US to promote democratic and human rights values in Israel, Palestine, and beyond. An overarching theme Bessner wants progressives to remember is our own moral relativism throughout these foreign policy debates. In any scenario, we must be aware of our values and what we may be imposing on other people. And finally, Bessner and Brooks consider how changing a consumption-first mindset might underpin a robust left foreign policy.

And in the Fun Half: how fascism is American Made, TBT Mark Blyth explains democracy in Brazil under Lula, Louie Gohmert reads lines from the Elders of Zion, Dan Bingo Bongo can’t stand a migrant themed [checks notes] nativity scene? Friend of the show Nomiki Konst plays Tucker Carlson’s game and wins, Mark Collett–a white nationalist–is a big fan of Tucker Carlson, how Marc Lamont Hill’s blacklisting fits in with other black internationalists, autonomy in Asia countries, plus your calls and IMs!

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