Senator Murphy’s Call for a Progressive Foreign Policy

1519770_10152873904152477_1012342908803109362_oThe United States’ foreign policy toolbox needs some re-tooling, according to Council-endorsed Senators Murphy (D-Conn.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Heinrich (D-N.M.), who recently published eight “Principles for a Progressive Foreign Policy” in Foreign Affairs magazine.

They contend that, while the U.S. faces unprecedented global challenges, including conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, forward-thinking solutions are a crucial counterbalance to geopolitical changes and new threats around the world.

One key principle is that the United States is “strongest when it works with partners and allies.” Such an idea can seem rare in the contemporary Congress, especially as American negotiators hash out the final details of a nuclear deal with Iran in the face of grandstanding politicians calling for the U.S. to take unilateral action. The Senators rightfully point out that the U.S. can and should work together with other nations toward a common goal, while also retaining the right to act independently in the face of imminent threats. Working with the international community does not limit American actions in the future, but instead can minimize the risks associated with acting alone. As history has proved, in order to reduce global threats and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, working with other nations—who may even be our adversaries—is a necessity.

A second principle asserts that, with the exception of self-defense, military action must be used as a last-resort, and when resorted to, must have congressional authorization that comes with clear goals and exit strategies. For his part, Senator Murphy has been exceptionally critical of Congress’ reluctance to settle upon a new Authorization for Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq and Syria simply because “it is afraid to debate new, narrower war resolutions.”

This eight-point approach proposed by Senators Murphy, Schatz and Heinrich also demands greater restraints for surveillance programs, the pursuit of human rights and gender equality abroad, economic empowerment at home, and the embrace of swift solutions to combat the threat of climate change. It is this sort of leadership and vision that Congress needs to keep America safe and prosperous.

On June 9th, 2015, Senator Murphy received the Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Award for his commitment to peace and human justice. The award is presented annually by the Council for a Livable World and the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation.