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Bloomberg’s Awful Foreign Policy

Now that Mike Bloomberg has made his vanity presidential campaign official, it is worth reviewing his foreign policy record to understand why he is such a terrible candidate. Mehdi Hasan reminds us that Bloomberg was a conventional hawkish Republican until not that long ago, and his foreign policy views haven’t noticeably improved since he left the GOP:

Bloomberg, though, has been an abject failure on each of these issues. Take the war in Iraq. The then-Republican mayor of New York not only backed the illegal invasion and occupation in March 2003, but he also supported perhaps the most egregiously dishonest and bizarre justification for the war: that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This, of course, was a brazen lie told by the likes of Dick Cheney and Fox News. But it was also publicly endorsed by Bloomberg.

I mentioned Bloomberg’s disgraceful propagandizing on behalf of Bush and the Iraq war in an earlier post, and this was just the most memorable part of his poor record. It isn’t surprising that someone who presents himself as a “centrist” should hold such hawkish views, since that hawkishness is usually an integral part of “centrist” posturing. Just as Bloomberg has no interest in challenging concentrated wealth and power in domestic affairs, he has no desire to challenge the status quo in foreign affairs, either. His foreign policy is to Washington’s militarism what his domestic views are to plutocracy. Bloomberg manages to have a lot of the same foreign policy baggage that Hillary Clinton had while still having no foreign policy experience. There are many reasons why Bloomberg is an awful fit with the Democratic Party, but on foreign policy he is particularly out of step and out of touch with where Democratic voters want to go. As we can see from recent surveys of public opinion, he is also out of step with a majority of all Americans.

Democratic voters are increasingly sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians and there is much more pressure for candidates to be willing to criticize and penalize Israel when it commits crimes against them. Bloomberg has nothing to offer such voters. Hasan comments:

You might argue that Bloomberg was only parroting the standard liberal defense of Israel but, no, he went much further than that. During the 2014 bombardment of Gaza, in which more more than 500 Palestinian kids were killed, Bloomberg told CBS News that Israel “cannot have a proportional response” when fighting Hamas.

The absurdly anti-Iranian line from Bloomberg’s editorial page also reflects the former mayor’s own views. Back in 2015 when the JCPOA was still being debated, Bloomberg wrote an opinion piece in his own name decrying the Obama administration’s alleged “demonization” of critics of the deal. His complaints about the deal might have come from any other Iran hawk:

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