Stocker: Democratic foreign policy adapts to a globalizing world


Alexi Stocker, Columnist

As members of the most-traveled age group in the United States and world at large, Northwestern students have a direct stake in U.S. foreign policy, as it affects their ability to do business, explore and live abroad. Study abroad, summer and spring break trips and our future employment are all wrapped up in foreign policy.

The U.S. economy is inexorably tied into the world economy at large; NU students’ future jobs and financial security cannot be separated from that of the rest of the world. Global trade, although growing more slowly since the Great Recession, continues to increase year over year. Individual nations’ economies are now part of an interdependent web of trade and fiscal and monetary policy, placing ever-greater importance on effective diplomacy.

Presidential influence over U.S. foreign policy cannot be understated. The president is the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, wielding powers that can be exercised without congressional approval. Presidents and their advisers guide the actions of diplomats striking trade deals, making security arrangements and protecting U.S. citizens abroad, as well as where and when U.S. troops will be deployed.

One of the most important foreign policy issues hanging in the balance of this election is the Iran nuclear deal. Both Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders back the Iran nuclear deal. All of the Republican presidential candidates, bar Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have pledged to do away with the deal if elected. Engagement with Iran is crucial both for ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as ensuring continued political stability and pro-American developments within Iran itself.

Support for the Iran nuclear deal is a sign that a presidential candidate wants to move forward into a future where the U.S. works with, not against, nations with interests other than our own. Part of entering the future is recognizing where the future of U.S. foreign policy lies. Clinton oversaw the beginning of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” a prescient and important foreign policy initiative aimed at building and strengthening U.S. relations in a rapidly changing region.

Sanders has made even bolder statements about his intentions to change U.S. foreign policy, proudly declaring in last Thursday’s debate, “(former Secretary of State Henry) Kissinger is not my friend.” Sanders’ rebuke of Kissinger’s aggressive foreign policy marks a significant step in the movement away from U.S. imperialism, and toward international cooperation.

In an ever more interdependent world, the U.S. must pursue foreign policy based on cooperation and a respect for other nations. The Democratic presidential candidates promise to continue Obama’s shift away from imperialism and toward peace and diplomacy, creating a better future for work, study and exploration in a globalizing world.

Alexi Stocker is a Weinberg senior. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.