Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, December 10, 2018

Elizabeth Warren outlines foreign policy positions during speech at AU

“America can project foreign power abroad only if we are strong and secure at home”

Elizabeth Warren outlines foreign policy positions during speech at AU

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) takes a selfie with freshman Yardena Gerwin after addressing AU students at the Washington College of Law on Nov. 29.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke at the Washington College of Law on Thursday, Nov. 29 about building a foreign policy that she said will work for all Americans. 

Brenda Smith, senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the Washington School of Law, introduced Warren, welcoming “the first female senator from Massachusetts to the first school founded by woman, the first with a female dean, and the first law school to graduate an all female class.”

During her prepared remarks, Warren laid out a view of foreign policy critical of those who use “economic gains to legitimize oppression.” 

“Corrupt leaders enhance their own power by subverting the power of everyone else,” she said.

Warren called out President Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA and passage of corporate tax cuts as policies that hurt Americans at home and abroad, arguing that the administration's failure to ensure domestic prosperity also hurt America’s influence on the world stage.

“America can project foreign power abroad only if we are strong and secure at home,” Warren said.

She took aim at American military spending and the Pentagon’s control of foreign policy, calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and putting a greater emphasis on diplomacy as a means to advance American interests.

“[Military spending] is more than the federal government spends on education, medical research, border security, housing, the FBI, disaster relief, state department foreign aid and everything else in the discretionary budget put together,” Warren said. “If more money for the Pentagon could solve our security challenges, we would have solved them by now.”

Warren’s speech comes after the Democratic Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections. She praised the incoming class of representatives for their support of progressive policies, including on the topic of climate change.

It was a welcome sight, Warren said, “to see so many people coming into the new Congress who ran on overtly green policies.”

Following her speech, Warren answered pre-approved questions from students in a moderated conversation with School of Public Affairs Dean Vicky Wilkins. The event, hosted by the Kennedy Political Union, AU College Democrats and the School of Public Affairs, was open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Warren’s appearance at AU comes among speculation of a bid for the presidency in 2020. The speech from the former Harvard law professor, best known for her expertise on consumer protection and financial regulation, coincided with the release of an essay in Foreign Affairs that expanded on the policies she proposed in her speech.

Warren’s foray into foreign policy drew attention from outside of the University. Claudio Grossman Hall, where the event was held, was packed with reporters from major media outlets in D.C.

But the most well-received part of the speech, at least among AU students in the audience, may have come when Warren joked about AU’s unofficial mascot.

“I like wonks,” Warren said. “I say that wonk to wonk.”

emargiotta@theeagleonline.com


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