Stalin’s last laugh

Has Bernie Sanders ever lavished the kind of praise on the United States that he has heaped on the old regime of the Soviet Union, the dictators of Venezuela, or the Communist masters of Cuba? Has he ever praised the United States, period? When it comes to the United States versus its enemies, the guy is on the other side. It’s probably past time to take Sanders seriously and take a look at the kind of foreign policy he is most likely to pursue. It is certainly past time to get a clue about the deep meaning of Bernie Sanders.

AEI’s Marc Thiessen and Danielle Pletka take up the subject of a Sanders foreign policy in their latest What the Hell is Going On? podcast (embedded below). They title this episode “WTH is going on with Bernie Sanders? What having a democratic socialist as president would mean for American leadership abroad” and provide this introduction:

After visiting Moscow in 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders praised the Soviet system and established a sister city relationship with his hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Throughout his time in office, Sanders regularly hobnobbed with and supported Communist, anti-American and anti-Israel leaders.

The Washington Post’s [Global Opinions columnist] Josh Rogin joined the podcast to discuss Sanders’ foreign policy record and what having a democratic socialist as president would mean for American leadership abroad. He also touches on the broader Democratic field, explaining how their proposed national security policies differ from those of Donald Trump.

Sanders’s 1988 honeymoon trip to the Soviet Union in fact included stops in Moscow, Leningrad, and Yaroslavl. Looking back at Sanders’s trip last year in the Washington Post, Michael Kranish reported: “Returning to Vermont, Sanders held an hour-long news conference in which he extolled Russian policies on housing and health care, while criticizing the cost of both in the United States — and boasted that he was willing to criticize his homeland.”

Kranish’s account concludes:

Sanders, meanwhile, was so enthused by the trip that he soon began planning his next foreign venture: a visit to Cuba the following year, during his last month as mayor.

“Under Castro, enormous progress has been made in improving the lives of poor people,” Sanders said before leaving, while noting “enormous deficiencies” in democratic rights. While he failed in his goal to meet Fidel Castro, he returned home with even greater praise than he had for the Soviet Union.

“I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people,” Sanders told the Burlington Free Press. While Cuba was “not a perfect society,” he said, the country “not only has free health care but very high-quality health care . . . The revolution there is far deeper and more profound than I understood it to be. It really is a revolution in terms of values.”

AEI has posted a transcript of the podcast here. I have taken the heading of this post from a comment made by Danielle Pletka deep into the podcast. There is lots to disagree with here — the participants disagree among themselves — but it’s time to take up the subject.

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