Foreign Policy Includes People

Tonight is the foreign policy night at the Democratic National Convention. Normally foreign policy discussions include wonky discussions about strategic planning and hawkish declarations about protecting America’s freedoms from foreign enemies. But tonight the discussion includes Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois director of veterans affairs. What’s key here is that the discussion about foreign policy includes discussions about how to care for veterans of war and get them benefits that they deserve.

And Joe Biden’s introduction highlights his work on the Violence Against Women Act, one of the most feminist pieces of legislation to pass in the last couple of decades. This legislation allows women to have legal recourse against their abusive husbands, boyfriends, and partners. Some women in the service have been abused and even murdered by their husbands and boyfriends, and must seek out the services borne from the VAWA. Even today, Congress is still struggling to figure out how to prevent sexual assault from happening in the military.

The important thing to realize here is that foreign policy is not just about war. It is not separate from the men and women who fight in the wars and the care they need and deserve. It is not separate from the violence women face in the military. War and other foreign policy cannot be separated from the people it affects.

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