The political platform of a political party is not binding on its candidates, but it is significant because it reflects what people who are most active in the party would like to see happen.
Since I think Americans should be open to voting for small political parties as well as large parties, I look at what the top five parties advocate concerning war and peace, which I think is the most important issue.
To sum them up:
- The Democratic Party says it wants peace, but that it is threatened by ISIS, Syria, Russia, North Korea and others.
- The Republican Party says peace is threatened by ISIS, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and others, and no limitations should be placed on possible U.S. military action.
- The Libertarian Party opposes military intervention and “entangling alliances” and believes in armed neutrality, like Switzerland’s.
- The Green Party thinks the USA should be guided by the United Nations charter and only engage in military action when authorized by the UN Security Council.
- The Constitution Party opposes undeclared wars, treaties that commit the United States to military action and membership in the United Nations and other international bodies.
None of these is exactly what I think. I’m somewhere between the Democrats (their platform, that is) and the Libertarians and Constitutionists.
Below is a slightly more detailed summary of the party platforms, with my comments.
The United States should continue to have the strongest military in the world. The United States should support the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and should ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The war against ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates should continue, but the Assad government (which is at war with them) should be replaced. Non-nuclear sanctions against Iran—that is, sanctions for other reasons than to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons—should continue. If Iran attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, military action should be taken. Israel should be guaranteed a qualitative military edge against its enemies.
The United States should “stand up to Russian aggression”.
The United States should regain military superiority, which it is losing. The USA should have to ability to fight wars with two strong countries and one weak country (“two and a half wars”) at the same time. The United States should reject any arms control treaties that “benefit our enemies without improving our national security.” The US should have a “multi-layered” missile defense system. Military recruitment should be increased.
My comment: The Republican platform places strong emphasis in increasing U.S. military manpower. The problem with that is the current difficulty the U.S. armed forces have in meeting their recruiting targets. It is possible to increase the pay and benefits for military service (which I favor) or reduce the standards for recruitment, but there is an upper limit on how many Americans are willing to volunteer for military service.
The agreement to lift nuclear sanctions against Iran is not a binding treaty, and should be rescinded. The USA should continue the war against ISIS, but the Assad government should be replaced. The United States should support Israel unconditionally. Since Israel stands for the same things as the USA, this is simple Americanism.
Sanctions against Russia should be maintained until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is fully restored. The United States should increase its influence in Central Asia to checkmate Russia. The USA should help countries that are threatened by China’s attempt to dominate the South China sea.
My comment: Donald Trump reportedly used his influence to remove a plank calling for the United States to provide arms to the government of Ukraine. If so, what remains is anti-Russian enough for most people.
The United States should have armed forces strong enough to defend the United States against aggression. It should not engage in military intervention or foreign aid. Troops stationed abroad should be brought home.
Since terrorism is inspired mainly by the desire for revenge, the way to be safe from terrorism is to withdraw all troops from the Middle East, refrain from supporting or trying to change any Middle East government and end all government-to-government aid.
If any American thinks a foreign country should be defended, that person should be free to volunteer to go fight for that country.
As a signer of the United Nations Charter, the United States is obligated to use the UN as a means of settling international disputes. Military action is only justified in order to enforce Security Council resolutions (and presumably in defense against attack).
My comment: The problem with the United Nations is its democratic deficit. It represents nations, not peoples. The Security Council has been manipulated by the U.S. government to approve military intervention. In the future, it may be manipulated by some other powerful government for purposes we Americans oppose. The UN is an organizational structure, nothing more.
The United States should renounce any first strike with nuclear weapons, any pre-emptive strike or any use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations, end research, testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and remove nuclear warheads from guided missiles.
My comment: This presumably does not rule out the possibility of retaliation if the United States is attacked with nuclear weapons.
The United States should work for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which would require Israel to withdraw behind its 1967 borders. Palestinian refugees have a moral right of return to their original home.
The United States should not take any military action without a declaration of war by Congress. It should withdraw from the United States and all military treaties, and cease arming belligerents in foreign conflicts.
My overall comment: The United States government, having assumed treaty obligations, should honor them. I think there is a difference between, for example, assuming the obligation to defend a nation such as Estonia against invasion, and conducting military exercises in that country which could be interpreted as preparation for an attack on Russia.
I think the likelihood of nuclear war is lessened if the United States assumes an obligation to defend Japan, South Korea and its non-nuclear European allies rather than putting them in a position to need nuclear weapons of their own for security.
However, the United States should make clear to allies—especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, but also certain eastern European allies—that the American guarantee does not give them free rein to start trouble and expect the U.S. government to bail them out.
I strongly oppose “wars of choice” such as the interventions in Iraq and Libya; threats against nations that do not threaten the United States, such as Russia, China and Iran; or economic sanctions against nations that do not threaten us, such as Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.
If the U.S. goal is to fight terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda’s successors, it should not align itself with nations such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, in which these movements have strong support, and against their enemies, such as Iran, Libya, Syria and Russia.
I favor negotiations to reduce the number and threat of nuclear weapons. I oppose picking fights with any foreign nation, but especially with one that has the power to obliterate us.
2016 Presidential Candidates on Ron Gunzberger’s Comprehensive Guide to U.S. Politics. Scroll down for information on other small parties and their candidates.
Presidential candidates, 2016 on Ballotpedia: the Encyclopedia of American Politics. Information on Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green parties.