Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders says he would meet with adversaries like Kim Jong-un as president

Bernie Sanders

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders said in an interview with "60 Minutes," to be aired Sunday evening, that he would, as president, be willing to meet with U.S. adversaries and use military force in response to "threats against the American people" and its allies.

Why it matters: Sanders is the current Democratic front-runner and enjoys broad support across nearly every demographic. However, one group that he is struggling to court is voters who prioritize foreign policy, which ranked as one of his least supportive blocs in the Nevada caucuses, according to Washington Post entrance polls.

The exchange:

SANDERS: "Hopefully, [military actions] are as rare as possible, but we have the best military in the world."
ANDERSON COOPER: "What would your criteria be for military actions?"
SANDERS: "Threats against the American people, to be sure. Threats against our allies. I believe in NATO. I believe that the United States, everything being equal, should be working with other countries in alliance, not doing it alone."
COOPER: "If China took military action against Taiwan?"
SANDERS: "I think we have got to make it clear to the countries around the world that we will not sit by and allow invasions to take place."

Details: Sanders said he believes meeting with adversaries is "not a bad thing to do," and that, like President Trump, he would be willing to meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

  • "I think, unfortunately, Trump went into that meeting unprepared. I think it was a photo opportunity and did not have the kind of diplomatic work necessary to make it a success. But I do not have a problem with sitting down with adversaries all over the world," he said.

The big picture: Sanders has made common cause with leftists around the world for decades, sometimes controversially. But his foreign policy platform is not as radical as some might imagine, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

  • Though he favors diplomacy over military action and believes the government should scale back its defense spending, Sanders also supports increasing foreign aid and reaffirming the United States' commitment to NATO.

Go deeper: Big foreign policy changes are coming if Trump loses

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