Gabbard is one of the several candidates who has already thrown her hat into the ring. There will undoubtedly be more lawmakers who will join her. Those candidates will then have to slug it out in order to have the privilege to take on President Trump in the 2020 general election. That said, at this time, Tulsi Gabbard is the best candidate (in either party) to ensure peace and prosperity in the Middle East. American voters should educate themselves on her background and her strategies to enable security and prosperity in the region.
Even though she is in the early days of her presidential campaign, congresswoman Gabbard has made it clear that she can be a positive force of change in directing the American policy towards the Middle East.
Congresswoman Gabbard’s anti-interventionist stance developed from her personal experience in the Middle East (she volunteered for the U.S. Army National Guard service in Iraq and Kuwait).
This anti-interventionist view may raise suspicions among voters in the U.S. military or voters who are reliant on the U.S. military for their livelihoods. Having said this, these voters should not fear the congresswoman.
First, the congresswoman has said she does not believe in “counter-productive wars of regime change,” but she has made it known that she won’t avoid taking on terrorism in the region. In addition, congresswoman Gabbard, contrary to some beliefs, is not saying that the U.S. military will pick up and leave the region entirely. Instead, she is most likely to favor an expansion of the Al Udeid Air Base located in Qatar.
Congresswoman Gabbard also has some promising policy positions related to two substantive issues in the Middle East: the war in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar.
Let’s start with the war in Yemen. In November 2018 (before her presidential campaign), she called for Congress to vote against a Republican resolution that would have blocked a vote on ending U.S. military support to the war in Yemen. Gabbard made it clear that she was against any U.S. military support of the conflict, calling it “a war that has created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in generations.”
She added that it “was long overdue” for the Congress to end “U.S. complicity in Saudi Arabia’s atrocities.” She is so opposed to enabling any advancement of the conflict in Yemen that she co-sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives that would have immediately halted all military sales and aid to the government in Saudi Arabian. In total, Gabbard has made it clear that she is willing to take drastic actions to end the suffering and conflict in Yemen—including rattling the relationship between America and one of the most influential nations in the Middle East.
There is also the continuing blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and other regional states. Her willingness to take on Saudi Arabia, which has been the leading force in blockading Qatar, signals that she wouldn’t be afraid to call for an end to the blockade. The blockade has had a negative impact on many individuals, including migrant workers in Qatar. An end to this would improve trade within the region and would re-ignite economic growth. Gabbard will not be afraid to take on the power players in the region in order to end the blockade and bring back a sense of normalcy in Qatar.