Seen as a hawk within the Democratic party, Joe Biden’s pick for vice-president talks tough on Saudi Arabia and has spoken out against Trump’s reneging of the Iran nuclear deal.
US Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has chosen California Senator Kamala Harris to join his ticket for the 2020 election.
Biden, who is the frontrunner against incumbent Donald Trump according to polls, announced the decision in a tweet on Tuesday.
The decision brought to a close months of speculation over who would run alongside the former vice-president under the Obama administration.
If successful, Kamala Harris, who is of mixed Indian and Jamaican descent, would be the first African-American to serve as vice-president, as well as the first woman to serve in the position.
Long considered a hawk within the Democratic establishment, her foreign policy positions are largely in line with those of the Obama administration.
We take a look at some of her positions below:
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has enjoyed near unconditional support from the Trump administration, which has tacitly and sometimes directly protected him from repercussion for his most severe transgressions, such as the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
MBS has also continued his military campaign in Yemen, which has led to more than 100,000 deaths in the country and sparked deep opposition within the US Congress.
“Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for Jamal Khashoggi's murder and for its human rights abuses in Yemen. The last thing we should do is sell them billions in weapons.That's why this week I voted to block the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.” Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019, referring to bipartisan legislation to sanction Riyadh over the Khashoggi affair and war in Yemen.
In a further tweet marking the first anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder, she wrote: “It's been 1 year since the horrific, premeditated murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia. And Trump has yet to hold Saudi officials accountable. Unacceptable- America must make it clear that violence toward critics and the press won't be tolerated.”
It's been 1 year since the horrific, premeditated murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia. And Trump has yet to hold Saudi officials accountable.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) October 2, 2019
Unacceptable—America must make it clear that violence toward critics and the press won't be tolerated.
One of Trump’s signature foreign policy manoeuvres was the unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which reinstated sanctions against Iran and led to the worst deterioration in relations between the two countries in decades.
A consequence of that rhetoric was a heightened threat of all out war, culminating in the assassination of Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in January.
While no friend of Iran, Harris spoke out against Trump’s decision to renege on the deal.
“This nuclear deal is not perfect, but it is certainly the best existing tool we have to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” she said before Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.
Harris is also an opponent of military action against Iran and condemned Trump for not informing Congress before launching the assassination operation that killed Soleimani.
Yesterday my colleagues and I introduced the No War Against Iran Act, which would deny funds for unauthorized military action against Iran.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 11, 2020
Congress must act quickly so Trump doesn’t unilaterally take our country into another war.
Israel and Palestine
Harris is a strong supporter of Israel, describing the state as “central” to who she is.
She has demanded that Palestinians accept that Israel is a ‘Jewish’ state but opposes Israel’s plan to unilaterally annexe settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Of the two main pro-Israel lobbies in the US, AIPAC and J-Street, Harris is much closer to the former.
Speaking to AIPAC members in 2020, she said: “I believe Israel should never be a partisan issue, and as long as I’m a United States senator, I will do everything in my power to ensure broad and bipartisan support for Israel’s security and right to self-defense.”