When Bernie Sanders first ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Matt Duss was among those who identified foreign policy as an underdeveloped area in the progressive critique of the party consensus. At the time, Duss was the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He joined Sanders’s Senate staff in early 2017, and later worked on the Sanders campaign as its foreign policy advisor, playing a key role in developing the broader vision that was articulated in 2020.
In this interview with Jacobin contributing editor Daniel Bessner, Duss talks about his background, his experience with Washington’s foreign policy establishment, and what a progressive US foreign policy would mean for Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. The views here are Duss’s own.
Duss’s opinions don’t always reflect those advocated in Jacobin. Nonetheless, they offer a sophisticated articulation of the arguments of the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party and reflect the ideas that would have influenced foreign policy should Sanders have won the election.
More than any other candidate in recent memory, Sanders — with his centering of both American and non-American citizens, his criticisms of the defense budget, and his support for Palestinian rights — has pushed the foreign policy debate to the left. In coming years, it will be up to democratic socialists to continue this effort and persuade their fellow Americans that, regardless of what politicians and media elites might tell them, they don’t benefit from the Empire.
Read the full interview in Jacobin Magazine.