In a wide-ranging speech viewed by more than 11,000 people from over 30 countries, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday commemorated the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq by highlighting its devastating consequences and issuing an urgent call for a global agenda that pursues “peace, not war” and “development, not destruction.”
“Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
“We need to invest in our children, in our elderly, and in healthcare and education and environmental protection. We do not want more and more war,” Sanders said. “People in my country, the United States, and all over the world are sick and tired of spending billions and billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, war planes, missiles, bombs, and tanks.”
Sanders—who was joined on Sunday at the #CallForPeace event by Korea expert and peace activist Christine Ahn, Raed Jarrar of Amnesty International, and Jenny Town of the U.S.-Korea institute—also used his speech to highlight global crises ranging from human-caused climate change to the rise of oligarchy.
“Increasingly, in the United States and around the world, we see an economic and political system in which a small number of multi-billionaires and corporate interests have increased control over the world’s economic life, our political life, and our media,” Sanders said. “Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”
These are crises that can only be solved through international cooperation, not unilateral action by powerful nations, Sanders argues.
“The threat of climate change is a very clear example of why we all need to pull together, we are in this together. The United States can’t do it alone, Europe can’t do it alone, China can’t do it alone, no one country can do this alone,” Sanders concluded. “This is a crisis that calls out for strong international cooperation if we are to leave our children and our grandchildren a planet that is healthy and habitable.”
A video of Sanders’ speech can be viewed below (Sanders’ address begins at around the 36-minute mark). A full transcript of the speech follows the embedded video.
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