Bernie Sanders’ top aides, who have promised for weeks to produce a “long” list of foreign policy experts advising the candidate, is now slowly trickling out names ahead of Super Tuesday.
Bill French, a policy analyst at the National Security Network, has joined the campaign as a foreign policy adviser, according to a spokesman for the Sanders campaign.
Joining French, according to another campaign aide, will be Larry Korb at the Center for American Progress and Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund. The campaign spokesman said that both men “have spoken to Sen. Sanders several times.”
A final name was added to that list as well: Professor Gordon Adams of American University, who is advising Sanders on defense policy.
The spokesman said French has been working with Sanders in “recent weeks” and will act as coordinator for all the campaign’s foreign policy efforts.
But the spokesman also said their operation is reluctant, at this time, to provide more names, despite Sanders having other foreign policy advisers. No names are posted on Sanders’ website.
“Quite frankly the answer is we haven’t gotten clearance from them to release their names so we want to go through the diligent process of making sure they’re comfortable with that,” the spokesman added.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, told reporters earlier this month in Milwaukee that they would provide a “nice long list” of foreign policy advisers who are counseling the senator.
When pressed on why it was difficult for the campaign to list their foreign policy advisers, Weaver continued, “He will and we’ll get a list for you.”
Foreign policy has been a nagging issue for Sanders since he announced his presidential campaign last year. The senator’s earliest stump speeches barely mentioned foreign policy and the senator didn’t add lines about terrorism and ISIS until the issue became more important to voters.
Recent speeches on the campaign trail have included little on foreign policy, other than his vote in opposition of the Iraq War in 2002.
While Sanders has grown more confident talking about foreign policy, it pales in comparison to the comfort and ease he speaks about economic issues.
The Clinton campaign has tried to seize on this, casting Sanders as a foreign policy lightweight whose views should concern voters.
Sen. Tim Kaine, on a call organized by the Clinton campaign, cast Sanders as a “risky bet” on foreign policy and someone who has not taken much “interest” in foreign policy while in the Senate.
“That is the choice that he gets to make, he should work on the areas that interest him, but because of the important role that a commander in chief plays … I just think somebody who has never shown an interest in these topics is an incredibly risky bet,” Kaine said.
One way the Sanders campaign hopes to rebut this is by winning endorsements from leading national security and foreign policy thinkers. On Sunday, Sanders picked up one of those endorsements from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran.
Sanders is proactively asking foreign policy experts to advise his campaign.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the renowned professor from Columbia School of International Affairs, told CNN that Sanders recently asked him to advise him on foreign policy matters and Sachs agreed.
Sachs, who has spent his career studying and teaching economic growth and poverty, currently serves as special adviser to UN General Assembly President Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.
“I think we needed a very different approach in foreign policy so I wanted to share my thoughts on that and believe that (Sanders) has been expressing a more accurate way to go forward,” Sachs told CNN.
Sachs also laid into Clinton, arguing that the former secretary of state has been part of a foreign policy stance that “engaged in war adventures that have left us much less safe than we were before, that have been trapping us in an expanded war zones that now stretches several thousands miles.”
“From Iraq to Syria to Libya to covert operations,” Sachs said. “When I traveled extensively in those areas like I do, I see a tremendous amount of the fallout from misguided U.S. policies.”
He says Sanders, not Clinton, is better positioned to lead the democratic world.
“He would be, I think, tremendously effective leader among world leaders right now,” Sachs concluded.