Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is one of the most courageous and admirable politicians currently in Congress. He was re-elected this past election and will serve Ohio’s 10th district in the 112th Congress. Kucinich is not well known outside his devout progressive followers. No matter what your politics, it is worth looking at Kucinich’s policies and voting records. In past articles, we spotlighted Kucinich and his domestic policy issues. Now, it is interesting to take a look at his foreign policy and views. Kucinich was in the minority voting against the Patriot Act. He was also only one of six to vote against the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act. This act’s stated purpose was to deal with terrorism by establishing a national commission, establishing a center for study, and cooperating with other nations. Kucinich said he believed the bill to be "unconstitutional" and has referred to the bill as a "thought crime bill".
Kucinich was against the invasion of Iraq from the start and he always votes against funding the war. In 2005, he voted against the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million and directed the President to spend that money in support of groups opposed to the Iranian government. Kucinich called the act a "stepping stone to war". Kucinich and Rep. Ron Paul are the only two congressmen who voted against Rothman-Kirk Resolution, which calls on the United Nations to charge Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the genocide convention of the United Nations Charter based on statements that he has made. Kucinich defended his vote by saying that Ahmadinejad’s statements could be translated to mean that he wants a regime change in Israel, not death to its people and supporters, and that the resolution is an attempt to beat "the war drum to build support for a US attack on Iran." In October 2009, Kucinich and Ron Paul were the only two congressional representatives to vote against H.Res.175 condemning the government of Iran for “state-sponsored persecution of its Bahá’í minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” Kucinich supports increase dialog with Iran in order to avoid a confrontation at all costs.
In 2009, Kucinich was one of the dissenters in a 390-5 vote for a resolution recognizing Israel’s "right to defend itself [against Hamas rocket attacks]" and reaffirming the U.S.’s support for Israel. Kucinich was criticized for his 2007 trip to Syria and his praiseing of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Syria’s national TV. He commended Syria for taking in Iraqi refugees. "What most people are not aware of is that Syria has taken in more than 1.5 million Iraqi refugees," Kucinich said. "The Syrian government has actually shown a lot of compassion in keeping its doors open, and being a host for so many refugees.” While on the trip to Syria, Kucinich went to the rest of the Middle East but did not go to Iraq. He stated that he felt that the U.S. was engaged in illegal occupation of Iraq and that is why he did not visit the country. Kucinich is the only congressional representative to vote against the symbolic "9/11 Commemoration" resolution. In a press statement,, he explained his vote by saying that the bill did not make reference to "the lies that took us into Iraq, the lies that keep us there, the lies that are being used to set the stage for war against Iran and the lies that have undermined our basic civil liberties here at home."
Kucinich was the only member of the House to condemn US interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs, In a letter signed by Kucinich, Jesse Jackson, Howard Zinn, Edward Asner, Saul Landau, Naomi Klein, Doug Henwood, and others, Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution is praised. In part the letter said "The world knows that you are achieving something remarkable in Venezuela: you are investing your country’s vast oil wealth in ways that benefit everyone, not just small minority of well-connected elites. Over the last year your government’s literacy campaign taught one million Venezuelans to read. And today, millions of others are benefiting from the governments investment in job training, small businesses and health care…We are committed to doing what we can, as U.S. citizens, to heal those relationships and encourage Congress and the White House to see Venezuela not only as a model democracy but also as a model of how a country’s oil wealth can be used to benefit all of its people." Kucinich advocates the abolition of all nuclear weapons and favors normalizing relations with Cuba. He advocates a full repeal of the Helms-Burton Act and the immediate lifting of the trade embargo and travel restrictions to the country. He claims that America’s "aggressive rhetoric and actions" have not helped US interests, but have hurt the Cuban people.
Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth are both champions of human rights and animal rights. Kucinich often defends the most vulnerable of our population. Whether it is the working class citizens, the environment, or poor animals used for chemical testing, you can count on Kucinich to be the voice of the voiceless.