Foreign Policy and Defense
Embracing Our Allies, Isolating Our Enemies
This is a time of global unrest. We have seen the end of the war in Iraq and the ending of the war in Afghanistan; the anti-government uprisings and revolutions of the so-called Arab Spring; the ongoing civil war in Syria; the ever-present threat of a nuclear crisis in North Korea; the ambitions of Iran to become a nuclear state; and continued sporadic aggression from Russia.
America is the world’s only remaining superpower, yet our unrivaled military might is tempered by a new awareness of its strategic limitations. There are hard lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, where our military involvement did not produce the long-term outcomes that we desired. Our path should be one of collaboration backed by the full might of the US military.
Nothing is more important to me than keeping Americans safe. This means not only having a robust foreign policy, but also working to stop terrorism in all its shapes and forms. After the terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Jakarta and Ankara, we are more aware than ever of our vulnerabilities and the need to take action. Many of these attacks are tied to ISIL, whose defeat must be viewed as our top national security priority.
In order to defeat ISIS, we must first end the Syrian civil war. To do so will require the active participation of all of the nations that have a stake in a peaceful Middle East. States with influence over Syrian president Bashar al Assad need to convince him that he does not have a future as Syria’s leader, and the international community needs to better coordinate its efforts to make sure that it is not working at cross purposes and is concentrating all efforts on swiftly ending the civil war so all focus can be turned to ISIS.
I wrote a letter with 54 of my Congressional colleagues calling on President Obama to push for this kind of international collaboration to end the civil war and defeat ISIS, and I introduced a bill in the House expressing the same. I believe this is the best way to achieve our goals, make our country safer, and prevent another disastrous and costly war for the United States.
Our Partnership With Israel
Israel is the strongest friend in the region and a critical ally to the United States, and its legitimate security needs are critically important. As chaos in the region has increased, so has peril for Israel, seemingly at every border. I have visited the region many times, and I remain hopeful that lasting peace can be achieved among Israel and its neighbors through continued engagement and dialogue. While these negotiations have at times been halting, I remain convinced that peace is attainable.
In 2015, I supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. By restricting the types of materials and facilities to which the Iranians have access in exchange for lightening of sanctions, this agreement will make it mush less likely that Iran will be able develop a nuclear weapon. After careful consideration of all the options, I believe that this plan represents the best chance to protect the United States and our closest allies, including Israel, from the terror of a nuclear-armed Iran. So far, Iran has been in full compliance of the nuclear agreement.
Iran is still a dangerous regime. We will continue to enforce our sanctions and hold them accountable for any and all violations of international agreements. Iran is still very far away from being able to join the international community, but I am optimistic that a path of diplomacy, backed by the threat of sanctions and unified global response, will prevent Iranian aggression.
This is an example of the immense power of diplomatic collaboration. Success, as preliminarily demonstrated by Iran’s willingness to negotiate in the face of crippling international sanctions, will often come from working in concert with our allies toward a shared goal. Our long-standing alliances with Europe and Asia are the backbone of global prosperity.
Staying True to Our Values
If American exceptionalism means anything, it means that we stand for unique aspirational values. We must be guided by these values in all that we do or we lose an intangible source of strength and we dim the light that we offer the world. When the world sees us engaged in torture or detaining prisoners without charge, we lose the moral high ground. When we coddle dictators or support those who oppress their own people, the world loses hope.
I support targeting effective international aid as an essential way for the United States to promote peace and security around the world. The small amount that we invest in aid brings food to hungry children and hope where there is none. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s in our security interest to help.
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