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 possibility that Iran produces a nuclear weapon; and the return to the Ukraine of certain Cold War ghosts. 

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.

Across the world since the Arab Spring, fragile democracies have formed – and sometimes fallen – in place of dictatorships.  We stand ready to be their partner in democracy. Where leaders remain who exploit power and fear the voice of their people, we should continue to isolate and weaken their states, always condemning the use of violence to suppress political expression.  

We are also aware of the 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.  But America is prepared to act alone when we must.

I support efforts to modernize our military capacity and to ensure our military’s efficiency.  And 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. 

Our Partnership With Israel

Israel is a friend and an 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.

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. 

 

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