Our nation faces many serious foreign policy challenges – challenges that do not offer simple solutions, but will undoubtedly shape America’s role in an uncertain world. In these difficult times, we must be able to count on strong, wise, and effective leadership in addressing the foreign policy issues that we face as a nation. While we cannot and should not provide a police force for the globe, America remains the leader of the free world with a responsibility to protect and advance our interests at home and abroad.
As your United States Senator, there is no greater priority for me than the welfare and safety of American citizens. While I support appropriately targeted and accountable economic and military assistance, I maintain that our nation’s overriding foreign policy objective should be to advance the safety and security of the United States, its interests, and American citizens.
For my views on specific foreign policy issues, please see the information below:
I strongly oppose President Obama’s concession-making with regard to the so-called Iran nuclear “deal.” I believe that it is a bad deal for the American people and for our allies because it wrongly prioritizes Iran’s objectives over our own. In effect, it is not a “deal” for anyone except the hardline Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies.
The Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement not only fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and provide for anytime, anywhere inspections, but it also increases Iran’s access to previously embargoed ballistic missiles and arms sales. Moreover, it is expected to provide between $100 and $150 billion in sanctions relief, which will unquestionably embolden Iran to sow instability in the Middle East by funding terrorist organizations and radical militias.
Several American Presidents have attempted to negotiate with Iran, yet the rogue nation has pressed on with its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian regime is never more interested in negotiating than when economic and other sanctions are strong. However, despite nearly unanimous opposition among the U.S. led international community, Iran has not abandoned its pursuit of a nuclear weapon nor the missile technology that would allow it to deliver a nuclear warhead.
I support additional economic sanctions on Iran, not more negotiations and concession-making. I believe that these sanctions are essential to forcing the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support the development of a robust, layered missile defense program to protect our nation and our allies from the very real threat posed by rogue nations like Iran. The U.S. should never limit its ability to defend itself or its allies. Rest assured, I will continue to work in the best interests of our nation’s strong national defense.
I believe the United States should continue to support Israel as both a friend and important ally. Israel and the United States have maintained an extremely strong and mutually beneficial alliance for more than sixty years, and I intend to continue supporting this important partnership.
Israel faces many serious security threats from both state and non-state actors and terrorist organizations, including Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Recognizing the threats that these forces pose to the survival of the State of Israel, I believe that the United States must continue to support Israel’s right to self-defense.
I believe the United States has made tremendous strides against terrorism through the efforts of our brave men and women in uniform. We have made it clear that states or organizations that seek to attack and harm the United States will be sought out and brought to justice. I continue to believe that it is in our national interest to promote order and stability in the world and to starve the vicious forces of extremism and terror.
We cannot allow the tragic events of September 11, 2001, to be forgotten. As we have seen from more recent attacks against Americans in San Bernardino and Benghazi, as well as the Boston marathon bombing, and shootings in Chattanooga and Fort Hood, we face determined enemies who seek to kill and undermine our way of life. I believe that we must continue to fight terrorists and confront its underlying ideology throughout the world in order to advance our nation’s security.
Furthermore, terrorist threats continue to illuminate our need for adequate homeland security measures that help defend our national vulnerabilities. It is imperative that our government do all in its power to protect and defend the American people from both internal and external threats. This means ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence officials have the means necessary to monitor intelligence information, identify emerging threats, and quickly initiate counter-terrorism measures to prevent such acts.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
Since 2013, ISIS has seized a number of significant territories in northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria with the stated objective of creating a formal Islamic state. ISIS militants have executed significant numbers of Iraqi soldiers and non-combatants, persecuted Christians, including women and children, and killed a number of Americans.
While I appreciate the contribution that the U.S. military has made to provide airstrikes and other assistance to our allies who are fighting against ISIS, President Obama’s strategy has failed to destroy ISIS or end their capacity to wreak havoc in the region, and has invited Putin’s Russia to increase its presence in the Middle East. I firmly believe that the United States must do more to protect our national security interests, as well as lead the fight against ISIS and put an end to their barbaric acts.
At the same time, I understand concerns regarding U.S. involvement on the ground in the fight against ISIS. History and experience both suggest that this will not be the last time our national security interests will be threatened in the region, and that with or without U.S. involvement that there is likely to continue to be conflict for the foreseeable future.
Ukraine and Russian Aggression
I have serious concerns about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. I supported a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine, as well as placing additional sanctions on persons associated with Russia's territorial infringement. It is important that we speak with a clear voice in opposition to Russia’s illegal acquisition of Ukrainian land.
Furthermore, I believe that the United States should remove restraints from its ballistic missile defense program which were included to assuage Russian objections. The U.S. government has a responsibility to protect our nation and our servicemen and women who are deployed abroad from Russian aggression. The Obama administration has spent its time dismantling certain aspects of our national missile defense programs through systematic budget cuts, the cancellation of the Eastern European missile shield, and with the misguided New START treaty with Russia that couples reductions in offensive nuclear weapons with restrictions on missile defenses.
I believe that we need an integrated, layered national missile defense to deter and protect against ballistic missile threats, and I will continue to support efforts to protect our homeland and our allies from Russian aggression.
Despite President Obama’s announcement in December of 2014 of his intentions to normalize relations with Cuba, Cuba remains a one-party communist state with a terrible record on human rights and a history of violating the religious liberties of its citizens. While the Obama Administration has reestablished a U.S. embassy in Havana, pushed to ease restrictions on travel, trade and certain financial transactions, and rescinded Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism - it is far from certain that the Communist party in Cuba will ease its tight control over the political system or that the Cuban people will be allowed to freely exercise their religion without fear of imprisonment.
It is important to note Congress will ultimately decide whether or not the U.S. will lift the overall embargo and restore full political and economic relations with the Cuban government.
Throughout my tenure in Congress, my position regarding US-Cuban relations has been clear. It is my belief that maintaining sanctions on Cuba is necessary to keep the current regime, which has oppressed its people for more than 50 years, from bolstering itself by using revenues that would result from easing sanctions. Any funds derived from American tourism or trade will only end up in the hands of Cuba’s Communist leaders. Furthermore, I am convinced the nation will remain largely impoverished and the average Cuban citizen will experience little or no change in standard of living.
While I have supported limited humanitarian assistance in the past, I maintain that it is vital to American interests that we have a resolute policy toward the existing Communist regime in Cuba. Therefore, I do not support President Obama’s unilateral attempt to normalize our nation’s relations with Cuba.