Foreign Policy

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My Foreign Policy Perspective

In my four years at West Point and 20 years in the United States Army, I have been a student, strategist, and practitioner of American foreign policy strategy. Unlike most Americans, (and too many candidates), I can name countries on a map, I have a passport with lots of stamps, and a full understanding of the need to stay engaged worldwide.

America as a Global Citizen

Since the second world war, America has stood as a global leader; an example of economic prosperity, social justice, and democratic governance to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the current administration, along with the Republican-led Congress has done much to damage that reputation around the world. In Congress, I will work to ensure America maintains its status as a global leader.

Stand with NATO

NATO has served as the single most important reason for peace in Europe for over 60 years and we need to do everything we can to maintain and strengthen this imperative alliance. As a retired Army Ranger, I know first hand the importance of standing strong with your allies. Given Russia’s march toward a totalitarian state showing aggression around the region, as well as their extensive cyber and information warfare campaign directed at the the U.S., England, and others, our Article 5 commitment to our European allies and partners is more important than ever.

The United States' Relationship with Israel

The United States and Israel have a special relationship — one based on decades of cooperation and friendship grounded in democratic values, common security interests, and a shared passion for innovation. Since President Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948, the United States and Israel have been among each other’s most dependable global allies. I look forward to protecting and continuing that relationship.

Increase International Affairs Budget

I agree with the letter sent to Congressional Leadership on February 27, 2017, which stated, “The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way” and called on Congress to “ensure that resources for the International Affairs Budget keep pace with the growing global threats and opportunities we face.”

Support for Diplomatic Negotiation & Solutions

Iranian Diplomacy

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran Nuclear Agreement, forced Iran to accept restrictions on its nuclear program and a strict new inspections regime, in exchange for sanctions relief. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to end this agreement, and the Republicans in Congress have been complicit in their overall silence thereon or support therefore.

Addressing the North Korea Threat

North Korea’s nuclear program is among the top national security threats that the U.S. and our allies face today. North Korea may soon have an Intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. and carrying a nuclear weapon, along with enough nuclear material for dozens of such weapons. A military conflict with North Korea could result in the deaths of at least several hundred thousand people, including thousands of U.S. service members and civilians stationed in South Korea.

Honor America’s Commitment to United Nations

The FY2018 International Affairs budget significantly cuts U.S. funding for the UN, including our previous commitments to global peacekeeping. This is unacceptable. Since the mid-twentieth century, the United States has been a principal world leader – a standard that should never be changed. The UN plays a critical role on the world stage to manage diplomacy between countries. That said, I also want to work towards reform at the UN and its Charter to reduce the ability for rogue nations to hold up meaningful progress in the area of human rights.

Climate & Energy in International Relations

Climate change is real and scientists globally accept that emission of carbon dioxide through human consumption of fossil fuels is the principal contributing cause thereof. A stable climate is a critical underpinning of quality of life and sustaining that stability—while exploring leadership solutions for a less stable climate—are at the core of my energy policies.

No Travel Ban

As a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project I am proud to stand by Michael Breen’s statement on the latest iteration of the Muslim ban:

“This most recent iteration of the Muslim ban remains an affront to American values and still fails to make our country safer. The Trump Administration has yet to provide any serious evidence that their efforts in this space are geared towards anything other than discriminating against those that the President and his cadre of small-minded advisors think look like terrorists. Moreover, given that its release was delayed multiple times for purely political reasons, the argument that it is urgently needed for national security is a joke.”

No Border Wall

The proposition of a border wall is ridiculous. The structural, economic, property rights, and other logistical challenges are nearly insurmountable, but no wall is. For however tall the wall is built, there will be a taller ladder. The long-term solution is to engage Mexico and Central America to improve the overall economic situation and quality of life in their countries while working in our mutual interest of a safe, prosperous region, and working to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Reinstate Cardin-Lugar Anti-Corruption Rules

Cardin-Lugar was a bipartisan rule that required American gas and mining companies to share publicly the “project-level payments they made to the US and foreign governments for the extraction of oil, gas and minerals.” This is simple transparency about transactions that have enormous effect on people around the world. Mineral revenues have historically lead to extensive and overwhelming corruption, exacerbating risks of poverty, hunger, and instability. Such risks weigh heavily on American national security, and the transparency measures mandated by Cardin-Lugar can help mitigate these risks.

Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force

It has been 16 years since Congress passed the most recent Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Since then, the response to 9/11 has been expanded broadly and irregularly to numerous terrorist organizations and countries. The 2001 AUMF never sunsets; absent action from Congress, this overbroad AUMF gives the President a blank check. For eight terms, Congress’s Constitutional responsibility to authorize military action and define its scope has been abandoned.

Nuclear Weapons & Weapons of Mass Destruction

Since the 1980’s there has been broad, bipartisan agreement that nonproliferation and arms control of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and materials are critical to both American and global security and stability. From treaties proposed by President Reagan to President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit process and New START, the U.S. has been the primary force in moving to decrease nuclear stockpiles and secure vulnerable nuclear materials. The Trump administration and Congressional Republicans have slashed funding for a network of organizations stemming from these treaties and contributing to these efforts, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Biological Weapons Convention International Support Unit and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. Further, attempts have been made to restrict funding for comprehensive monitoring of nuclear tests around the world.

Promoting Open Democracy & Human Rights

Democratic governments that respect basic human rights are more successful economically, more stable, and less likely to the pose a threat to America, their neighbors, or their own people. Such open democracies are less likely to become breeding grounds for instability, extremism, terrorism, and forced migration. As a world leader, the U.S. has both an international moral obligation and a national security obligation to play an important role in encouraging political, economic, and social reforms, particularly among partner states.

The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen are exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that has placed millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation. In May 2017, President Trump, with the complicit silence or support from Republicans in Congress, announced $110 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Fight Human Trafficking

The horror of human trafficking poses an even greater threat to society than many realize. The State Department estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year. Organized crime and drug cartels have figured out that human trafficking is more profitable, easier to execute, and harder for authorities to detect. America’s efforts to stem this tide haven’t matched the challenge, and we must refocus and invest in fighting this disgraceful trend. We must further prioritize fighting human trafficking both as a foreign policy and domestic policy.

Safeguarding American Electoral Systems from Outside Interference

Russia made a conscious, orchestrated, and deliberate attempt to interfere in our elections and, unless we take the right steps to protect ourselves, our electoral systems could be at risk. Regardless of the country of origin – Russia, China, North Korea – we need to make sure that our cyber security is first-rate and that we work with our allies to prevent foreign meddling in sovereign elections globally.

Enhancing America’s Cybersecurity

Technology and cyber security issues have and will continue to have a significant impact on the lives of Americans and are particularly salient to TX-21. The security of our nation’s critical infrastructure will require leaders who have a firm grasp of what the future demands, who know how to mitigate constantly evolving cybersecurity challenges to our public and private institutions, and the protection of citizen privacy and freedom.

Revisiting the Scope & Transparency of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

The federal government has extraordinary authority to monitor Americans’ electronic communications. Reporting has shown that the National Security Agency is broadly surveilling Americans’ international communications, as well as monitoring vast swaths of Americans’ domestic communications. Rules purported to protect Americans’ privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions as the government builds and retains indefinitely a database of Americans’ international telephone calls and emails.