America's Role in the World
American engagement with the world is more critical now than ever before...
As globalization continues to alter the international system, the United States must continue to play a leadership role in the creation of effective, multilateral solutions to address the greatest challenges of the 21st century. A true “America First” foreign policy leverages American power at the global level, building coalitions capable of advancing crucial tenets of American foreign policy like humanitarian aid, economic development, and increased levels of national security.
In order to combat terrorism, prevent nuclear proliferation, mitigate the effects of climate change, and open up new markets for American products, we must remain committed to our allies abroad. It’s vital that America remain steadfast in the relationships with our allies in Europe, Asia, and the world over, maintaining the international commitments that benefit America’s standing in the worldwide community. By upholding the agreements we’ve made, developing new regional partners, and working through multilateral institutions like NATO and the United Nations, America can continue to make the world a freer, safer place.
The 2016 election highlighted just how important cybersecurity is in the preservation of our democracy, and Congress must be committed to strengthening our cyber defenses, establishing guidelines for the international community, and responding forcefully to all perpetrators of cyber security violations.
It’s crucial, however, that our need for robust cybersecurity does not violate every American’s right to liberty. Congress must shield Americans from violations of privacy and excessive surveillance, while simultaneously advancing our own national security agenda. To do this, I support the creation of a national commission on digital security and encryption, which would bring together experts in law, technology, and community advocacy to develop cybersecurity policies that benefit everyday Americans and national security.
Responsible military spending is crucial for the preservation of American democracy and prosperity. By prioritizing the training and care of our Active, Reserve, and National Guard forces, along with the modernization of our military technologies, we will be able to advance an American agenda committed to protecting democracy, combatting terrorism, and protecting the human rights of people all across the world.
In order order to mitigate the effects of ineffective or wasteful spending on behalf of the US Department of Defense, it is crucial that we advance a high level audit of the Pentagon, looking closely into the expensive relationships it has with private defense contractors. It’s vital that this audit be performed before massive spending increases are approved by Congress. By securing the first ever audit in the history of Department of Defense and reevaluating the military missions currently being undertaken, we can make educated decisions about defense spending, further securing our nation’s borders and doing better when it comes to our veterans.
As the leading state sponsor of terrorism, the United States must strongly condemn the actions of Iran, particularly as it pertains to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. The Iran Deal passed during the Obama Administration was a huge win for peace, prosperity, and non-proliferation. By remaining committed to the Iran nuclear deal, which is currently keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the United States is ensuring stability in the region. Through diplomatic and economic pressures, the US and its allies succeeded in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and striking a deal that benefits all parties: this should not be taken for granted. A withdrawal or renegotiation of the Iran Deal could result in pushback from Tehran, ultimately resulting in the reinstatement of its nuclear development program.
Congress must also condemn Iran’s support of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, which has contributed to unrest and civilian casualties throughout the Middle East. By bolstering the military capabilities of our allies in the area and remaining committed to the prosperity and security of Israel, America can take strong stands against the actions of the Iranian regime without engaging in another costly military conflict in the Middle East.
Lastly, we must remember that the people of Iran are not their regime – opportunities for exchange with a culture as rich and vibrant as Iran’s should be welcome and encouraged, with the hope of generating dialogue and understanding between our two countries, which could one day lead to stable peace.
The United States must remain committed to thwarting North Korea’s aspirations of obtaining a nuclear weapon. We must work closely with our allies in the region, particularly South Korea and Japan, to develop a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue that promotes the security and wellbeing of America and our allies in addition to preventing the deaths of countless North Korean civilians. Inflammatory rhetoric, an incoherent agenda, and threats of military escalation won’t lead to a solution; they will only exacerbate the issue.
Perhaps the most crucial component of a diplomatic solution will be Chinese support and engagement. We can garner this support by continuing our dialogue with Beijing, encouraging North Korea’s most strategic interlocutor to use its overwhelming economic influence to pressure Kim Jong Un into the cessation of North Korea’s hostile nuclear development and military exercises. Only by uniting with our partners in the region can we hope to achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis in North Korea.
The United States has a responsibility to assist in the relocation and rehabilitation of the millions of refugees that have fled the Syrian Civil War, famine in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, and other global crises. As climate change exacerbates the impact of everything from violent conflict to natural disasters, it’s crucial that the United States remains committed to humanitarian aid.
The comprehensive refugee policy thoroughly vets refugees that are resettled in the United States, with only those in the most dire situations arriving on our shores. Upholding these policies will enable us to maintain our national security, while also allowing those fleeing the worst of humanity to work hard and pursue the American dream. It is a moral and strategic imperative to mitigate the effects of the refugee crisis; we should be finding way to help the world’s most disenfranchised groups instead of banning those of a particular religion or country of origin.
Russia’s actions over the last few years – from the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty to the support of the Assad regime in Syria – have undermined American interests and harmed innocent civilians. By standing strong with our NATO allies and upholding our commitments, we can deter Russian aggression, reinforce European stability, and hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for his destabilizing actions. The United States must be strategic in how it chooses to position itself in relation to Russia, but it must always condemn attempted perversion of democracy, whether it be in the Baltic States or right here at home. The smart – and moral – strategy is to defend and empower our European allies who are committed to the preservation of democracy and prevention of human rights abuses.
While significant gains have been made in the global war on terror, most importantly against ISIL strongholds in Iraq, terror strategy has ultimately failed to achieve its primary goal: the eradication of terrorist networks that threaten global peace and security. With a new approach to combatting terror by being smarter and more strategic instead of starting new wars, the United States can lead the world towards greater stability. By leveraging our relationships with Gulf country allies, improving intelligence capabilities, and engaging in responsible development policy, the United States can make major headway against terrorist networks like ISIL.
Cooperation with regional partners in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, is crucial in implementing an effective terror strategy. By maintaining those relationships through economic partnerships, cultural exchanges, and strategic diplomacy instead of theatrics, we can ensure regional commitment to combatting these issues, which will be a crucial component of a lasting solution.
The responsible collection of intelligence is another crucial component of an updated terror strategy capable of making an impact in the fight against terrorism. Some of the largest disasters in American military history have been a resulted of miscommunication or misinformation. We must seek to streamline communications between agencies focused on national security, ensuring the right people know the right information at the right time. By bolstering our intelligence gathering, we will be able to make smarter, more educated decisions that will not only be more effective, but will also save countless American military lives.
Finally, the United States must renew its commitment to humanitarian aid and economic development. Radicalization and militarization are preventable occurrences. The loss of American time, money, and lives is preventable. By being proactive instead of reactive - investing in food security, gender equality, and economic development programs already being implemented by USAID, USDA, and multilateral institutions like the UN and the World Bank - we can address the root causes of terrorism and extremism, enabling us to severely weaken global terrorist networks without large scale American military deployment.
Continued honor and improved care of our brave veterans should be of critical importance to all elected officials in America. Poor management of the US Department of Veterans Affairs has resulted in wasted time, wasted money, and, most importantly, an unacceptable quality of care that our veterans have had to endure. Smart military spending will put an end to waste in the defense budget by prioritizing the care of veterans and military servicemen and women through job training, education benefits, and continued dedication to the post-9/11 GI Bill. It’s crucial that we ensure all Americans who make the honorable decision to serve their country can return home to a fair, safe, and supportive environment.