The Role of the United States:The experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan have led some to call for “retrenchment” and reducing our role in global leadership. Our enduring security, economic, and political interests, however, requires the United States to remain engaged. We cannot be the world’s policeman, but should be actively engaged in shaping events in ways that protect and promote American interests and those of our closest allies. I favor using all elements of national power and not over relying on military power to protect our interests. I support an independent foreign policy that is not restricted by international bodies like the United Nations.
I’m proud to have served in Afghanistan along with many other First District soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. I flew combat missions of the USS Abraham Lincoln in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The withdrawal from Afghanistan will cut our combat forces in half to roughly 35,000 by February 2014. While I support transitioning responsibility to the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan National Security Forces, I don’t agree with announcing timelines for withdrawal of forces. Public declarations only encourage the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and associated insurgent groups to “wait us out” and tie the hands of commanders. Our military leadership on the ground needs the flexibility to effectively conduct operations without artificial timelines imposed by politicians far away from the fighting. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am also engaged in oversight of wartime contracting and committed to exposing waste, fraud, and abuse of U.S. tax dollars. Our tax dollars should not go to fund corruption.
In March 2013, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) stated that Iran is “developing nuclear capabilities” and has the “scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons.” In addition, the DNI stated that Iran possesses the “largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile arsenal.” Given these alarming developments, I support continuing and strengthening sanctions against Iran’s government to persuade Tehran to give up its pursuit of missile and nuclear weapons capabilities. The current sanctions regime has worked to some degree, but persistent loopholes have permitted Iran’s leadership from experiencing the full impact. I will work with colleagues to strengthen sanctions and close these loopholes. Given the threat to regional stability – in particular Israel’s security – I support examining all options to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. While military force should always be a last resort, we cannot exclude it as part of a comprehensive strategy.
The United States should work with regional allies and partners to oppose the Assad regime’s brutal campaign against civilians. The end of the Assad regime would likely constitute a strategic windfall for American foreign policy in the Middle East. Syria supports the mullahs in Iran and terrorist organizations that threaten Israel’s security. Damascus is also Russia’s last ally in the region and gives Moscow military access to the Mediterranean. Syria also possesses chemical weapons in violation of international norms and proliferates missile technology to other countries. While toppling Assad is an important foreign policy objective, I do not support deploying American ground troops in direct support of the rebels, except in the most limited circumstances such as securing vulnerable chemical weapons stockpiles. Our policy should be to offer non-military aid to thoroughly vetted rebel groups and fighters. Distinguishing true rebels from opportunistic jihadists is very difficult. We should also tighten sanctions against members of the Assad regime and consider broader sanctions in cases of noncompliance. Though we must be aggressive, we should avoid another Middle East entanglement.
I strongly support maintaining our sovereignty and independence from global organizations like the United Nations. I oppose the UN Arms Trade Treaty and other international attempts to subvert our Second Amendment rights. As a global power with global responsibilities, we should never be a position where our freedom of action is restricted by other countries.