Skip to comments.Sen. Cruz: When America doesn’t lead, the world is a more dangerous place
Posted on 09/18/2013 1:59:50 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) today spoke at the Heritage Foundation 4th Annual Jesse Helms Lecture Series. He outlined three simple principles by which U.S. foreign policy should be guided:
We should focus directly on protecting national security in the interests of the U.S. Advertisement
We should speak with moral clarity
We should always fight to win
The senator then discussed how these principles should apply to challenges around the world, particularly to the current situation in Syria. He additionally highlighted the importance of modernizing our military and bolstering our nations missile defense.
Excerpts of Sen. Cruzs remarks are below.
Now, the topic of these remarks today is U.S. foreign policy and the role of the U.S. Senate. And I think the Senate has a powerful role, a role we have seen in the past few weeks, to focus attention on priorities and to listen to the people.
U.S. foreign policy should be guided by three simple principles. Number one, we should focus directly on protecting U.S. national security and the interest of the United States of America. Number two, we should speak with moral clarity. Number three, we should always fight to win.
Those are principles that when the U.S. has followed, have protected the United States of America. And when we have deviated, when we have embraced so-called pie in the sky internationalism things have not worked out well. We think of President Ronald Reagan who had the extraordinary courage to speak the truth. Who had the extraordinary courage to describe the Soviet Union as an evil empire. Marxism, Leninism as a doctrine that would end up being discarded on the ash heap of history.
Now I want to talk about these principles as they apply to numerous areas of challenge around the world. What does it mean to focus on our national security and our national interest, to speak with moral clarity, and to always fight to win? And, of course the obvious place to begin is with Syria.
All of us have been focused on Syria. And it seems to me well let me say at the outset, I want to commend President Obama for two different things. Number one, I want to commend President Obama for listening to the bipartisan call to submit to the constitutional authority of Congress. That was significant, it was the right thing to do, and Im glad he did so. And secondly, once the issue came to Congress, that gave the American people a chance to speak up.
I tell you, Ive spent the last six weeks traveling the state of Texas doing town halls, doing round tables all over the state. It did not matter where in Texas you were. East Texas, West Texas, the Panhandle, down in the Rio Grande Valley, there was almost total unanimity that the United States had no business getting in the middle of a sectarian civil war in Syria. And I tell you, our office in the last several weeks has had over 5,000 calls opposing military intervention in Syria. Weve had roughly fifty in support. In fact, the percentage, I believe, was 99.13 percent of the calls opposed military intervention.
Now, how would you apply those principles to Syria? Because I think the Presidents approach managed to violate all three.
Lets start with moral clarity. Everyone acknowledges Assad is a brutal tyrant. He has murdered over 100,000 of his citizens, he has displaced millions as refugees, and he has used chemical weapons to gas some 1,400 innocent civilians, including over 400 children.
The man is a monster, and he should be universally condemned for doing it. But the principle that U.S. foreign policy, and in particular the use of military force, should key and depend upon U.S. national security.
You listen to President Obama, you listen to Secretary Kerrys arguments for launching a military strike against Syria: they primarily derive from the need to defend an international norm and to send a statement in defense of that international norm.
Now, I am going to suggest to you that it is not the job of the men and women of our military to send statements about international norms. It is the job of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to stand up and defend the United States of America, to kill our enemies, and to defend our national interest.
The Presidents objective in Syria was fundamentally wrong because it was directed at this international norm. And that in turn, the third principle I laid out about always fight to win.
Well, if your objective is sending a statement, youre not winning or losing. A statement is fundamentally a press release. A statement is something that is quite welcome in a university faculty lounge. But it is not the appropriate focus of the U.S. military.
And so, accordingly, we were told by the Secretary of State that our statement, our military response, if it happened, would be unbelievably small. Now if one were endeavoring to always fight to win, an unbelievably small response would, on its face, be insufficient to do that. But there was no winning. Winning was not the objective. It was simply making a statement in defense of international norms.
But not only was the proposed military intervention not, I believe, in defense of U.S. national security; it posed a grave risk of undermining U.S. national security. Why is that? Because even though Assad is a brutal, murderous thug, that doesnt mean his opponents are any better.
As of June, of the nine major rebel groups, up to seven of them appear to have had significant ties with al-Qaeda. And if the presidents unbelievably tiny, and yet somehow not-a-pinprick, attack were actually successful in undermining and weakening the Assad regime, the predictable effect of that could well be enabling the al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra, the Islamic radicals to seize control of that government and, even more worrisome, to seize control of that vast cache of chemical weapons.
And I got to tell you, radical Islamic terrorists who seize control of chemical weapons that poses a grave threat to U.S. national security. And yet going back to what we were talking about before with respect to al-Qaeda, with respect to 9/11, with respect to Fort Hood if the Administration is not focused on fighting radical Islamic terrorism, it is likewise not appropriately focused on the grave danger of preventing terrorists from acquiring those weapons. If al-Qaeda gets control of those weapons, it is not a leap of the imagination that those chemical weapons would be used to murder thousands or millions of Americans, or our allies. The focus was ill-directed.
Now, that I would have and still will vote against military force in Syria does not mean that we should do nothing. There are a host of options we can engage in proactively to condemn Assads murder.
Number one, there have been reports that Iraq has been allowing Iran to fly over their airspace and resupply Assad. In my view we should immediately cancel the $500 million in aid we are sending to Iraq unless and until they cut of air rights for Iran to resupply Assad.
Now thats a simple, direct response that goes directly to Assad, it also goes to Iran, and it is focused on our U.S. national security interests. Beyond that, the United States should force a vote in the U.N. Security Council condemning Assads atrocities.
Now, Russia and China will almost surely object. But in my view, we should force them to do so on the world stage to publicly embrace this murderous tyrant and cast their veto. And then in response, if the touchstone is U.S. national security, we should respond directly, with respect to Russia, by immediately reinstating the anti-ballistic missile station in Eastern Europe that at the beginning of the Obama administration they cancelled in an effort to appease Russia. And with respect to China, we should immediately approve the sale of F-16s to Taiwan that the administration canceled in order to appease China.
Now, these sets of policies all derive from having the objective of defending our national security. If you are focused on U.S. interests, these steps flow naturally. The fundamental failing of this administrations approach to Syria is that it is not focused on U.S. interests. Its focused on defending international norms. And if you dont have an objective, you cant carry it out in a way to ensure that you win, that you satisfy that objective.
Lets take Syrias neighbor, Israel. In my view the United States of America should remain unshakably alongside our vital ally the nation of Israel
We get an enormous dividend from the intelligence, from the resources, from the alliance on the ground, and it is beneficial to the United States of America to have an ally like Israel that is fighting alongside us in such a perilous part of the world where they are surrounded by terrorists who would do us harm and would do them harm.
And in my view, when the military aid is renegotiated for Israel, we should give serious consideration to substantially increase the strategic partnership with the nation of Israel because it is overwhelmingly in the interest of U.S. National Security.
And you know one of the places where you can see that interest is if you look at the nation of Iran. In my view, the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capacity is the single gravest national security threat to the United States in the entire world. Why is that? Because Iran, by all appearances, is proceeding full speed towards acquiring nuclear weapons capacity, and if they were to do so, there is an unacceptable danger that they would use that nuclear weapons capacity and use those nuclear weapons against the United States or against our allies.
In my opinion, the President of the United States should stand up and say unequivocally, if Iran continues to proceed towards acquiring nuclear weapons capacity, the U.S. will use overwhelming military force to prevent them from acquiring those weapons in simple, clear, categorical language.
You know, one of the ironies is that the softer a leader is in dealing with the enemies of the United States, the more likelihood there is for military conflict. One principle from time immemorial is that bullies and tyrants dont respect weakness or appeasement. In the Arab World, appeasement only encourages more violence. It was not an accident that the nation of Iran released our hostages after 444 days the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. I am a big believer of peace through strength.
Because of this administrations ambiguous messages on Iran, I think we have increased the likelihood of military conflict with Iran because those messages can only have been taken by the Mullahs as encouragement that the United States, that the President, will be less than vigorous protecting our National Security. And that if they do proceed, the result might be an unbelievably tiny strike. That encourages military conflict.
So I encourage the Administration to do all we can to use Russia to convince Assad to turn over those chemical weapons, and if it becomes a question of fearing for the survival of the administration there may be some remote possibility of it happening.
But we shouldnt remotely be naïve. We shouldnt remotely expect that Russia or China will do anything other than act in their own national interests. And we should understand that you dont deal with nations like Russia and China by embracing arm-in-arm and singing kumbaya.
The one thing China and Russia understand and respect is strength - principled strength - and they will act in their own interests. And we may be able to cooperate in specific ways where it is in their interests and our interest to do so. But we shouldnt be for a moment naïve that Mr. Putin loves peace and the American way of life.
There are additional challenges to consider. We look at our military, the need to modernize our military. Im going to suggest a simple rule, which is the weapons that our soldiers use should not be older than the young men and women asked to risk their lives using them.
We should not be asking 20 year-old privates to carry a 30 year-old machine gun into battle in Afghanistan. We should not be asking 30 year-old Air Force pilots, providing close air support for that soldier in Afghanistan to fly a 40 year-old A10 fighter plane. And we shouldnt be asking 40 year-old National Guard pilots of an Air Force refueling tanker that supports the A10, that was built in the Eisenhower era.
We should be providing tools and supporting the men and women of the military so they can carry out their courageous task of defending the United States of America.
Related to that is missile defense. You know, missile defense is a principle that is so powerful when you are a lone superpower. When you are dealing with the proliferation of weapons, and as the lone superpower, there are a great many in the world who seek to put targets on us.
And missile defense is the lone technology that provides the real security against rogue nations, against nuclear attack, against chemical attack, against biological attack, against asymmetric attacks that, as time goes forward, will only become more likely.
Missile defense is by its nature not aggressive, not offensive, cannot be used to attack anybody, but we should not embrace a pie in the sky view that there are not those who would seek to murder our citizens and taking every step we can to put in place strong missile defense is overwhelmingly in our national security interests.
Finally, I want to talk about U.S. sovereignty. U.S. sovereignty is a deep passion of mine. I know it is a deep passion of the men and women here. Our current ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has written that the United States should be willing to give up, a pinch of sovereignty. I will confess I am not persuaded. But that does explain the philosophy in Syria of lets go defend international norm rather than the United States of America.
And earlier this year, President Obama, right after he announced his policy to arm the Syrian rebels, he gave a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Actually, ironically enough, on the east side of the Brandenburg Gate.
But his speech did not mention Syria at all his decision to start arming the rebels and begin injecting us into that sectarian civil war. But he did say, We embrace the common endeavor of humanity. We are not only citizens of America. We are citizens of the world. And with respect to the Cold War, with respect to the Brandenburg Gate, he said, Openness won. Tolerance and freedom won here in Berlin.
I want to read you a quote that may strike you as apt: The president lives in the world of make-believe where mistakes, even very big ones, have no consequences. Disasters are overtaking our nation without any real response from the White House. Who does not feel a growing sense of unease as our allies facing repeated instances of an amateurish and confused administration reluctantly conclude that America is unwilling or unable to fulfill its obligations as leader of the free world. Who does not feel rising alarm when the question in any discussion of foreign policy is no longer should we do something but instead do we have the capacity to do anything?
Now those words could have been uttered this week. But they were uttered in 1980 by Ronald Reagan, describing the Jimmy Carter Administration. When America doesnt lead, the world is a much, much more dangerous place.
Over and over again, when the United States has faced extraordinary threats, domestically or abroad, Americans have risen to the challenge. And I am absolutely convinced that each generation, including ours, will rise to the challenge to do so once again.
Also maybe you think we should not defend all our military personnel stationed in Europe, or maybe you think we should pull out all our troops and run home with our tails between our legs, either way, such foolish behavior is not in America's strategic interests.
Actually if you read the document is says they could have one, not will. And it's quite a stretch to believe that they can go from missiles with a 1000 mile range to a missile with a 7 or 8 thousand mile range in less than two years.
But again, if Cruz's goal is to push back on Russia by building a missile shield in Europe, and if the purpose really is to protect us from Iran, then why should Putin care if we build it or not?
That’s simple, because Putin wants the USA to be vulnerable to Iranian missiles.
LOL. Yeah, that's why.
You think that once Iran can develop missiles able to hit the US, that they just won't bother to do so?
You probably also think that Iran's Russia assisted nuclear program is just for domestic electricity production too, right?
Because once Iran can build a nuclear bomb, that doesn't mean they will, right?
Are you for real?
You're pulling my leg right?
You can't really be that stupid.