Lindsey Graham on Foreign Policy
Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (SC-3)
Graham's comments come one day after 128 nations, including some of the U.S.'s most loyal allies, voted in favor of a resolution condemning President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The senator has often been critical of the UN in the past.
GRAHAM: There are 3,500 American Muslims in uniform. And every time you talk disparagingly of the faith, you make it impossible to have partners within the faith. You're never going to win this war by killing people. You need partners. And your partners are going to be the vast majority of Muslims who do not want to turn their daughters over to ISIL. I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan 40 times. And most people in the faith are not buying what these nut jobs are selling. So refugees can be infiltrated by terrorists. I don't blame the president for wanting more vetting in countries that are becoming failed states. But the executive order was a huge misstep, because it included everybody. When you do something like this, if it's perceived as declaring war on the faith, we're all going to lose. If it's perceived as making us more safe and not a Muslim ban, we're all going to win.
GRAHAM: If you let Putin get away with this, then we're opening ourselves up for endless attacks by foreign entities. Let us make our own decisions about who we'd like to be president. Putin hates democracy. Two critics have died from plutonium poisoning. But these people in Russia play really hard. The Duma is a joke. The independent judiciary has been lost. He wants to break the back of the European and NATO. He hates coalitions of democracy. He dismembered the Ukraine. He's affecting the Baltics day in and day out. The democracies in his shadow are under threat. Vladimir Putin is not a friend to democracy. He is a crook. And I wish our president, who I want to him, would stand up to Putin and say that an attack on one party in America is an attack on all of us. Don't you want Russia to pay a price for interfering in our election? I want the Russians to be sanctioned more for interfering in our election.
GRAHAM: The intelligence community, those in uniform and those who serve in the shadow, are really brave. Can you imagine what it's like to be a CIA person on the ground somewhere over there? So the bottom line is, they don't get much credit, because we can't talk about what they do. I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan 40 times. What have I learned? You're never going to win this war through military force alone. The budget the president's proposing cuts the State Department by over 30 percent. That is soft power. So, to President Trump, if you destroy soft power, those diplomatic tools that lead to holding and building, we'll never win this war. If you take off the table building a small schoolhouse for a poor young girl in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, to give her an education, we'll never win this war, because an education to a poor young girl is far more damaging to radical Islam than any bomb. That's got to be on the table.
"You're never going to win this war through military force alone. The budget the President's proposing cuts the State Department by over 30%. That is soft power," Graham said.
He said the United States needs a budget for projects such as "building a small school" in combat regions like Iraq and Syria. "An education for a poor young girl is far more damaging than any bomb. That's got to be on the table," he said.
Graham declared Trump's budget "dead on arrival" Tuesday, pointing to its cuts to the State Department and complaining that Trump didn't call for more significant increases in defense spending.
Graham said if the FBI determines Trump's campaign illegally coordinated with Russia, Attorney General Jeff Sessions "cannot make this decision" about whether to pursue prosecutions.
"When it comes to Russia, he has a blind spot. The bottom line is that Putin is disrupting democracy everywhere," Graham said.
GRAHAM: I believe the United States and the world needs to go on offense and stop the reason people have to leave Syria. The good people are leaving because they're being raped and murdered and some terrorists are trying to get in their ranks. The best thing the world could do for Syrian people is to create a safe haven within Syria, a no-fly zone. The best thing the United States could do to protect the homeland is go on offense, to form a regional army with the French and go on the ground to destroy their caliphate.
A: If the Iranians walk away from the table, and tried to break out and get a nuclear weapon, if we can't end their program peacefully, I would stop them. If they get a nuclear weapon, the Sunni Arabs will want a nuclear weapon of their own, and we're on the road to a nuclear arms race in the Mideast. I think a good outcome is to basically leave the interim deal in place and give the next president a chance to conclude a final agreement with the Iranians.
Known as a strong proponent of the use of American military force, Graham proposes sending 10,000 U.S. troops to fight Islamic State. He believes the U.S. ultimately will have no choice but to send more combat troops to the region. He has long advocated the use of airstrikes, applauding the White House for attacks it approved in September. Graham said in 2014 that the U.S. should work with Iran to coordinate the fight against Islamic State and to keep Iraq stable.
A: Don't think there's a snowball chance in hell that a Congress is going to approve this framework the way it's set up. The ayatollah saying he gets immediate sanction relief with no intrusive inspections.
Q: So what's your plan for a nuclear deal with Iran?
A: I will release today nine core principles of what I think a good deal will look like. Any time, anywhere inspections of military/nonmilitary facilities will be a bipartisan must. So, this idea that we can't go where we need to go is going to fail. The Chinese are talking about building five reactors for the Iranians. Any nuclear enrichment program must be limited to one reactor. At the end of the day, you can't lift sanctions until the behavior of Iran changes. They can longer be a state sponsor of terrorism before you lift sanctions down the road.
GRAHAM: Well, North Korea would be great place to sell products. They don't have anything. When America engages a country, we do so with our moral voice, just not cigars & rum. So, for the last 50 years, Cuba's gone from being an interventionist communist power in Angola to Grenada, to a backwater, poor dictatorship. And without any reason, we have changed our policy. Look in your vault of CBS News stories in 2013 and 2014 and show me one where Cuba is becoming more democratic. The Congress is not going to reinforce this policy. There will be no confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba because the Castro brothers are terrible dictators who deserve no new engagement. They deserve to be condemned and isolated.
GRAHAM: When it comes to funding any proposed embassy in Cuba, I'm in charge of all foreign aid; will do everything I can to limit to size and scope of this embassy, because you are rewarding people who kidnap Americans and who really are still communists in every way.
Q: Do you think that Cuba at this point in time represents a security threat to America?
GRAHAM: Last year, the Cubans were shipping arms to North Korea in violation of the embargo. Yes. Cuba to me represents everything that threatens us. Are we safe when somebody right off our shores practices totalitarian communism in our backyard? They were actively trying to send weapons to North Korea a year ago. Should we be worried about North Korea? Yes. Should we be worried about Cuba? Yes. And Iran is watching. I can only imagine what the ayatollahs in Iran must be saying when our president reaches out to a communist dictatorship that has done nothing to change.
GRAHAM: Make it so hard on the North Koreans, they don't want to do this in the future. Reimpose sanctions lifted by President Bush. Put them back on the state sponsor of terrorism list. Put [them] on notice that it's just not a movie [referring to "The Interview", an anti-North Korea film]. It's our way of life. They attacked who we are. And when the president calls this [North Korean cyberattack on the movie's producer Sony] an act of vandalism , that just really bothers me greatly. It is an act of terrorism. And I hope he will respond forcefully.
Q: You're not talking about taking military action against North Korea, are you?
GRAHAM: I'm talking about putting them in a spot in the world where they are diminished beyond where they are today. I'm talking about consulting with China and holding them accountable. This is the first act of cyber-warfare that's really gotten a lot of attention. How the president handles this is very important.
GRAHAM: What we've learned from these changing times is that without American leadership the world disintegrates pretty rapidly. America is the glue that holds the free world together. When you see us missing or AWOL as President Obama's been, you see fracturing on multiple fronts. Russia is more aggressive, not less. The sanctions clearly are not working. Hamas is demanding open borders. Show me a statement by Hamas leadership that recognizes the right for Israel to resist, then I would consider that request. Passive responses to naked aggression all over the world is our foreign policy. Look what ISIS has been able to do in Syria and Iraq. Without American leadership, the world gets to be a very dangerous place and our allies, like Israel and Ukraine, suffer.
GRAHAM: Well, let's look at it this way. Russia has dismembered the Ukraine, a neighboring nation. It is intimidating its neighbors. Russia has seized territory from the Ukraine. Here's what I fear with this passive response, this lack of decisive action. The Ukraine has asked for weapons to defend itself for months and we're still thinking about it. The Europeans can't lead without America setting the standard. And without American leadership organizing Europe and the world you see people like Putin.
Q: What would you do?
GRAHAM: I would come to Congress and I'd ask for additional sanctions on the entire Russian economy, Putin included. I would come to Congress and ask for money to equip and train the Ukrainian military.
No one knows for sure how much Russian President Vladimir Putin cares about what the US says or does regarding troops in Ukraine, but Putin "does care about missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic," Graham said. Putin "very much cares about democracies on his borders," Graham said, and the US should increase that concern by helping Poland and the Czech Republic, and support Georgia's bid to become a member of NATO. I would like to create a democratic noose around Putin's Russia," said Graham.
GRAHAM: Putin very much cares about democracy on his borders. I would like to create a democratic noose around Putin's Russia. Let's accelerate Georgia's admission into NATO. Moldavia is under siege by Russia. Let's help Moldavia, Poland and the Czech Republic. We abandoned our missile defense agreements with them to protect Europe from a rogue missile attack coming out of the Mideast. Russia backed Obama down. If I were President Obama, I would reengage Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defense. I would admit Georgia to NATO. I would have a larger military presence in the Balkans to NATO members who are threatened by Russia. I would fly the NATO flag as strongly as I could around Putin. I would suspend his membership in the G-8, be the G-7. And every day he stays in the Ukraine, I would add to it.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:
Excerpts from Letter from 73 Senators to Secretary of State Kerry We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the Palestinian Authority is not a state and its express intent is to use this process to threaten Israel.
Pres. Abbas' effort contravene the spirit of earlier agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and erodes the prospect for peace. Therefore, the US must make clear that joining the ICC is not a legitimate or viable path for Palestinians.
Israel is a major strategic partner of the US and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimize its very existence. The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, "U.S. Should Not Join the ICC," Aug. 18, 2009): The ICC prosecutor is exploring a request by the Palestinian National Authority to prosecute Israeli commanders for alleged war crimes committed during the recent actions in Gaza. Palestinian lawyers maintain that the Palestinian National Authority can request ICC jurisdiction as the de facto sovereign even though it is not an internationally recognized state. By countenancing Palestine's claims, the ICC prosecutor has enabled pressure to be applied to Israel over alleged war crimes, while ignoring Hamas's incitement of the military action and its commission of war crimes against Israeli civilians. Furthermore, by seemingly recognizing Palestine as a sovereign entity, the prosecutor's action has created a pathway for Palestinian statehood without first reaching a comprehensive peace deal with Israel. This determination is an inherently political issue beyond the ICC's authority.
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Congressional Summary: A resolution expressing strong support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enter into a Membership Action Plan with Georgia and Ukraine:
Legislative Outome: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.
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