Foreign Affairs and Defense
The most important function of government is to ensure the safety of its citizens. We must continue to make critical investments in our national security and strengthen our partnerships abroad. However, I also believe that the choice between our values and our safety is a false one. We face many challenges abroad, but I am fully committed to our proud tradition of engaged, sustained, and competent global leadership.
Ending the War in Afghanistan
The situation in Afghanistan is incredibly complex. We cannot stand idly by while the region becomes a safe haven for terrorists. However, it has become clear that a conventional military occupation and mission of nation building will not succeed. I believe that we should reduce our presence in Afghanistan as rapidly as possible and reshape our mission to focus exclusively on counterterrorism. This will require some presence in the region, but one considerably smaller than that required by our present strategy of nation-building. Our presence should be just large enough to disrupt and destroy any terrorist infrastructure that develops in the region but no larger.
Reductions in Nuclear Weapons
The threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon is one of the gravest dangers facing Americans today. I fully support President Obama’s comprehensive strategy of non-proliferation and nuclear security, and pledge to do all I can to push for a world free of nuclear weapons. I have been proud to support several measures to strengthen sanctions against Iran, including the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, the toughest sanctions against Iran ever passed by the United States. It is critical that we do more to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and see that countries that break the rules face the consequences.
Promoting Peace and Security in Israel and the Middle East
A two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine live within recognized, peaceful and secure borders has long been a key goal of a decades-long process. I wholeheartedly support this goal. The Israeli and Palestinian peoples deserve and require nothing less. Unfortunately, the situation is more complicated than it has been for a long time. Popular uprisings have rocked the Middle East and left an oft unsettled region even more volatile. As these revolutions continue to unfold and Iran remains a threat, the pressure on the peace process builds. The recent partnership between the Palestinian Authority and the terrorists of Hamas is disheartening.
Throughout the process, we must never forget that Israel is the sole functioning democracy and our most reliable ally in the Middle East. Its history, politics, and thriving economy create a special and unbreakable bond between Americans and Israelis, and I will continue to support measures which strengthen our nation’s relationship with this critical partner. Through the continued support of Congress for investments in the security and development of the region, I hope that we can begin to make progress towards a just and lasting peace.
Supporting Development Abroad
Targeted, effective international aid programs ease the suffering of millions each day and are among the very best investments we can make in our national security and long-term prosperity. Having spent much of my youth in Latin America, where my father worked for the Ford Foundation, I have a deep personal interest in America’s relationships abroad. I strongly believe in programs and partnerships that help our neighbors in developing nations build healthy and productive communities.