For the last seven years, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, gaining an understanding of America's challenges abroad. We need a new generation of Congressional leaders who think globally and are prepared to address issues outside of our borders.
Defending Our Homeland
I can't stress enough the post-9/11 challenges of providing America with a strong national defense. Today we are confronted with a very real enemy who hates all that America stands for. I support a strong national defense to confront this enemy.
Future generations of Americans will also benefit from how well we integrate those concerns into law enforcement, border security, immigration, and how we treat our military veterans. And, believe me, America's dependence on foreign oil is a national security issue. No matter how you diagnose the problem, or from what perspective, it is clear that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Paulsen on the United States-Israel Partnership
My Personal Perspective: In my middle school and high school years I first studied and learned about the horrors inflicted during World War II by the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. Last summer, I visited Auschwitz and walked the sidewalks of Berlin over the "tripping stones." This experience reminded me of what I have always believed: that the need of every Jew in the world to have a place to live in safety and freedom is fundamental.
United States-Israel Strategic Interests: Since Israel's establishment in 1948, the United States and Israel have strongly supported each other's strategic interests in foreign and economic policies. Israel, as the only long-standing, stable democracy in the Middle East, is the United States' number one ally in the region. The threats that Israel has faced throughout its history are also threats to the United States -- as the horrific events of September 11, 2001 have proven. Accordingly, the strong, strategic partnership that the United States and Israel enjoy must not only continue, it must be strengthened.
Foreign aid remains a powerful and necessary form of ensuring Israel can thrive and defend itself against real threats from hostile nations. Foreign aid sent to Israel is well spent and a smart, strategic investment for the United States. The aid is used not only to build Israel's military defense against hostile neighbors, but also to invest in research, trade, military innovations and other endeavors important to America. The United States and Israel regularly collaborate and share military intelligence, which has saved American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress should not only continue foreign aid to Israel, but also provide additional aid that is targeted specifically for Israel to meet the threats it faces on a daily basis to its freedom and security.
Israel's Capital: The United States must insist that Jerusalem remain the capital of Israel and under the control of Israel. Congress must act and acknowledge this fact and provide funding to locate a United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
The Peace Process: Israel has clearly demonstrated that it prefers to exist peacefully and has constructed a secure border to protect itself from hostile neighbors and terrorists. Since 1948,
Israel has made major concessions of land in exchange for peace in the Middle East no fewer than three times. Most recently, Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, ceding control to the Palestinians, only to be met with a daily barrage of rocket attacks on Israel's innocent, civilian population. The United States must continue to strongly support Israel in its pursuit for peace and need to defend itself from these and other nefarious attacks. In addition, the United States should take an active role in supporting Israel's pursuit for peace and press the Palestinians to live up to their obligations under past peace agreements. The Palestinian Authority cannot live up to its agreement while continuing to recruit, train and support terrorists who attack Israel.
Iran's Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons: Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is a fast, emerging threat against Israel and the United States. Intelligence obtained by Israel and the United States reveals that Iran is now in advanced stages in its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Iran continues to defy orders by the United Nations Security Council to cease in its efforts and provide inspectors access to their facilities.
Congress should continue to implement economic sanctions against Iran, and assist in efforts to cut off the flow of money, weapons and infrastructure to Iran. In addition, the United States should not allow private businesses to conduct trade or enter into agreements with Iran either directly or indirectly. As a state legislator, I strongly encouraged Governor Tim Pawlenty to block state support for a new manufacturing facility located in Minnesota whose parent company allegedly had business dealings with Iran. I remain strongly opposed to any interaction or agreement that allows any United States business or individual to have direct or indirect dealings with Iran.
In Congress, I will support any and all efforts to halt Iran's continued acquisition of nuclear weapons including the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 and the Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006. I will also support any efforts within the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council to impose further economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iran.