The safety of Americans at home and abroad must be a top priority for the federal government. We need a strong, well-funded military, but we also need clearly defined goals. We must focus our efforts where our national interests are clearly at stake by supporting our staunchest allies, such as Israel and the countries of NATO. We must also continue to protect our citizens against terrorist threats here and abroad.
Israel - It is a strategic imperative and moral necessity for the United States to preserve its close relationship with the State of Israel. Since the beginning of the modern Jewish state in 1948, the United States and Israel have shared a special bond. This relationship is based on shared values, including our mutual commitment to democracy, the rule of law, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Israel stands alone as the preeminent democracy in a region of repressive totalitarian regimes -- and she remains our most steadfast democratic ally in the Middle East. The United States and Israel face a common threat from radical Islamic terrorism -- and we must stand together in this fight for freedom and democracy.
I will work to increase oversight of U.S. assistance to Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and multilateral organizations like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to ensure taxpayer funds are never used to support terrorism, weaken Israel's security or undermine U.S. foreign policy. UNRWA should be pressured to allow an independent audit of its expenditures to ensure no funds benefit Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Egypt must remain a partner in combating terrorism by stopping the flow of Iranian arms into Gaza.
Iran - The United States must take strong and immediate actions to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Israel -- it is a threat to the United States, Europe and our allies around the globe. President Ahmadinejad's threats to "wipe Israel off the map" and his denials of the Holocaust reflect a dangerous ideology that threatens world peace. Strong action is needed now for diplomacy to succeed.
I support the United States in using all diplomatic, political and economic measures available to remove the threat posed by Iran. Such measures could include increasing economic sanctions on the current regime and the country's central bank; increasing sanctions against foreign suppliers, insurers and brokers of gasoline; and support for democracy groups inside Iran. As a member of Congress, I would vote for the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which would limit Iran's ability to import refined petroleum products. I would also support the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies investing in Iran's petroleum and natural gas sector and protects fund managers who divest from such companies from potential lawsuits.
Afghanistan - Afghanistan would again become an unfettered terrorist training ground capable of perpetrating gross atrocities around the world if NATO and America withdrew now. I therefore support President Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. The President must provide clear objectives to his military commanders, and follow their recommendations about how to achieve those objectives as quickly as possible. President Obama should not have publicly announced the date to begin withdrawing troops. In doing so he undermined the mission. The enemy in that region is certainly capable of going underground for a defined period of time and reemerging after our date for departure. We must set benchmarks for success instead of timelines for withdrawal.