Libya: What happens next?

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The outpouring of support for the victims’ families shows our passion for the people who serve our nation, our unwavering values and ideals as American citizens, and our resolve to make our voices rise above the acts of extremists.

That is how we as Americans react in the face of adversity. We stand together. We stand strong.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan exemplified America’s resolve when he showed the world that attacks against America would not be tolerated.

Today, the absence of strong American leadership in the world is causing increased fear and damaged relationships with allies we have often relied upon.

Every day I hear from concerned leaders and citizens that the world does not know where the United States stands. It is past time to stand side by side with our friends, and to make certain our enemies know America means to stand strong.

It is troubling when leaders like Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu make statements like, "The world tells Israel: ‘Wait, there's still time.' And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?'”

Vague U.S. foreign policy is failing our country and our allies.

We must show the world we are determined to keep Iran from crossing a certain nuclear threshold. Instead we offer more failed rhetoric while Iran continues its destructive path, promoting nuclear development with little fear that some unknown trigger will be tripped.

This administration’s foreign policy is worrisome. It has put American diplomats in harm’s way, caused U.S. citizens to be jailed unjustly with no end in sight, and led to increasing instability on the world stage. 

Our enemies are not bound by borders; they operate all over the world, motivated by their obsessive goal of harming the United States and Israel. They continue to receive shocking amounts of support from anti-Western governments and organizations.

The Obama Administration has enabled these groups to strengthen. The administration has led us down an unclear and contradictory path, giving space for Iran to threaten Israel’s existence, and innocent people in Syria to be slaughtered.

The world is a complicated and dangerous place. There is no easy solution. But our economy and our nation’s future demand strong American leadership.

Punishment for the murder of U.S. diplomats must be swift and aggressive. In Libya, there must be a renewed focus on protecting U.S. citizens from the arsenals of weapons left behind from Gaddafi’s forces.

We must focus on marginalizing extremists, undercutting their ability to utilize terror and insurgent tactics to undermine the interests of the United States and our allies. That means cutting off their financial support networks and neutralizing hate-filled rhetoric by loudly and resolutely offering, through both our words and actions, a clear and consistent alternative – our values of freedom, security, and prosperity.

We mourn our loss and must ensure justice is swift.

But what happens next is critical. The world must know, as Ronald Reagan showed, that when our enemies attack our people, it is an attack on our freedom and our way of life. And that we will always defend our nation and stand with our allies without question.

Mack is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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