Foreign Policy

New START: A missile-defense-friendly treaty

It is ironic that critics of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) use missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START has cleared the path for missile defense.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on New START

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Hi, everybody.  Nice to be back in familiar surroundings.  Let me start by thanking the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for hosting a breakfast this morning with leadership from both the House and the Senate on some of the most critical national security issues facing our country.  And in particular, I want to thank both Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar for their outstanding leadership on the New START Treaty.  With their stewardship, this treaty is ready to be voted on by the United States Senate.  They have held a dozen hearings.  Other committees have held an additional half dozen.  They crafted a resolution of ratification, incorporating input from senators on both sides of the aisle and they were ultimately able to usher the treaty through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a strong, bipartisan vote of 14 to 4.

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Don't extend the timeline for withdrawing from Afghanistan (Rep. Lynn Woolsey)

About a year ago, the president of the United States quite clearly laid out a plan to begin redeploying troops out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. It was not soon enough for me, but it demonstrated at least the recognition that this could not go on forever and a commitment to do the right thing, the thing that the majority of Americans want, bring our troops home, was on the table.

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Failing to ratify New START has real consequences

When the Senate returns to complete their work for this session, they will undoubtedly have a lot on their plate. America's military leadership, however, has made clear that for them, scheduling a vote on the ratification of the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia should be a top priority.

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Arming the Kingdom

With the election behind us, and representatives still celebrating (or not) back in their home states, time is running out to affect a foreign policy matter that will have lasting implications on global stability for decades. On October 20th the White House sent details to the U.S. Congress of the largest arms sale in American history, which prompted the 30 calendar day countdown for Congress to object to it before it automatically goes through. This sale is a $60 billion package of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia. When the elected officials return to Washington on November 15th, they will have four days to act if they have an objection. While an outright objection is very unlikely, it would be unwise to let this arms deal sail through without serious oversight from the Congress.

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It's time to get serious about North Korean nuclear proliferation (Rep. Pete Hoekstra)

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement after excerpts of an upcoming United Nations report on North Korean nuclear proliferation activities appeared in the press:

The United Nations will apparently confirm what many in the international community already know — that North Korea is led by a rogue regime that is actively trafficking in nuclear material with other rogue nations. North Korea, Iran, Syria and Burma are four countries where it is in no nation’s interest to see nuclear weapon and ballistic missile proliferation activities. Yet we are confronted repeatedly by public and international reports of their efforts to purchase and proliferate weapons of mass destruction.

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Direct payments to Pakistan’s flood victims: A smart option for US assistance

Pakistan clearly has an urgent need for swift, effective aid in the wake of its catastrophic summer of floods. Infrastructure has suffered unprecedented damage, and as many as 1.6 million households, mostly rural, have lost their homes and possessions. Beyond relief efforts to provide urgent needs—food, water, medical care, and temporary shelter—the priority of the Pakistani government and its international partners will be helping those directly affected get back on their feet and rebuild their lives. What is the best way to help? Even before the floods, spending aid money well in Pakistan was not going to be easy. In 2009, Congress pledged $7.5 billion in non-military aid over five years, but only a tiny fraction of that money has been disbursed. Finding channels (either inside or outside the Pakistani government) where the United States could be confident that dysfunction and corruption would not siphon away too much of the aid has been a challenge. That challenge is still present in the context of the flood reconstruction effort.

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Senate needs to confirm ambassadors to Turkey and Azerbaijan

Turkey is a significant political and economic actor that has played a crucial role in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe in the last decade. The country is a valuable ally to the US and NATO in maintaining peace and stability as we deal with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, aggressive rhetoric from Iran, and the omnipresent threat of international terrorism.  It is also home to an incredibly rich culture, a thriving economy, and a dynamic, young population.

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Saudi arms deal is about Iran (Rep. Ron Paul)

This month the US Administration notified Congress that it intends to complete one of the largest arms sales in US history to one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Saudi Arabia has been given the green light by the administration to spend $60 billion on some 84 new F-15 aircraft, dozens of the latest helicopters, and other missiles, bombs, and high-tech military products from the US weapons industry. 

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Azerbaijan: A reliable partner in a turbulent region

Why have President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates all had private meetings with Azerbaijan President Aliyev during the past four months?  The announcement that Pakistani authorities have closed the principle U.S. military supply route into Afghanistan perfectly illustrates the importance of this South Carolina sized secular Muslim country sandwiched between a resurgent Russia and extremist Iran.  President Obama’s meeting with President Aliyev a few weeks ago in New York was to thank him for Azerbaijan’s commitment to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

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