October 23rd, 2019
As a Marine who served multiple combat tours in Iraq fighting a war I wish we hadn’t started, I know how important it is to make smart national security decisions.
The terrorist group known as the Islamic State (ISIS) is a national security threat to the United States. Its forces have brutally murdered Americans abroad and aim to kill Americans here at home. We must develop a strategy to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups, but it has to be a long-term, sustainable strategy, built not just on isolated military victories but on long-term political unity against this generational threat to the world community. A serious political strategy will put the Iraqis on a path toward stability and ensures our troops’ efforts won’t be in vain.
To learn more about my views on the Middle East, please click here.
While serving as an officer in the Marine Corps, I also witnessed the importance of foreign aid. In Iraq, international development aid unquestionably saved the lives of American troops by giving us an important tool to build support and aid Iraqi allies. My experience in Iraq also showed me that insufficient foreign aid can lead to further instability and put more U.S. lives at risk. I am confident that a concentrated effort to promote post-conflict recovery in Iraq could have helped to prevent the rapid rise of ISIS.
Foreign aid programs comprise less than one percent of our total federal budget, yet these programs are paramount to promoting our national interests and security. The infrastructure building programs provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, and the U.S. military are essential to building good will abroad, and protecting basic human rights. Funding for foreign aid is smart diplomacy, and I strongly support these programs.
I delivered a foreign policy address at the Atlantic Council as part of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s flagship series, “America’s Role in the World.” My speech, “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy: American Foreign Policy for the Next President,” can be viewed below and my prepared remarks are here.
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