Robert Hurt: National security calls for realism, not idealism
Developments on the world stage in recent weeks have yet again demonstrated that President Obama’s foreign policy fails to address the threats facing the United States and our allies. We live in a dangerous world, yet our failure to lead on the world’s stage emboldens aggressors who seek power at the expense of innocents. This unchecked aggression generates instability and exacerbates turmoil in places already embroiled in conflict.
Time and time again, the Obama Administration has been far too trusting in those who seek power through aggression. In recent months, much of our attention has focused on the Islamic State and radical Islamic terrorists, yet other threats persist and grow around the world and thanks to the accommodative approach of this administration. It is unrealistic to expect that power-hungry leaders with dubious track records will be honest brokers in high-stakes negotiations that implicate the safety of both our country and our allies.
Take Iran for example; emboldened and reinvigorated by the short-sighted nuclear deal with the U.S. and key allies, Iran has been testing ballistic missiles in direct defiance of that agreement. The Obama Administration does little to hold the rogue nation accountable to the terms of the deal, jeopardizing the safety of our allies in the region and souring our relations. This week, President Obama met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in an effort to reassure a key ally that this deal with Iran is not detrimental to their country and the region. Saudi Arabia has vehemently opposed the Iran nuclear deal and has a bird’s eye view of the regime’s ambitions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a vitally important partner in the fight against ISIS, yet the Iran nuclear deal has proven to be a source of great contention for us in the region, weakening ties with very important allies in the effort to combat Islamic extremism.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have also continued to ramp up as Russia has begun to boost its submarine fleet near levels reached during the Cold War. And Russian jets flew incredibly close to a U.S. Naval vessel and an American reconnaissance aircraft – acts of extreme provocation. While we are unsure what exactly is motivating these actions, given Russia’s aggressive posturing in Syria and their broadsides against the Ukraine, it is likely that these actions signal increased efforts to fill the void in the world left by our decreased presence on the world stage in hopes of expanding their influence. Wagging a finger and lecturing a strongman like Vladimir Putin will not deter these hostile activities; more must be done to deter such aggression.
With tensions mounting around the globe, the Obama Administration continues to insist on a foreign policy based on peace through accommodation in the face of unacceptable behavior and very real threats. It is high time we stand up and acknowledge these threats which are degrading the safety and stability of our country, work with our allies, and rebuild our standing in the world.
Issues of national security are too important to leave to idealism and wishful thinking. We must remain vigilant and resolute in keeping nation and allies safe. I will continue to advocate for a foreign policy that promotes peace through strength. Under Article One of the Constitution, Congress has no greater responsibility than to provide for the defense of our great country. In the House, national security remains a top priority, and I urge our colleagues in the Senate and the President to join us in this vital effort.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.