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Graham outlines national security agenda in speech

(Prezography photo)

(Prezography photo)

By The Iowa Statesman

 

During a speech given this morning at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham outlined his national security agenda, highlighting what he says shows he’s “ready to be Commander-in-Chief from Day One.” At the onset of the speech, he made the following comments.

“Today’s event comes while the United States is at a crossroads.  We have had six years of failed leadership under President Barack Obama, and he shows no signs of changing course.  As recently as Monday of this week, he claimed that our strategy against ISIL is working and that we’re more prepared to deal with major attacks against the homeland. The president constantly oversells our successes and minimizes the threats that our nation faces. There is no coherent strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL, and there are more radical Islamic groups with the capacity and desire to strike our homeland than at any time since 9-11. Our defenses are being overwhelmed by the number of threats.  And as the threats grow we continue to cut our budget and embrace strategies that are designed not to destroy ISIL but to pass this problem along to the next president.  Simply put, President Obama’s foreign policy has been a disaster, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was one of its chief architects.

“The upcoming presidential election presents Americans with a real choice.  For a few, turning our backs to the world as Rand Paul is proposing may be attractive. Others may want to continue down the Obama-Clinton path of appeasement in an effort to avoid conflict.  If so, Hillary Clinton is your clear choice.  I would argue that both of these options pose a great threat to the American homeland, and I am here to present another path. One in which we can restore our relationship with friends like Israel, bolster allies such as those in NATO, and let foes like Iran know that when an American president speaks, they need to be taken seriously.  A path in which we achieve security through strength.”

Key objectives of the Graham policy are:

Develop Capability, Capacity, And Will
We must demonstrate we have superior capability, overwhelming capacity, and determined will to protect our nation and confront the forces that threaten global stability and security.  Friends and foes alike must see we will no longer capitulate to our adversaries, alienate our allies, or abandon those who are confronting the naked aggressions of dictatorial regimes.  We will reclaim our leadership role — backed by the necessary resources and resolve — and confront head-on the threats to our security. The plan is very simple: whatever it takes, as long as it takes, until we defeat them.

Present Clear, Comprehensive Strategies For Directly Taking On Threats
From Iran’s nuclear ambitions and growing regional influence, to the rise of ISIL and Radical Islam, to Putin’s aggressions in Eastern and Central Europe, to China’s assault on freedom of navigation in the Asia Pacific region, the forces of violence and chaos are going unchecked.  We must develop a global strategy for enhancing our security and our leadership role in a dangerous world

Provide The Necessary Resources To Deploy Both Hard And Soft Power
We cannot secure our nation or reassert American leadership abroad while gutting our military or our ability to engage in development and diplomacy. Sequestration’s non-strategic across-the-board cuts have diminished our capabilities while failing to address our national debt, which is itself a long-term threat to our security and prosperity.  We must restore support for vital national security programs while addressing the largest source of our current and future debt — entitlement spending — through fundamental reforms that fully fund our security needs, rein in our debt, and put us on a secure and sustainable path.

Key initiatives of the Graham policy are:

Iran
Prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, which could be deployed against the U.S., Israel, or other allies, or shared with radical Islamic groups.

  • Reject a bad deal.  The current talks are on the brink of flooding Tehran with cash at the very outset, and ultimately making Iran a nuclear threshold state.  This is a direct threat to Israel, the region, the United States, and the world.
  • Return to the negotiating table only when Iran is prepared to accept terms that will end its nuclear weapons ambitions and its support for terrorism.  This includes:

o Anywhere, anytime inspections

o A full accounting of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear programs

o Sanctions relief only after Iran has fully complied with the terms of the deal and ended its support for terrorism in the region

Rebuild a strong regional coalition with our Israeli and Arab allies to not only prevent a nuclear Iran, but to address its rising influence, its support for terrorists, its destabilizing efforts, and its conventional military build-up.

  • Repair and rebuild our relationship with the State of Israel.  This long-standing partnership with our close friend and only democratic ally in the Middle East is the bedrock of any hope for peace in the region.
  • Ensure our regional allies have the resources — including weapons and defensive technology — to effectively combat Iran’s aggressions.

Iraq, Syria, And The Rise Of ISIL
Send a force of 10,000 troops in support of a coordinated regional effort to reestablish stability and put radical extremist groups like ISIL in a box.  A force of this size would allow us to train and advise Iraqi forces at the battalion level, and would be part of a comprehensive strategy that will:

  • Arm, train, and equip moderate forces, including the Kurds, who are taking the fight to ISIL and Bashar Al-Assad
  • Create safe zones, backed by no-fly zones
  • Aggressively apply air power, including attack helicopters
  • Expand intelligence operations
  • Fully utilize special operations capability to apply constant pressure on ISIL’s leadership

Work in concert with our regional allies to develop a regional solution to the conflict in Syria and the spread of radical extremist groups.

  • Our military presence and objectives in the region are not unilateral and cannot be allowed to be portrayed as such.  This is a joint effort for security and stability that demands both U.S. leadership and broad regional cooperation.
  • We must lead a united effort with the full support and involvement of our key partners – including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt — in order to ensure our success while limiting the burden on American troops and taxpayers.
  • The execution of a regional effort – including the timing of the withdrawal of U.S. troops – must be based on a coherent strategy and circumstances on the ground, so that our gains are not reversed and our sacrifices squandered.

Provide necessary humanitarian assistance, particularly in Syria, to combat the conditions of a failing state, which breed violence and can lead to the creation of terrorist safe havens.

  • Syria is the source of the world’s most acute refugee and IDP crisis, in the midst of a conflict that has already resulted in over 200,000 dead, half of which are civilians.  The human costs are incalculable, while the devastation and chaos create a vacuum filled by ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and Iran.
  • The destabilizing impact of this crisis is not only felt in Syria, but also in partner nations like Jordan, posing further threats to our security.  Our humanitarian support is an essential stabilizing force.

Afghanistan
We must maintain an effective counter-terrorism and intelligence presence in Afghanistan, particularly along the border with Pakistan, in order to bolster the capacity of the Afghan government to maintain security and ensure that we do not squander the gains and sacrifices of U.S. troops throughout over a decade of fighting.

  • Leave in place the current force of 9,800 troops
  • Keep our forces in place until conditions on the ground warrant our withdrawal

Sequestration
End the sequester that is gutting our armed forces and leaving us vulnerable to attack.  Ensure our military and intelligence professionals have the resources necessary to protect the homeland and confront global threats at the source.

Our military capability and readiness are already diminished.

  • Lost flight hours for pilots
  • Lost steaming days for Sailors and Marines
  • Cancelled exercises and theater security cooperation with key allies
  • Reduced modernization levels
  • Unacceptable readiness levels for home units
  • Bigger burden on troops and military families with higher deployment-to-dwell times

Replace the sequester with comprehensive tax, spending, and entitlement reform.

  • The sequester is an acute threat to our security, while our national debt poses long-term challenges.
  • Only a comprehensive approach to our debt that includes structural reforms to make our entitlement programs solvent and sustainable, while making our tax regime simpler and more pro-growth, will restore confidence in our future security and prosperity.

End the sequester’s cuts to military capacity-building efforts.

  • Fully restore Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funding, which ensures our partners have the necessary tools to confront the rise of ISIL, Iranian-backed terrorist organizations, and other radical Islamic groups.
  • Key allies in this effort include nations such as Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.

Putin’s Russia
Strong, secure, united allies in Eastern and Central Europe, backed by the firm resolve of a U.S.-led trans-Atlantic alliance, are an essential bulwark against a belligerent Putin.

  • Immediately and dramatically increase natural gas exports to our European allies to undercut Putin’s greatest source of leverage in the region
  • Support our Ukrainian friends with arms and defensive technology, intelligence sharing, economic assistance, humanitarian assistance, and capacity-building efforts.
  • Expand and stiffen sanctions against Russia, including personal sanctions against Putin and his top lieutenants, such as visa bans and asset freezes.
  • Reinvigorate our NATO partnerships and firm up the resolve of our allies to fully commit to the long-term strength and viability of the alliance.

China
Only strong U.S. leadership and presence in the Asia Pacific region, in close cooperation with allies like Japan, India, and the Philippines, will ensure that Beijing cannot restrict freedom of movement and the flow of commerce through vital sea lanes and unilaterally impose its claims in disputed territory.  A clear demonstration of U.S. resolve is also necessary for confronting China’s use of non-conventional provocations, such as cyber attacks.

  • Provide a robust defense of freedom of navigation in international waters, particularly in the South China Sea.
  • Engage closely with our partners in the region who are looking to the U.S. for leadership to act as a counterbalance to China’s aggressions and prevent China from perpetrating its land grabs with impunity.
  • Respond decisively to Beijing’s provocations in cyber space and develop a clear strategy for deterring future attacks.

Development And Diplomacy
Use all tools at our disposal, including soft power initiatives, to combat extremism, strengthen partnerships, and secure our homeland.

  • Support capacity-building efforts for economic and political institutions, which help our allies to be better partners for global security.
  • Engage in cost-effective development efforts that alieve humanitarian crises and provide for a more hopeful, more prosperous future in the developing world, so that we can choke off support for violent extremism at the source
  • Recommit to our key strategic partnerships with nations like Israel, in order to restore trust and confidence in our capability, capacity, and will to lead and ensure greater global security and stability.

Africa

  • More fully incorporate Africa into our comprehensive strategy against the rise of Radical Islam, which extends well beyond the Middle East into the Magreb, the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and throughout the continent.
  • Provide humanitarian assistance and participate in economic development, which are key to building the capacity of African nations to promote security and create opportunity, as well as providing an essential counterbalance to China’s growing influence on the continent.

Latin America

  • Empower those nations that are actively turning away from the Venezuelan and Cuban models of oppression and command-and-control economies.
  • Support democratic and economic development and capacity here in our own hemisphere.
  • Reject President Obama’s policy of appeasement with the Castro Regime.  We should change our Cuba policy only when the Cuban government itself changes and demonstrates that it respects human rights and the individual liberties of its own citizens.