The threat of ISIS, the uncertainty of North Korea, and new threats like the Russian attack on U.S. elections make this a stressful time. The destructive bluster, casual threats, and illogical thinking of our leadership have done harm to our reputation and national security. While international relations are generally a function of the Senate, the implemented policies affect our citizens. We need to follow policies that lower the temperature of conflict and encourage cooperation. We must return to diplomacy. Possible initiatives include:
- Work to help allies reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas. This will allow them to more actively oppose Putin when needed.
- Expand trade to boost economic growth and provide new strategic ties to Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The current approach of treaties with individual countries is limiting trade and driving former trading partners to seek new relationships.
- Continue back-channel dialogues with Beijing and Seoul on the future of the Korean peninsula.
- Use our foreign policy as a tool to encourage trade and exchange of ideas, and to mitigate threats.
- Focus our policy on helping other nations improve their economies, educational opportunities, and quality-of-life issues.
I am a wholehearted believer in Teddy Roosevelt’s doctrine of “walk softly, but carry a big stick.” We must have a strong national defense, but I oppose preemptive strikes. Only after all possible attempts at diplomacy will I vote to risk our nation’s blood and treasure. We cannot invade, bomb, and shoot our way to peace. This is a new world that requires new thinking.