As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’ve seen firsthand how America’s active role in the world reduces poverty, promotes democracy, and maintains global stability. I believe the United States has a mission to be engaged in the world as a beacon of hope. There have been times over the past decade where we have forgotten that mission, and as a result, we have seen an increase in violent conflict and human suffering.
For the sake of national and international security, the United States must continue to push for the advancement of basic human rights and democratic reforms for people across the world.
The United States of America was put on this Earth to be an example of self-governance and order in a world drowning in strongmen, oppression, and poverty. Serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), I believe the following areas need strong scrutiny by Congress:
People’s Republic of China
What was once seen as the most promising economic relationship in the world has turned into an area of great concern for many Americans. The People’s Republic of China, and their communist leadership, has taken an increasingly aggressive approach towards the United States and freedom-loving people around the world. As such, the United States can no longer view China simply as an economic competitor. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has evolved into a clear and present national security threat that must be addressed now. Over the past few years, the CCP has built a nuclear arsenal that threatens the United States, has committed gross human rights violations against minorities, and has suppressed democracy in Hong Kong.
While being named to the House’s China Task Force has allowed me to lead the discussion as it relates to the CCP, I have also introduced the following legislation to address these issues:
As a result of the 2009 diplomatic reset with Russia, we have seen an increasingly aggressive and confident Russian Federation led by Vladimir Putin. By failing to curb their illegal incursions into Georgia, we only emboldened our former Soviet foe, resulting in the annexation of Ukrainian territory in Crimea and their use of hybrid warfare across Europe.
Following the 2016 election, it was determined by the heads of American intelligence agencies that Russia had developed and executed a strategy to influence the American elections through online propaganda operations. This kind of action is a direct assault on American democracy. In response to this, and other blatant malicious activities from the Kremlin, I introduced the following legislation:
The ongoing conflict in Syria has reached epic proportions with over half a million dead Syrians, including more than 50,000 children. Since 2011, the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad has murdered its people, destroyed civilian infrastructure, and forced families from their homes with indiscriminate bombings. These actions, supported by Russia and Iran, continue to destabilize the region and will inevitably lead to the creation of the next generation of terror. It is in our national security interests to see a solution to the Syrian conflict that will allow for a free Syria.
In that vein, I introduce the No Assistance for Assad Act, which would ensure the safety of the Syrian people by conditioning reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Assad-controlled territories on commitments to human rights, a political transition, and the safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people.
In the 116th Congress, I was proud to help lead the strongest sanctions against the Assad regime to date. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act (H.R. 31), which I was a strong advocate of, applies sanctions to those responsible for the human suffer in Syria, include Bashar Al-Assad and his family. This legislation became law.
Islamic Republic of Iran
I’m also deeply concerned about Iran’s hostile actions. Another war in the region could be disastrous for the United States, Israel and its neighbors. The security of the United States requires that we fully commit to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Additionally, Iran - through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah, and other proxy forces – continues to work to sow dissent and chaos throughout the region. To counter Iran’s malicious activity in the Middle East, I introduced the Preventing Iranian Destabilization of Iraq Act of 2017 (H.R. 571), which would impose sanctions with respect to Iranian persons who threaten the peace and stability of Iraq.
With respect to Israel, they are one of our strongest democratic allies in the region. That is why they need our support and help to promote peace with its neighbors. Stability and security in the Middle East is in the best interest of region, the United States, and our allies around the world. I am glad to see that many countries in the region are beginning to normalize relations with Israel as this will only make the world a safer place.