We just happened to have a #MA3 Congressional candidate foreign policy and national security candidate debate earlier this week, and then we had the latest in tariff escalations, the G7 meeting, and all that both signify.
Building on what I said at the debate and the events of the last few days, I want to emphasize why I say we can’t afford to wait until 2020 to curb the Administration’s recklessness abroad, especially the President. It must start in 2018, and it’s why we need more members of Congress with career national security expertise.
The President is undermining our best alliances- with allies who fought and died with us from WWI to Afghanistan – with tariffs to score political points. He is transparently refusing to sign off on documents based on Twitter-pique— after the Administration had nearly rejected them because of objection to the phrase “rules-based international order”. Which we built with those allies after WWII. And in parallel with all this- he courts Russia to return to a G8, days after a report concluding Russian forces did shoot down Malaysian Air flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, murdering hundreds of Allied citizens.
Some say there is little that Congress can do about this, or little or nothing that one Member of Congress can do, especially a new Member. Unacceptable. Fatalism and Congress not wanting to be involved in the messy business of war and peace when high dollar fundraisers are calling is how we have come to this. For my part, I’m going to Congress to serve, not to pass the buck or to collect bucks in the form of checks.
Prosperity at home for working and middle-class people requires peace and security abroad, and that requires action.
Congress can and must block the Administration on further tariff action, reclaiming trade powers they ceded in 1962 legislation. Congress can and must tear up the Administration’s blank check for military action by repealing the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force and replacing it with new legislation and an updated War Powers Act. Congress can and must make it illegal for any President to launch a nuclear first strike. Congress can and must block Administration arms deals that will fuel humanitarian disasters. Congress can and must use the intel, foreign affairs and armed services oversight committees to compel the Administration to keep our alliances intact at the working level— while in parallel Congress must keep up parliamentary contacts with our allies, too, to preserve some goodwill and American soft power at the political level. Congress must reclaim all the national security powers it has ceded in recent decades, along with a real sense of shared responsibility — not just in the oversight committees or on patriotic holidays— about our place in the world.
Others can ignore this, procrastinate, or despair. Not me. I’ll be ready on day one in Congress to be both a workhorse who will offer my expertise, and a leader to bring others together as equal partners in the cause, across parties if I can, and I will get as much of all this as I can done in Congress.
As always, I welcome your comments, feedback, or questions on this topic or any other. Apologies in advance if it takes a little time to respond– I write these posts and follow-up comments myself without the help of staff, and there are only so many hours in the day!