Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

Foreign Relations

The United States faces a wide range of international challenges, including threats to our national security, economy, environment, and commitment to basic human rights. As the President works to rebuild America’s position in the world, we have tremendous opportunities to establish new partnerships and strengthen old ones that will help us address the challenges of the 21st century.

As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, I am focused on improving the effectiveness of U.S. diplomatic, economic, and military engagement in the Asia Pacific Region to help create a regional set of norms that lead to greater peace, stability and economic growth. The U.S. and Asian economies are tied together and as they grow, our opportunities do too. Asia accounts for more than one-quarter of global GDP, and over the next five years, nearly half of all growth outside the United States is expected to come from Asia. It is important to remember that the fundamental respect for the human rights of every person, every woman, man and child, is the underpinning to security and prosperity. Good governance, which includes a respect for human rights, is key to economic growth. In our relations with Asia and other nations around the world, the rule of law, a fair system of justice, and transparent governance which allows for a strong civil society are the basic structures which allow a nation’s citizens to have a voice, to live in freedom and to build their prosperity. And we must remember that women’s rights are human rights. Women are the barometer of a nation’s success, and of its stability.


What is the U.S. Helsinki Commission?
As Co-Chair of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), I have a leading role in the search for common security in Europe and Central Asia.  This bipartisan Commission, comprised of nine Senators, nine Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce, looks for ways for the U.S. and its partners to advance comprehensive security through the promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in the 56 member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
What does Ben think about US-Israeli Relations?
Israel is and will always be America’s closest ally in the Middle East. The long-lasting and continued bonds between our two countries run deep. Israel is one of our closest partners in fighting extremism and terrorists in a very dangerous region of the world. I am proud that the United States continues to stand with the people of Israel and that we will do all that is possible to protect our shared values and joint national interests. I support efforts to achieve a comprehensive Middle East peace that protects Israel’s right to exist and ensures the security of its citizens, including an Israeli and Palestinian state side-by-side, living in peace and security. I also support continued robust U.S. assistance to Israel to ensure it has the necessary resources to meet the unique threats that it faces. We must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a serious threat to the national security of the U.S. and our allies. I support the use of strong sanctions to pressure the Iranian regime to cease its belligerent behavior and end its nuclear weapons program.
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