America is stronger when the Congress and the Executive branch are united on foreign policy. But, as a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will not hesitate to cry foul and hold the Trump administration accountable if our principles and values are compromised.
Our values are our interests. I believe strongly in a world where America works with allies and partners within the rule of law, a fair system of justice, and transparent governance that allows for a strong civil society. These are the basic structures that allow a nation’s citizens to have a voice, to live in freedom and to prosper. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press are among the foundational human rights worth defending at home and around the world. And we must remember that women’s rights are human rights. Women are the barometer of a nation’s success, and of its stability.
As we work to uphold and promote these values and ideals that have animated our nation since its founding nearly 250 years ago, we see forces trying to do harm to our way of life and our leading role in the world. Russia has worked to insidiously interfere with and influence the Presidential election in the United States, and Russian military aggression in Ukraine and Syria has violated international commitments, committed war crimes and shown a clear disregard for sovereignty and humanitarian norms. Everyone but our President seems to accept that Russia has shown itself to be a global bully and not a partner. After successfully changing the way human rights violators in Russia, and worldwide, are treated by the U.S. when their own country fails to punish their criminal acts, I am now leading a bipartisan effort to strengthen comprehensive sanctions to send a clear message to Russia that they will be held accountable for their destabilizing activities and not be permitted to manipulate facts or ignore international norms and the rule of law.
I believe that the United States has tremendous capacity for innovation, renewal and regeneration, but there can be little question that challenges arising from a revisionist Russia, a rising China, a barbaric ISIL alongside threats of catastrophic climate change, pandemic disease, and a global flow of people, including desperate refugees, create a complex global environment that requires the United States to develop an approach that is creative, sober, patient and far-sighted in its national security strategy.
My world view may not be in line with President Trump's vision for the world. But, I believe that these core values – standing up against violations of international law, against war crimes, against human rights violations and speaking up for democracy and freedom of speech – must be at the forefront of America's foreign policy agenda.
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- January 25, 2018