Senate Has Responsibility To Invest In American Strength And Credibility
‘[E]ven in the face of serious threats, for large portions of modern history, the United States has dictated the terms of engagement. For decades, the world’s foremost superpower has been the one doing the deterring. Not anymore. It is no longer a settled question that America will meet aggression with overwhelming force, or even that we’ll back our allies one hundred percent.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national security priorities:
“Four months ago, Senate Republicans asked our colleague from Oklahoma, Senator Lankford, to take on a pretty tall order – negotiate serious border security policy with an Administration that had shown no interest in actually securing the border.
“He put in an enormous amount of work, and I’m very grateful for the persistence he’s shown over many nights, weekends, and a few holidays.
“The product he was able to secure earned the endorsement of the National Border Patrol Council – a sign that you’re pointing in the right direction.
“But as our colleagues recognize, the agreement does not have a path to become law.
“The border crisis that President Biden invited – through his rhetoric and his willful neglect – will continue to challenge the brave men and women of CBP and ICE and impact communities across the country. And its effects will follow his legacy forever.
“I wish I could say that a record-setting border crisis was the only challenge the President’s failures have laid before us.
“But our colleagues know as well as I do that this isn’t the case.
“There have always been aggressive forces seeking to harm America and challenge our interests. The very existence of a Western order in which sovereign nations choose their own leaders has always been an affront to repressive and aggressive regimes around the world.
“But even in the face of serious threats, for large portions of modern history, the United States has dictated the terms of engagement. For decades, the world’s foremost superpower has been the one doing the deterring.
“Not anymore. It is no longer a settled question that America will meet aggression with overwhelming force, or even that we’ll back our allies one hundred percent.
“Take this headline about President Biden’s response to the attack that killed three U.S. soldiers last month. Quote: ‘U.S. strikes steer clear of Iran’s red lines’.
“Here’s the sub-head of another one. Quote: ‘U.S. officials acknowledge that the targeted militias still retain the majority of their capability to carry out future attacks.’
“And here’s one more. Quote: ‘Pentagon says it’s not planning for a long-term campaign’ against Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria.
“So, Mr. President, what can the American people – and the entire world – gather about the Biden Administration’s approach to the threats we face?
“First, we know that Iran is deterring America – not the other way around.
“Second, we know that the Commander-in-Chief has not yet directed the strongest military in the world even to exercise sufficient force against expendable proxy terrorists, let alone their Iranian sponsors.
“Finally, we know that the Biden Administration lacks the resolve to defeat those who spill American blood.
“The Pentagon conceded this week they were not aware that even a single IRGC officer had been eliminated by their response. And yet Administration officials say this is what sending a message of deterrence looks like.
“But let’s be honest, here – do our allies see in this behavior an America that is willing to impose decisive costs on our adversaries?
“Do our adversaries, in turn, see any reason to start changing their calculus?
“In the Middle East, we already know the answer. Since the President’s telegraphed ‘response’ to the deadly Tower 22 attack, Iran-backed terrorists have already launched more attacks – from Iraq and Syria to the Red Sea.
“Iran and its proxies are undeterred. But beyond the region, is there any reason to expect that the President’s conduct of foreign policy is causing Putin or Xi to think again? Not a chance.
“No doubt, the Commander-in-Chief’s halting response to Tehran’s aggression emboldens Moscow. Russian forces, like Iran and its proxies, were direct beneficiaries of President Biden’s hesitation and self-deterrence as they escalated their invasion of Ukraine.
“And Beijing—after it’s watched us abandon allies in Afghanistan and second-guess Israel’s response to terrorism—has reason to doubt that the United States is well-positioned to rally allies and partners to resist aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
“If America fails to stand with our partners on the front lines in Europe and the Middle East, we will shred our credibility with friends in the Indo-Pacific.
“So, today’s strategic competition is more perilous. Support for our allies is more tenuous. And the security of U.S. personnel and interests is more questionable than it was three years ago.
“And these are the circumstances in which the Senate must consider some weighty responsibilities of our own:
“To invest in the hard power that the President instinctively shies away from exercising.
“To commit to allies that fear being abandoned.
“And to address the requirements of long-term competition that becomes more difficult the longer America neglects its leading role.”
Related Issues: Ukraine, Russia, National Security, Israel, China, Iran, America's Military