Terrorist Threats Demand American Leadership, Not Naïveté
‘Our adversaries’ ambitions are not local. They’ve been showing us for years that they’re determined to challenge American leadership, undermine our interests, and weaken our alliances..., Now is the time to invest deeper in our alliances and partnerships. It’s time to restore credible deterrence with hard power.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding terrorist threats:
“Mr. President, every day brings new harrowing details of the terrorist attacks of October 7th. And we continue to learn more about the role Iran plays in aiding and abetting terror.
“Just yesterday, new reports indicated that hundreds of terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad traveled to Iran last month for specialized combat training with Tehran’s murderous Quds Force.
“Of course, waiting for specific evidence of tactical involvement really misses the point. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It’s spent decades supporting proxy terrorists who share their hatred for Israel and America precisely so Tehran can maintain plausible deniability.
“We cannot lose sight of this savage charade.
“Evil will continue to target the United States and our allies, whether we pay attention to it or not.
“And the threats our adversaries pose are connected.
“Iran doesn’t just underwrite terrorist attacks on Israel – it outfits Russia with drones to help kill Ukrainians. China doesn’t just menace Taiwan – it helps Iran circumvent international sanctions by trading consumer goods for oil. And Russia isn’t just pummeling a sovereign neighbor – it has joined China for joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan as well as off the coast of Alaska.
“Our adversaries’ ambitions are not local. They’ve been showing us for years that they’re determined to challenge American leadership, undermine our interests, and weaken our alliances.
“But on every front, the Biden Administration’s response has fallen short.
“The President was hesitant to deter Russian aggression in the first place and has dithered about helping equip Ukraine to defeat it.
“He has prioritized engagement with China on climate policy over building resilient supply chains with trusted allies.
“And just listen to his Administration’s jaw-dropping naivete after three years of squandering leverage on Iran. In early October, the President’s national security advisor wrote a self-congratulatory article assessing the Administration’s foreign policy.
“Here’s some of what he said about the Middle East.
“’In the face of serious frictions, we have de-escalated crises in Gaza and restored direct diplomacy.’
“He went on, ‘U.S. troops were under regular attack in Iraq and Syria… Such attacks, at least for now, have largely stopped.’
“Finally, he claimed that the President’s approach, ‘frees up resources for other global priorities’ and ‘reduces the risk of new Middle Eastern conflicts.’
“Well, at least, that was the account that went to print before 1,400 Israelis were murdered on a Saturday morning. And before Iran-backed terrorists injured two dozen American servicemembers in numerous attacks in Iraq and Syria.
“The incongruity between the Administration’s spin and reality has since been scrubbed from the article online. But the Biden Administration’s naïve approach to terror remains woefully inadequate to meet the growing threat of radical Islamic terrorism – from Afghanistan to Yemen to Iraq and the Levant to the Sahel.
“Obsessing about closing Guantanamo Bay.
“Removing the Houthis’ designation as a terrorist organization.
“Turning the other cheek when terrorists attack Americans and our allies.
“Squandering leverage over Iran.
“Weakness in one theater begets weakness in another.
“The United States is a global superpower. And it’s high time we started embracing – and properly resourcing – the responsibilities that come with that role.
“Now is the time to invest deeper in our alliances and partnerships. It’s time to restore credible deterrence with hard power.
“That’s why I will oppose Senator Paul’s resolution to compel the withdrawal of American servicemembers from Niger later today.
“Radical Islamic terrorism in that part of the world is on the rise. And we should be working more closely with local partners, not abandoning them.
“We should be conducting more surveillance flights, not blinding ourselves by abandoning strategic airfields in Niger.
“Russia and China are working overtime to displace American influence in Africa. We should not be making their job any easier.
“Beyond today’s vote, the Senate should recognize the opportunity before us to shape a supplemental appropriations bill that equips our military, our defense industrial base, and our allies and partners to meet the growing threats we face – from our southern border to radical Islamic terrorism to authoritarian aggression.
“We have a chance to demonstrate the American leadership our people, our allies, and our interests require. We should take it.”
Related Issues: Ukraine, Iran Nuclear Deal, Russia, Israel, Iran, China, National Security, America's Military