World Needs American Strength and American Clarity — Not Confusion

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding foreign policy:

“Runaway inflation and historic tax hikes aren’t the only signs that President Biden’s budget was crafted in fantasyland.

“And amazingly, yesterday, even as the Biden Administration was proposing the biggest tax hikes in American history, that wasn’t even their biggest problem of the day.

“Most of President Biden’s press conference yesterday focused on seemingly major inconsistencies between his public remarks on foreign policy and the actual policy positions of his Administration.

“A few days ago, President Biden seemed to dramatically change American policy toward Putin’s regime during a major international speech before White House staff walked back his comments.

“Yesterday the President suggested he was just sharing his personal moral view, not speaking in his policymaking capacity.

“We are talking about the Commander-in-Chief.

“Another time recently, the President seemed to suggest that if Russia violated international law and used chemical weapons in Ukraine, the United States would respond ‘in kind.’ Again, his staff had to quickly explain what the Administration really meant.

“The United States does not maintain a chemical weapons stockpile for use. To the contrary, we’re working hard to safely dispose of our many decades-old munitions. I should know; throughout my career in Washington I’ve worked to ensure the stockpile of chemical munitions at the Blue Grass Army Depot are safely but surely disposed of. 

“But the head-scratching gaffes don’t stop there. After spending weeks gratuitously listing all the things America would not do, such as deploy troops into Ukraine, President Biden in Poland seemed to tell American troops they’d soon be seeing the bravery of Ukraine’s resistance firsthand in person.

“Again, the White House clarified that the President was not actually changing policy.

“The troubling inconsistencies go beyond isolated gaffes. The confusion appears to run deeper.

“For months, White House officials repeatedly insisted the President and his Administration were focused on deterring Russian escalation against Ukraine. They repeatedly stressed how the threat of sanctions would serve as a deterrent against further invasion.

“But last week, with the world watching, President Biden shockingly claimed that he never thought or intended that sanctions would deter Putin. This leaves unanswered the question of what he thought they would achieve.

“The wild swings between the Administration’s overly-cautious, almost skittish official posture and the President’s emotional freelancing is becoming dizzying.

“As NATO allies scrambled to help Ukraine fight back, the President refused to authorize a transfer of fighter jets. The Administration strangely and unjustifiably felt that if we merely facilitated such a transfer, it could be too provocative. But we’re supposed to brush it off when the same President seems to accidentally call for regime change in Russia?

“Facilitating the transfer of some old fighter jets is too provocative… but remarks like that are just speaking from the heart?

“Sadly, mixed messages and confusion have been one of the only consistent threads running through this Administration’s foreign policy from the very start.

“The White House chafed against clear warnings from its own military advisors about how quickly Afghanistan could fall after a U.S. withdrawal.

“They stood by the President’s assertion that, ‘there’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States.’ Until that exact scene happened in Kabul.

“With respect to both the Taliban and Putin, the Administration has said repeatedly they think the fear of becoming international pariahs will constrain their actions.

“As if these regimes’ cared a lick about global PR. 

“At the risk of repeating what I and many others have been saying for years, despots cannot be shamed into conforming to polite international society. You can’t check lawless violence with finger-wagging.

“We know what deters aggression: American strength and American clarity.

“I’ve just explained how American clarity has been in too-short supply. But unfortunately, the Biden Administration also seems unwilling to plan and invest in long-term American strength.

“Even under the Administration’s wildly optimistic projections about inflation, their budget proposal would only flat-fund our Armed Forces. In the best case scenario, they want American defense to just tread water. Nowhere near the robust real growth that bipartisan experts say we need to modernize and keep pace with Russia and China. 

“And in the more likely event that Democrats don’t magically have inflation plummeting in just a few months, then President Biden’s policy would amount to an actual cut to our defense spending. Ramping down American military funding while China ramps theirs up.

“China is building for the battlefield of the future. Iran continues funding terrorists and plowing forward with nuclear development. Russian aggression is actively challenging our capacity to keep ourselves and our partners armed.

“And the Biden Administration sees this as a moment to ease off the gas?

“That could not be more mistaken.”