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Sheldon Whitehouse on Foreign Policy

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Traditional internationalist and support of Israel

Hinckley sounded an isolationist note by arguing for reduced foreign aid to hostile governments and a less robust American military presence abroad. Whitehouse countered with a traditional internationalist argument, citing Republicans who disagree with Hinckley and suggesting his proposals could damage Israel. Whitehouse also had a good moment when he was asked about the recent attack in Libya and pivoted to recall the dangers his own father faced as a career diplomat.
Source: Examiner.com on 2012 R.I. Senate debate , Oct 23, 2012

Voted NO on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.

Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-S211 on Oct 1, 2008

Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.

Whitehouse co-sponsored removing African National Congress from terrorist list

A bill to exempt the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization. [The ANC is now the ruling party of South Africa; as head of the ANC, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government before becoming President of South Africa].

Source: S.2979 08-S2979 on May 6, 2008

Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.

Whitehouse co-sponsored implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force

Source: S.RES.455 08-SR455 on Feb 14, 2008

Rated +1 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.

Whitehouse scores +1 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues

The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.

  1. S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
  2. S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
  3. S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
  4. S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
  5. S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
  6. S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
  7. S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
  8. S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
  9. S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
  10. S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012

Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.

Whitehouse co-sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense

RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
  1. expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
  2. reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
  3. urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
  4. encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.

Whitehouse co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s

Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007

Condemn Iran for state-sponsored persecution of Baha'i.

Whitehouse signed bill condemning Iran for persecution of Baha'i

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate and House of Representatives
  1. condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights;
  2. calls on the Government of Iran to immediately release the seven leaders and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion; and
  3. calls on the President and Secretary of State, in cooperation with the international community, to immediately condemn Iran's continued violation of human rights.
    Source: SR71&HR175 2009-SR71 on Feb 13, 2009

    Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.

    Whitehouse signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members

      Dear Secretary Rice,
      In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
    1. Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
    2. Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
    3. Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
    4. Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
    5. End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
    6. Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
    Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007

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    Page last updated: Dec 27, 2013