Al Franken on Foreign Policy
DFL Jr Senator (MN)
A: Yes. UN peacekeeping is one of the best deals around.
Q: It can help countries break the cycle of violence and help people rebuild normal lives.
Q: Whatever the problems with the UN or its peacekeeping operations, it doesn’t make sense for the US to block them or deprive them of needed resources.
Q: Will you oppose legislation that withholds U.S. dues to the U.N.?
A: Yes. This is just the kind of heavy-handed approach that has undercut America’s standing in the world. A great nation meets its obligations. I will oppose such legislation.
A: America has a lot to offer the world. Our democratic principles and adherence to the rule of law can serve as an example to reformers seeking freedom in their own countries. Our idealism can drive progress. And our military strength can create stability.
But there is a difference between leading the world and ruling it. We must work with our allies--and talk with our adversaries--in order to build a more peaceful and more prosperous world.
The 21st century has already presented us with numerous global challenges: global warming, pandemic disease, extreme poverty, failed states, international terrorism. Simply put, these are not challenges we can address alone, but they are challenges we must rise to meet. We can’t meet them with unilateral demands and cowboy diplomacy.
A: Yes. The United States can boost its foreign aid, and should. Such assistance is an investment in the kind of world America wants to build, with rising living standards and growing economies. It’s both the right thing and the smart thing to do, because we know that weak and failing states pose a threat to our security and a haven for international terrorism. We need to make our aid more focused on the Millennium Development Goals, with greater emphasis on well proven ideas such as school feeding and microcredit (particularly for women), and with efforts to combat corruption and promote good governance. At the same time, aid is just a part of the development picture, so we need to get better at aligning trade and investment flows so that they promote development and worker rights.
A: Yes. Terrorism is a serious threat, and we have to keep working to find terrorists, catch them, and shut them down. But the battle of ideas and the moral high ground is also an essential part of combating terrorism--the part that helps determine whether terrorists have a harder or easier time finding new recruits. For this part of the battle, the Bush Administration’s treatment of detainees has us fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. We will never restore America’s moral authority until we stop splitting hairs over torture. There is no need for it, and there is no excuse for it. What we need is a single standard of humane treatment for all U.S. personnel, including the CIA--so that our own people, and the rest of the world, will know what we mean when we say “we don’t torture.”
A: The purpose of the International Criminal Court is to deal with the world’s worst thugs and brutes--people like Slobodan Milosevic-- and to provide justice in places without legitimate justice systems. And I support that purpose. At the same time, we must recognize that the United States deploys more troops, and thus bears more of the burden, in the name of maintaining security and stability worldwide than any other nation. The ICC must remain focused on the “worst of the worst” and cannot become a venue to litigate against the superpower. Early signs are positive, and the Rome Statute does contain important safeguards protecting the servicemen and women who carry that burden. While we must continue to monitor the actions of the ICC, I am optimistic about the early signs, and believe that we will ultimately come to cooperate with this important effort.
AL FRANKEN: We have changed the regime in Iran. We’ve made it worse.
CLARK: (laughs) Well, the President intervened before their elections and called for them to have a different government. Well, no group of people want another country to tell them who they should elect.
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.
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:
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