AJC New England 2020 Candidate Survey: Question 10
International Relations and the U.S. Role on the Global Stage
Question 10: A robust Transatlantic relationship between the United States and European democracies (AJC has 5 European offices and three regional representatives) has been a pillar of US foreign policy since the end of World War II. In recent years, this relationship has suffered strains. Some contend that this historic alliance is undergoing a fundamental change. Is it important that we sustain the United States historic post-World War II partnership with Europe or is it time to rethink this relationship? If elected, what policies will you pursue to advance your views?
Our NATO alliances have maintained a historic peace in Europe and seen an unprecedented increase in wealth and living standards. I remain 100% committed to our alliance system, especially in Europe. NATO is our best shot at defending against the rising illiberal regimes of Russia and China, both of which are clear about their desire to achieve global hegemony. NATO, as an alliance of democratic, liberal states, is the best bulwark against that.
I would go further than saying these relationships have merely suffered strains recently. Our current President has actively and gleefully damaged these relationships to the point of breaking. It is unclear if he is doing this intentionally to help Russia, or if he is doing it because he lacks the impulse control and attention span to engage in thoughtful, constructive diplomacy. In either case, the result is that the most powerful, stable alliance of military power in the world is waning, and there are illiberal forces in the world waiting with bated breath for its final decline. As your member of Congress, I will frustrate these illiberal forces to no end. We have sacrificed too much during World War II to get to this place. NATO is not going anywhere under my watch.
To strengthen and reform NATO, I would support the United States exerting more pressure on our allies to increase their military spending to 2 percent of their respective GDPs. I would also support the United States exerting more pressure on some of our NATO allies, like Turkey. Turkey, by purchasing Russian anti-aircraft systems and collaborating with Russia in Syria and Libya, is not behaving like a good NATO ally, and we must put pressure on that country to return to more liberal norms and practices.
It’s vitally important that that the United States sustains and renews our historic post-World War II partnership with Europe. President Trump has deliberately torn down international institutions and values which America spent decades cultivating, quitting the Paris Climate Accord, gutting our diplomatic corps, and cozying up to dictators while alienating true friends and allies. In order to regain Europe’s trust, the next administration and Congress should immediately pursue dialogue and policies that demonstrate our commitment to the United States’ and Europe’s shared values and interests. We must partner together to counter rising illiberalism and authoritarianism as well as weaponized disinformation, and we must revitalize a global coalition to combat climate change, elevate human rights, and defend democracy.
It is very important to sustain our partnership with Europe, and the rethinking has begun. The U.S. shares with Europe a strong commitment to the rule of law, human rights, free markets, and democracy. NATO was created over 70 years ago to protect those ideals over an aggressive Soviet Russia, and that organization now must return to basics, with territorial defense as its mission. NATO has spread itself all over the world over the years, but it must remain capable of defending its members’ territorial integrity. In addition, Russia poses a significant threat to Europe’s stability, so the original premise of creating NATO is needed more than ever. I will support policies that continue to strengthen NATO - supporting member nations to pay their agreed allocations and being very careful on any future increases in membership in order to effectively counter Russian threats to the continent.
I have travelled to more than 40 countries in Asia, Africa, The Middle East, Europe and North and South America and seen firsthand how important American leadership and building strong partnerships with our Allies is to our security and the ability of the world to deal with a number of issues that require global cooperation including: Climate Change, Pandemics, Terrorism, Extreme Poverty, Nuclear Proliferation and the rise of Authoritarian regimes. The last four years have been disastrous to America’s global standing and have seriously harmed our credibility on the international stage. The Trump Administration’s so-called "America First" foreign policy (a phrase which originated with Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s that President Trump adopted in spite of objections from the Jewish community) is an incoherent mess, which fluctuates between bellicose adventurism and selfish isolationism. If elected, I will advocate for a foreign policy that would see the United States honor its commitments to its allies and have a thoughtful, strategic, foreign and national security policy that protects the vital interests of the United States and our close allies.
We cannot afford to compromise our long-standing relationships with Europe by withdrawing from global partnerships like the Paris Climate Agreement or World Health Organization. Given that we live in an increasingly interconnected and globalized society (as underscored by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic), the United States should be forming new cooperative partnerships in Europe and elsewhere that can endure for generations to come. This means refunding the State Department, expanding USAID, rejoining the WHO and Paris Climate Agreement, and creating my proposed Global Pandemic Council to counter future challenges.
Additionally, I will affirm our Article 5 Commitment to our European allies and partners and take steps to strengthen the Nato Alliance. The United States’ commitment to NATO is single handedly one of the most critical and threatened pillars of American foreign policy today. The Alliance was founded as a bastion of defense, and Russia—and increasingly, China—have capitalized on its fractious relationship to annex territory, engage in cyber attacks, and bolster their proxies internationally. If elected, I will actively support the U.S strengthening its relationship with its European partners and Canada, in order to restore the deterrent on dangerous Russian and Chinese activities.
Having grown up in Greece and with my parents still living there, the US and European relationship is personal for me. The Trump administration has diminished the strength of the NATO alliance, but we must maintain our common defense against authoritarian regimes and maintain diplomatic relations with our allies. If elected, I would support increased investment in the State Department to rebuild this critical relationship.
Trump has no foreign policy – he legislates by Tweet based on what he watches on Fox News. First and foremost, we need to restore our standing in the world and reinvest in diplomacy and our alliances, including in Europe. We need to end endless wars, repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force and bring troops home while remaining vigilant for continuing threats. Additionally, this is important to me on a personal level, as the daughter of a Dutch immigrant with strong family ties in the Netherlands.
European Democracies or nations historical behaviors (WWI and WWII, recent examples) suggest caution in any proposed collaborative venture. At this moment in time President Trump's position that foreign powers pay their "fair share" of defense seems at least reasonable, if not long over due. Going forward I would review current policies, practices and seek out experts in areas of concern.
We must reestablish our leadership in the world and reestablish our alliances across the world, particularly in Europe. COVID-19 has shown that we are all interconnected, and we need our allies and friends to work with us to recover from this pandemic and protect each other in the case of any future pandemic. Combating climate change is another crisis that requires global action. We lost that leadership under the current administration and it's vital to our future that we re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement and reestablish our leadership on combating the climate crisis. With our economy now being truly global, our small and large businesses need to have the ability to participate in the global economy for many of them to be successful. This is good for business, for employees and their families, for communities and for the economy. We can only do that if we repair our relationships around the world. We need our allies for security and for exchanging vital intelligence and preventing cyber warfare to protect us and them. We have seen the destabilizing effects of the current administration, where our allies are treated like enemies, and our adversaries are treated as friends. This must stop. Our upcoming election is once again in danger of interference from Russia and other bad actors, far right leaders have gained more power worldwide and the world is a more dangerous place because of the destabilization of our traditional relationships.
We must go from being nationalistic and practicing isolationism, to one that engages in the world. Our national security, economy, health and environment depend on it.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) is the leading organization dedicated to Jewish advocacy at home and around the world. Through a global network comprised of 24 domestic regional offices; 12 overseas posts in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; and 37 partnerships with international Jewish communities, AJC engages with political, religious and civic leaders to combat antisemitism and bigotry, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, and advance democratic values at home and abroad.
AJC New England recently invited all 11 Republican and Democratic declared candidates for the Congressional seat from the 4th District of Massachusetts to participate in a survey on some matters of import to our community.
AJC is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization and does not endorse or support any candidate for elected office, whether or not they responded to the survey. We offer this survey to educate the electorate about the views of the candidates for this office.