Ted Cruz on War & Peace
CRUZ: When I asked that to General Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, he said there is no military solution. We need to change the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization. That, with all due respect, is nonsense. It's the same answer the State Department gave that we need to give them jobs. What we need is a commander in chief that makes clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant. I introduced the Expatriate Terrorist Act that said if any American travels to the Middle East and joins ISIS, that he or she forfeits their citizenship so they don't use a passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans.
His approach is summed up in a bill the Texas Senator unveiled last week, the "Sanction Iran, Safeguard America Act."
CRUZ: She said she did not believe there was any prospect for Ukraine to be successful in defending itself against Russian aggression. I think that's mistaken. What [Obama and Merkel are] doing with regard to Ukraine and with regard to Russia makes no sense, and it isn't working. It is long past time for us to step forward and provide defensive weapons, so that the men and women of Ukraine can defend their nation. They are our allies. We committed ourselves to standing with Ukraine to defend their territorial integrity.
Q: Should the US arm the Ukraine over the objections of the Germans?
CRUZ: What we're seeing is, when America doesn't lead, Europe can't be expected to step into the breach. What is missing from this is the president of the US. I'm part of a large bipartisan congressional delegation that is united on the need for us to provide defensive arms to Ukraine.
CRUZ: We met today with the president of Kurdistan. The Kurds on the ground are fantastic fighters. The Peshmerga have been our allies. And they're actually fighting every day to stop ISIS. Now, what makes no sense whatsoever is, the Obama administration is refusing to directly arm the Kurds. We need to arm the Kurds now because they are our boots on the ground. I don't believe it is necessary to put American boots on the ground if we are arming the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga on the ground, combined with overwhelming American airpower, can take out ISIS.
Q: So some in the Pentagon who apparently are considering about 10,000 U.S. troops on the ground, that would be a bad move?
CRUZ: In my view, American boots on the ground should always be the last step, and we need to exercise other steps before that. We have the availability of overwhelming airpower, and we have boots on the ground that are ready and eager to fight.
CRUZ: We have boots on the ground already with the Kurds. But our government is not providing military weapons effectively to the Kurds. Instead, they're shuttling it all to Baghdad, and Baghdad is very slow in getting it to the Kurds.
Q: But if that's not enough, would you be willing to send American ground troops into that battle?
CRUZ: Look, we need to accomplish the mission and the mission should be defeating ISIS before they succeed in carrying out more horrific acts of terror. If need be, we should go that step. The problem is, right now, the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy has been consistently wrong on ISIS. Our photo-op foreign policy, where we drop a bomb here or a missile there. We need a focused, direct military objective of taking out and destroying ISIS.
CRUZ: Well, unfortunately, the approach of the Obama administration to ISIS has been fundamentally unserious. We have dropped a bomb here, a missile there, but it has really been a photo op foreign policy. What we need is a concentrated, directive military objective to take ISIS out. Now, what does that entail? A far more vigorous air campaign than we're seeing. We're dropping a fraction of the ordnance that we have in other campaigns such as Afghanistan.
Q: Do you think it will involve US troops?
CRUZ: Well, there are over 1,500 on the ground right now. But we have a tremendous asset on the ground right now, which is the Kurds, [whom we should arm].
CRUZ: Well, there are over 1,500 on the ground right now. But we have a tremendous asset on the ground right now, which is the Kurds. The Peshmerga have been strong allies of the US. They are effective fighters. And they desperately need weaponry and assistance. And, for whatever reason, the Obama administration has been delaying aiding the Peshmerga, has been running it all through Baghdad, instead of aiding them directly, and has been blocking them from selling oil, which doesn't make sense. And the Obama administration keeps focusing on Syrian rebels, many of whom have far too close ties to radical Islamic terrorists for it to make any sense for us to be supporting them. The Kurds are allies and they are boots on the ground. And when we work with them in concert, they're ready to fight on the front line, along with serious airpower. If it were a military objective to take ISIS out, I think that's what we would be doing.
"Intervention is a mistake. Intervention when both sides are evil is a mistake. And yet, here we are again, wading into a civil war," Paul said. His doubts ran contrary to the thinking of Rubio, who advocated an aggressive response.
The debate over arming the rebels to fight the spread of Islamic State has exposed long-brewing schisms for Republicans: A divide between proponents of a muscular American foreign policy, like Rubio and Cruz, vs. advocates of a scaled-back international presence, like Paul.
CRUZ (ON TAPE): What we ought to have is a direct concerted overwhelming air campaign to take them out.
Q (END TAPE): In Iraq and Syria?
CRUZ: The focus should be Iraq, but the real focus should be taking out ISIS. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try to resolve the civil war in Syria.
Q: You said that the U.S. should bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age. Should that take Congressional approval?
CRUZ: It should absolutely take Congressional approval, I think.
Q (voice-over): But not all Republicans agree. On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to the White House saying the president doesn't need Congress, he should act swiftly on his own. What advice would you give the president?
CRUZ: I think it is an urgent concern to strike while ISIS is vulnerable.
CRUZ: There's a whole range of activity. President Obama set two straw men: One, invade or two, do nothing. And there's a whole range of intermediate steps. Pres. Obama should have spoken out clearly in support of freedom, in support of the protesters when the protesters began in the Maidan Square. I had the privilege of traveling through the Maidan Square, being led by 16-year-old high school girl who saw her compatriots shot by army snipers And they continue to protest for freedom. America should speak out for freedom. But then after that, we should stand with our allies and not give into Russia. We should, right now, install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe, in Poland, the Czech Republic, that were scheduled to go in 2009, that Pres. Obama canceled in an effort to appease Putin. That hadn't worked. And we should be using energy as a tool to help liberate the Ukrainian people and to impose costs on Putin.
Congressional Summary:Prohibits US-based correspondent accounts or a payable-through accounts by a foreign financial institution that knowingly:
Arguments for and against bill: (New York Times, May 8, 2013): Seeking to escalate pressure on Iran, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be worth as much as $100 billion. The legislation would be the first major new sanction confronting Iran since its inconclusive round of negotiations last month on its disputed nuclear program.
Sponsors of the legislation contend that Iran is not bargaining in good faith while it continues to enrich uranium. Part of the reason, they say, is that Iran has been able to work around the worst effects of the sanctions by tapping its foreign currency reserves overseas, which are largely beyond the reach of current restrictions. "Closing the foreign currency loophole in our sanctions policy is critical in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability," the sponsors said.
Critics said the new legislation risked further alienating Iranians who suspect that the sanctions' true purpose is not to pressure Iran in the nuclear negotiations, but to cause an economic implosion that would lead to regime change. "When we've cemented a sanctions escalation path, we're creating a trajectory toward actual confrontation," said the founder of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington group that opposes sanctions. Some Iranian leaders, he said, see the sanctions "as a train that can only go in one direction and has no brakes."
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