Diane Watson on Foreign Policy
Democratic Representative (CA-33)
Voted YES on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan.
Congressional Summary:Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE Act): Authorizes the President to provide assistance for Pakistan to support democratic institutions; economic development; human rights; health care; and public diplomacy.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.
Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban.
To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Reference: The PEACE Act;
; vote number 2009-H333
on Jun 11, 2009
Voted NO on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
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;
; vote number 2008-H662
on Sep 27, 2008
Voted YES on deterring foreign arms transfers to China.
To authorize measures to deter arms transfers by foreign countries to the People's Republic of China, A YES vote would grant the President the ability to place sanctions on any individual or country that violates the arms embargo, including:
Reference: East Asia Security Act;
Bill HR 3100
; vote number 2005-374
on Jul 14, 2005
- Denial of participation in cooperative research and development
- Prohibition of ownership and control of any business registered as a manufacturer or exporter of defense articles or services
- Removal of all licenses relative to dual-use goods or technology
- Prohibition of participation of any foreign military sales
Voted NO on reforming the UN by restricting US funding.
To reform the United Nations, by limiting the US contribution to the UN by up to one-half by the year 2007, if the following reforms are not made:
Reference: United Nations Reform Act;
Bill HR 2745
; vote number 2005-282
on Jun 17, 2005
- Requires the creation of an Independent Oversight Board with the authority to evaluate all operations of the UN
- Instructs the UN to implement procedures to protect whistle-blowers, individuals who reveal wrongdoings within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority
- Obliges the creation of a uniform code of conduct for all UN officials
- Requires the shifting of the funding mechanisms of certain organizational programs from the regular assessed UN budget to voluntarily funded programs
- Compels the US President to influence the Secretary General of the UN to waive diplomatic immunity for UN officials under investigation or charged with serious criminal offences
- Creates a certification of UN cooperation to provide documentary evidence to member states investigating the Oil-for-Food program
Supported sending Colin Powell to Durban racism conference.
Watson signed the CBC statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism
The Congressional Black Caucus is exasperated with the stance of the administration and the contempt implied by its lack of commitment to the U.N. World Conference Against Racism. We believe that there is no legitimate way to pretend that racism was not, and is not, real. The refusal of the government to send the highest-ranking African-American in its history to engage the world in a discussion of racism is disrespectful of the sacrifices of all that have suffered to get him where he is.
Nevertheless, we will be at the table to engage in a substantive and meaningful dialogue. This is not the first time that the Congressional Black Caucus has had to fight against racism without the backing of the administration. Partly because of our insistence on justice, we are in a free South Africa to talk about how to free the rest of the world.
We are committed to discussing how racism affects everyone, in every part of the world,
in every part of our lives. We must dialogue with one another about health care, and technology, and the status of our youth. We need to talk openly and honestly about cultural and religious differences, and how we make the world one where our shared histories do not have to create conflict in our present. We must admit the injustices surrounding discriminatory sentencing, targeted intelligence operations, hate crimes and church burnings. We must have a frank discussion about where we are and where we need to go. There are injustices taking place today that must be corrected so that we will have a foundation on which to build the society of tomorrow. America does not have the right to abstain from its place at the table.
The Congressional Black Caucus brings to South Africa the voices of the multitude of Americans who support justice and truth, and those voices will not be muzzled. We will engage in this discussion and seize this historic opportunity.
Source: CBC Statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism 01-CBC2 on Aug 31, 2001
Suspend Russia's participation in the G-8.
Watson co-sponsored suspending Russia's participation in the G-8
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government voluntarily accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of democracy.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
- Whereas the countries that comprise the Group of 7 nations are committed to the observance of universally recognized standards of human rights, respect for individual liberties, and democratic principles;
- Whereas starting in 1991, the leaders of the major free market economies invited then-Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin to the Group of 7, which in 1998 became known as the Group of 8;
- Whereas under the leadership of Pres. Vladimir Putin, Russia has attempted to control the activities of independent media enterprises, religious organizations, and other pluralistic elements of Russian society in an attempt to mute criticism of the government;
Whereas Russian military forces continue to commit brutal atrocities against the civilian population in Chechnya;
Resolved; That it is the sense of Congress that--
- the selective prosecution of Russia's political opponents, and the continued commission of widespread atrocities in the conduct of the brutal war in Chechnya, do not reflect the minimum democratic standards that characterize every other member state in the Group of 8 nations;
- the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of free, democratic societies;
- the Group of 7 nations should suspend the participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations until Russia is committed to respecting and upholding democratic principles.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; never came to a vote.
Source: Russia in the Group of 8 (S.CON.RES.14/H.CON.RES.143) 05-SC14 on Feb 17, 2005
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Watson 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
- WHEREAS the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and which succeeded in the elimination of more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
- WHEREAS, on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers issued the joint statement of England, France, and Russia that explicitly charged, for the first time ever, another government of committing "a crime against humanity";
- WHEREAS, despite the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides:
- NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate calls on the President, in the
President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide, to accurately characterize the systematic annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of US intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.
Watson co-sponsored sanctioning Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy
A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe. Expresses the sense of the Senate:
Source: S.RES.533&H.RES.1230 2008-SR533 on Apr 24, 2008
- supporting the people of Zimbabwe;
- that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should immediately release the legitimate results of the presidential election and ratify the previously announced results of the parliamentary elections;
- that President Robert Mugabe should accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe in order to effect a timely and peaceful transition to democratic rule;
- that the U.S. government and the international community should impose targeted sanctions against individuals in the government of
Zimbabwe and state security services and militias who are responsible for human rights abuses and election interference;
- that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;
- that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; and
- that the U.N. Security Council should support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis and impose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe until a legitimate democratic government has taken power.
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.
Watson signed Affirmation of US Record on Armenian Genocide
The House of Representatives finds the following:
- The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children w
President Woodrow Wilson concurred and chartered some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.
- [Presidential concurrence has been echoed through Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush].
DECLARATION OF POLICY: Congress calls upon the President:
Source: H.RES.252 2009-HR252 on Mar 17, 2009
- to ensure that U.S. foreign policy reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the U.S. record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and
- in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, and to recall the proud history of U.S. intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.
Watson signed Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.
Source: S.428&HR.874 2009-S428 on Feb 12, 2009
Ease the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
Watson signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 54 members of Congress
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for your ongoing work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for your commitment of $300 million in US aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip. We write to you with great concern about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
The people of Gaza have suffered enormously since the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt following Hamas’ coup, and particularly following Operation Cast Lead. We also sympathize deeply with the people of southern Israel who have suffered from abhorrent rocket and mortar attacks. We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. Truly, fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are mutually reinforcing goals.
We ask that you advocate for immediate improvements for
Gaza in the following areas: Despite ad hoc easing of the blockade, there has been no significant improvement in the quantity and scope of goods allowed into Gaza. Lifting these restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions.
Source: Letter to Pres. Obama from 54 members of Congress 2010-LT-IP on Jan 27, 2010
- Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza
- Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials
- Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials
- Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers
- Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials
- Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding
- Access to fuel
- Access to spare parts
- Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
- Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.
Page last updated: Sep 14, 2010