Mark Begich on War & Peace

Democratic Jr Senator

I was too gung-ho supportive of Afghanistan war

When asked about a decision he wished he had back again, Begich said he had second thoughts about his "gung ho" support, earlier in his tenure, for additional resources and personnel in Afghanistan. He said he's not sure that was the right course given the loss of lives and financial costs. He said that has caused him to look at conflicts in a different way.

He said that's why he opposed arming Syrian rebels in the current fight against Islamic State militants. He said he's not sure who the rebels are and if they'll next turn into an enemy of the United States.

Begich said a more comprehensive strategy is needed to fight the Islamic State extremists, which Sullivan agrees with.

Source: K. C. Star on 2014 Alaska Senate debate , Oct 30, 2014

Air strikes against ISIS but no US forces on the ground

Sen. Mark Begich said he opposed arming Syrian rebels in the current fight against Islamic State militants. He said he's not sure who the rebels are and if they'll next turn into an enemy of the United States. Begich said a more comprehensive strategy is needed to fight the Islamic State extremists, which Sullivan agrees with.

The two went back and forth on what constitutes combat troops. Sullivan said troops conducting air strikes are combat troops. Begich said he supports air strikes but not U.S. forces on the ground in an offensive way. Begich said Arab nations need to step up.

Sullivan said there's a misperception that those in the military want to be on the ground in conflicts. "What I want do is defend my country," he said. Begich has been for taking options off the table, he said. "Inaction has its own consequences, as well," Sullivan said to applause.

Source: K. C. Star on 2014 Alaska Senate debate , Oct 30, 2014

Fully fund US contribution to UN operations in Darfur

Q: Will you support and actively work to fully fund the U.S. contribution to UN Peace Operations in hot spots like Darfur?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you cosponsor a resolution in Congress supporting the establishment of a UN Emergency Peace Service if one is introduced?

A: I need more information about the parameters under which such a Peace Service would be established.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

We must responsibly re-deploy out of Iraq

Mark believes we must responsibly redeploy out of Iraq to strengthen national security. Mark favors the gradual withdrawal of American forces from Iraq’s civil war, coupled with increased American diplomacy and forcing the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its future. He strongly supports American troops who are fighting in harm’s way. But he believes national leaders have let our soldiers and citizens down with no plan, inadequate equipment and a lost focus. Mark believes we need to relentlessly pursue the terrorists who attacked the US and have rebuilt their global network based in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan while the US has been distracted by Iraq. He will ensure that our military is not stretched too thin to meet other national security needs, as top military officers like the Army Chief of Staff say it now is. He believes the US is unprepared to meets the future demands of veterans, and will fight to provide quality care and benefits to its veterans.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Issues” , May 21, 2008

Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.

Begich co-sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
  1. Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  2. warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  3. urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
  4. expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
  5. expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
  6. strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  7. rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-SJR41 on May 24, 2012

Sponsored shutting down Iranian foreign reserves.

Begich co-sponsored Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act

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."

Source: S.892 13-S892 on May 8, 2013

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Begich signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
    States that it should be US policy to:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009

Other candidates on War & Peace: Mark Begich on other issues:
AK Gubernatorial:
Bill Walker
Mead Treadwell
Sean Parnell
AK Senatorial:
Dan Sullivan
Joe Miller
Lisa Murkowski
Mead Treadwell

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Retiring in 2014 election:

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate Retirements 2014:

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R) vs.Swaney(G) vs.LaFrance(L)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Stephens(R)
DE: Coons(D) vs.Wade(R)
GA: Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Swafford(L) vs.Kingston(R) vs.Gingrey(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R)
HI: Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R) vs.Pirkowski(R)
IA: Braley(D) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Butzier(L) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Clovis(R)
ID: Risch(R) vs.Mitchell(D)
IL: Durbin(D) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L) vs.Truax(R)
KS: Roberts(R) vs.Orman(I) vs.Batson(L) vs.Wolf(R) vs.Taylor(D)
KY: McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
LA: Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
MA: Markey(D) vs.Herr(R) vs.Skarin(I) vs.Gomez(R)
ME: Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI: Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MN: Franken(D) vs.McFadden(R) vs.Johnson(L) vs.Abeler(R)
MS: Cochran(R) vs.Childers(D) vs.McDaniel(R)
MT: Walsh(D) vs.Daines(R) vs.Curtis(D) vs.Rankin(I) vs.Edmunds(R) vs.Bohlinger(D)
NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R) vs.Haugh(L)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.Osborn(R)
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.Sabrin(R)
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
OK-2: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D) vs.Shannon(R)
OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.Conger(R)
RI: Reed(D) vs.Zaccaria(R)
SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD: Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I) vs.Howie(I)
TN: Alexander(R) vs.Ball(D) vs.Carr(R) vs.Adams(D)
TX: Cornyn(R) vs.Alameel(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Sanchez(G) vs.Stockman(R)
VA: Warner(D) vs.Gillespie(R) vs.Sarvis(L)
WV: Capito(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.Buckley(L) vs.Lawhorn(I) vs.Raese(R) vs.McGeehan(R)
WY: Enzi(R) vs.Cheney(R) vs.Hardy(D)
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Page last updated: Jan 04, 2015