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Press Release - Iowa Republican: The Graham Agenda for Securing America

July 18, 2015

The Graham Agenda for securing America

By Senator Lindsey Graham

July 17, 2015

President Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was one of its chief architects. Under the Obama-Clinton doctrine, there has been no strategy to confront the threats to our nation. They have acquiesced to our adversaries and alienated our allies. They have made critical decisions based not on circumstances on the ground, but on political calculations. The net effect of this approach has been to embolden the forces of violence and chaos, to disquiet the forces of security and stability, and ultimately leave our nation less secure. Today we stand at the brink of a nuclear and enriched Iran, while facing more radical Islamic groups with the capacity and desire to strike our homeland than at any time since 9-11.

In 2016, we face a clear choice as a nation. We could opt for a third term of the Obama-Clinton Doctrine by electing Hillary Clinton. We could take a hard look at the threats we face and try to turn away in fear, retreating into the isolationism that Rand Paul advocates. I am offering a better path. As president, I would restore the capability, capacity, and will to secure our nation and reclaim America's role as the world's greatest force for global security.

First, I would address the greatest threat that America and our allies, particularly Israel, face today: the nuclear ambitions of a resurgent and emboldened Iran. The disastrous deal that President Obama agreed to - a process that Hillary Clinton put in motion through secret talks with Tehran -will immediately enrich the Ayatollahs, shield them from an effective inspections regime, and leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state. As president, I would reject such a dangerous deal. I would lift sanctions and restrictions only when Iran is ready to accept anywhere/anytime inspections, fully account for the possible military dimensions of its past nuclear programs, and permanently abandon its nuclear ambitions and support for terrorists. I would not be naïve about Iran's intentions, but would demand full verification on all counts.

Second, I would present a clear, comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL, starting with heeding the advice of military experts by expanding our current U.S. force in Iraq to 10,000. A force of this size would provide the needed capability and capacity to be successful. We would advise and train Iraqi forces at the battalion level, making them far more likely to stay in the fight. We would deploy forward air controllers to enable effective air strikes, attack helicopters to give the Iraqi forces added capability, and a substantial special operations force to put pressure on ISIL's leadership morning, noon, and night.

Just as important, my strategy would correct a fundamental flaw of the Obama-Clinton Doctrine - the failure to understand that Iraq and Syria constitute a single battlespace. Bashar al Assad, the Iranian puppet long installed as Syria's leader and the man responsible for 200,000 deaths and the displacement of half of Syria's population, must go and we must have a strategy to drive him out. This requires a regional effort with troops and resources provided by Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The region must take responsibility for driving out Assad, destroying ISIL safe havens, and rebuilding Syria. But we must provide the leadership, and we must augment their efforts with the unique capabilities of the U.S. armed forces.

If we fail to pursue this strategy, the direct threats to our homeland will proliferate uncontrollably. Syria will become the ultimate launching pad for a tsunami of terrorist attacks on the U.S. by seasoned fighters with Western passports. The humanitarian crisis will continue to spill out across the region, bringing close allies like the King of Jordan to the brink of collapse, further bolstering the forces of Radical Islam. This is a nightmare scenario for America and for Israel.

But while the threats are great, they are far from insurmountable. A determined America with a clear strategy and the committed support of her friends is an unstoppable force. Radical Islam today is a burning fire. We can and will reduce it to an ember. Hateful ideologies may never be eradicated entirely, but they can be contained and minimized when the forces of strength, security, and hope unite and reclaim the initiative.

This is an effort that will be neither easy nor quick. The hard truth is that we face a generational struggle. America must commit to a military effort that brings stability and enables regional efforts to be successful. We must also commit to making common cause with the moderate voices in the Middle East that make up the vast majority of the population and who want nothing more than to live with good governance and social justice. When women, youth, and the disenfranchised reject both totalitarian dictatorship and the tyranny of Radical Islam, we must stand with them. Our support for the education of young women in remote regions will do more good than dropping bombs ever could. Radical Islam offers a glorious death. We must offer a hopeful life.

If we make this commitment, we will succeed. We will secure our nation and we will empower our partners to prevent the rise of terrorists that could launch attacks against us. By taking on threats directly, earning the trust of our friends and showing our foes we are unafraid, we will usher in a new era of security. We will shape world events, rather than be overwhelmed by them. This is my agenda and my vision as a candidate for president.

The Read at Iowa Republican

Lindsey Graham, Press Release - Iowa Republican: The Graham Agenda for Securing America Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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