A Dangerous World (Top)
Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 23 that the first of the “principal” constitutional obligations of the federal government is to provide for the “common defense” of the United States, and President George Washington wisely reminded us that “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
After nearly eight years of a Democratic Commander-in-Chief who has frequently placed strategic and ideological limitations and shackles on our military, our enemies have been emboldened and our national security is at great risk. Our country faces a national security crisis, and only by electing a Republican to the White House will we restore law and order to our land and safety to our citizens.
We are the party of peace through strength. We believe that American exceptionalism — the notion that our ideas and principles as a nation give us a unique place of moral leadership in the world — requires the United States to retake its natural position as leader of the free world.
Tyranny and injustice thrive when America is weakened. The oppressed have no greater ally than a confident and determined United States, backed by the strongest military on the planet.
Quite simply, the Republican Party is committed to rebuilding the U.S. military into the strongest on earth, with vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations in the world. We face a dangerous world, and we believe in a resurgent America.
In all of our country’s history, there is no parallel to what President Obama and his former Secretary of State have done to weaken our nation. Our aging naval capabilities are inadequate for their job. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines have only two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day to day operational demands. The Army is at its lowest troop levels since before World War II. Our U.S. Ambassador and American personnel were left without adequate security or backup halfway across the world in Benghazi. In summary, we have returned to the hollow force days of Jimmy Carter.
Also neglected are our strategic forces, especially the development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system has been delayed and underfunded. To curry favor with Russia, defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic have been neutralized and the number of planned interceptors in Alaska has been reduced. A New START agreement (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), so weak in verification and definitions that it is virtually impossible to prove a violation, has allowed Russia to build up its nuclear arsenal while reducing ours. Meanwhile Moscow has repeatedly violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (a treaty agreeing to the elimination of land-based mid-range nuclear missiles) with impunity, covertly testing missiles banned under that agreement.
In the international arena, a weak Admini- stration has invited aggression. The results of the Administration’s unilateral approach to disarmament are already clear: An emboldened China in the South China Sea, a resurgent Russia occupying parts of Ukraine and threatening neighbors from the Baltic to the Caucasus, and an aggressive Islamist terror network in the Middle East. We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning. All our adversaries heard the message in the Administration’s cutbacks: America is weaker and retreating. Concomitantly, we honor, support, and thank all law enforcement, first responders, and emergency personnel for their service.
Confronting the Dangers (Top)
In the face of these threats, the first order of business for a Republican president and Congress will be to restore our nation’s military might. Republicans continue to support American military superiority which has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our vital national security interests. We must rebuild troop numbers and readiness and confirm their mission: Protecting the nation, not nation building. The United States should meet the Reagan model of “peace through strength” by a force that is capable of meeting any and all threats to our vital national security. We will no longer tolerate a President whose rules of engagement put our own troops in harm’s way or commanders who tell their soldiers that their first duty is to fight climate change.
A Republican administration will begin at once to undo the damage of the last eight years. We must move from a budget-based strategy to one that puts the security of our nation first. This means that our Republican president’s strategic vision will include the development of a balanced force to meet the diverse threats facing our nation. Special Operations Forces are simply not intended to deal with the full spectrum of threats. We need a Reagan-era force that can fight and win two-and one-half wars ranging from counterterrorism to deterring major power aggressors.
We should abandon arms control treaties that benefit our adversaries without improving our national security. We must fund, develop, and deploy a multi-layered missile defense system. We must modernize nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms, end the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, and rebuild relationships with our allies, who understand that as long as the U.S. nuclear arsenal is their shield, they do not need to engage in nuclear proliferation.
While immigration is addressed in more detail elsewhere, we cannot ignore the reality that border security is a national security issue, and that our nation’s immigration and refugee policies are placing Americans at risk. To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants entering from any country. In particular we must apply special scrutiny to those foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from terror-sponsoring countries or from regions associated with Islamic terrorism. This was done successfully after September 11, 2001, under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which should be renewed now.
Supporting Our Troops: Resources to do Their Job (Top)
We owe it to the American people and to those who fight our wars that we remain the strongest military on earth and be prepared to defeat any adversary under any circumstances on any battlefield, including land, air, sea, or cyber. Successive years of cuts to our defense budget have put an undue strain on our men and women in uniform. This is especially harmful at a time when we are asking our military to do more in an increasingly dangerous world. The U.S. defense budget has suffered a 25 percent cut in real dollars in the five years since sequestration. We support lifting the budget cap for defense and reject the efforts of Democrats to hold the military’s budget hostage for their domestic agenda. Congress and the Administration should work together to approve military spending at the level necessary to defend our country. We must not be encumbered by decades-old, legacy procurement processes. America’s incredible talent and ingenuity must be unleashed by modernizing the military procurement system and embracing competition among traditional and non-traditional suppliers. Competitive acquisition and maintenance of weapon systems, including the sustainment and support of such systems, will benefit the U.S. economy, U.S. taxpayers, and most important, the American warfighter. Increased competition will enable new Department of Defense suppliers, particularly small businesses, to participate in the defense sector. That will promote new demand for skilled-labor jobs, while making the Department’s procurement more cost-efficient. The increased agility and effectiveness will ensure that our troops are equipped with the right resources more quickly than our current procurement systems allow.
Supporting Our Troops: Standing by Our Heroes (Top)
With Republican leadership, the Congress recently passed legislation that begins to reverse America’s military decline. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 begins to correct the shortfalls in our military readiness by reversing troop cuts, increasing investments in training and maintenance, and rebuilding facilities. It gives our troops the full pay raise to which they are entitled under the law and gives the next administration the ability to review operations and funding, make adjustments, and ask for more money if necessary. All this represents a sound start in supporting those who put their lives on the line in defense of our country, while protecting our national security in a dangerous world.
Military families must be assured of the pay, healthcare, housing, education, and overall support they have earned. In recent years, they have been carrying the burden of budgetary restraint more than any other Americans through cuts in their pay, health benefits, and retirement plans. About 75 percent of enlistees come from military families. We cannot expect that level of patriotic commitment to continue among young people who have experienced the way their families have been treated.
We must ensure that the nation keeps its commitments to those who signed on the dotted line of enlistment. The repeated troop deployments during conflicts in the Middle East have been unusually hard on all members of their households, worsening unemployment and underemployment among spouses. In many cases, they and their children have been at war for 14 years. We must strengthen existing programs that offer families readjustment information and counseling, and we urge states to help by providing job programs, license reciprocity, one-stop service centers, and education.
The burden of our country’s extended military involvement in the Middle East has taken a toll on our service personnel. Suicides among our military — active duty troops, reservists, National Guardsmen, and veterans — are at shocking levels, while post-service medical conditions, including addiction and mental illness, require more and more assistance. More than ever, our government must work with the private sector to advance opportunities and provide assistance to those wounded in spirit as well as in body, whether through experimental efforts like the PAWS (Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemen) program for service dogs or through the faith-based institutions that have traditionally been providers of counseling and aid.
We support the rights of conscience of military chaplains of all faiths to practice their faith free from political interference. We reject attempts by the Obama Administration to censure and silence them, particularly Christians and Christian chaplains. We support an increase in the size of the Chaplain Corps. A Republican commander-in-chief will protect the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities. A Republican commander-in-chief will also encourage education regarding the religious liberties of military personnel under both the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the current National Defense Authorization Act.
Our country’s all-volunteer force has been a success. We oppose the reinstatement of the draft, except in dire circumstances like world war, whether directly or through compulsory national service. We support the all-volunteer force and oppose unnecessary policy changes, including compulsory national service and Selective Service registration of women for a possible future draft. We reiterate our support for both the advancement of women in the military and their exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions. We affirm the cultural values that encourage selfless service and superiority in battle, and we oppose anything which might divide or weaken team cohesion, including intra-military special interest demonstrations. In particular, we warn against modification or lessening of standards in order to satisfy a non-military agenda imposed by the White House. We call for an objective review of the impact on readiness of the current Administration’s ideology-based personnel policies, and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action. We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept or continue attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness. We believe that our nation is most secure when the president and the administration prioritize readiness, recruitment, and retention rather than using the military to advance a social or political agenda. Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. We oppose legislative attempts to modify the system of military justice that would undermine its fairness and due process rights for all concerned, both the accuser and the accused.
Citizen Soldiers: National Guard and Reserves (Top)
Our Reserve and National Guard forces are national assets that must be nurtured in a manner commensurate with their role as America’s sentinels. Their historic mission as citizen-soldiers is a proud tradition linking every town and city across America to liberty’s cause. Since September 11, 2001, the National Guard has transformed from a strategic reserve to a fully integrated operational fighting force. The Guard has bled on missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and the Sinai. Today, more than fifty percent of our Guardsmen have combat experience. The Guard has demonstrated its value to the nation not only in war but during emergencies here at home such as Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy.
To avoid the overextension of our military, we support a larger active force and oppose the current Administration’s cuts to the National Guard and Reserves. Those reductions are dangerous and counter-productive because the men and women of the Guard and Reserve tend to be older and more experienced than their active duty counterparts.
Guard and Reserve forces are currently deployed at historically high rates. The Army Reserve alone has soldiers in 30 countries. To its credit, the Republican Congress, by passing the National Defense Authorization Act, has moved to ensure these troops have what they need. That provision has triggered another veto threat from the Commander-in-Chief, even though the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. He would have the members of the Reserve and Guard train on, and potentially be deployed with, equipment that is no longer used by their active duty comrades. We cannot tolerate this endangerment of both our troops and our national security. Therefore, we recommend a permanent line item for National Guard affairs, one that is not eliminated by the President and reinstated by Congress. The guard is too essential to our national defense to be a secondary decision.
Honoring and Supporting Our Veterans: A Sacred Obligation (Top)
Our nation’s veterans have been our nation’s strength and remain a national resource. Their service to their country — as community leaders, volunteers, mentors, educators, problem solvers, and public officials — continues long after they leave the military. In the same way, our obligation to the one percent who defend the other ninety-nine percent does not end when they take off the uniform. America has a sacred trust with our veterans, and we are committed to ensuring them and their families’ care and dignity. The work of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is essential to meet our commitments to them: Providing health, education, disability, survivor, and home loan benefits, and arranging memorial services upon death. We heed Abraham Lincoln’s command “to care for him who bore the battle.” To care, as well, for the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who must be assured of meaningful financial assistance, remains our solemn duty.
As shown by recent controversies at the Department, senior leaders must be held accountable for ensuring that their subordinates are more responsive to veterans’ needs. The VA has failed those who have sacrificed the most for our freedom. The VA must move from a sometimes adversarial stance to an advocacy relationship with vets. To that end, we will empower the Secretary to hold all VA employees accountable and will seek fundamental change in the VA’s senior leadership structure by placing presidential appointees, rather than careerists, in additional positions of significant responsibility. We cannot allow an unresponsive bureaucracy to blunt our national commitment. The VA must strengthen and improve its efforts through partnerships with private enterprises, veteran service organizations, technology and innovation, and competitive bidding to enable the VA to better provide both quality and timely care along with all earned benefits to our nation’s veterans and their families. This will allow the VA to reduce the backlog and save immense resources all at the same time. Therefore, let us look to innovative solutions that allow higher quality VA care, reduce backlogs, and save immense resources all at the same time.
Our wounded warriors, whether still in service or discharged, deserve the best medical care the country can provide. We must make military and veterans’ medicine the gold standard for mental health, traumatic brain injury, multiple traumas, loss of limbs, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those injuries require a new commitment of targeted resources and personnel for treatment and care to advance recovery. That includes allowing veterans to choose to access care in the community and not just in VA facilities, because the best care in the world is not effective if it is not accessible. We will seek to consolidate the VA’s existing community care authorities to make a single program that will be easily understood by both veterans and VA healthcare providers.
Like the rest of American medicine, the VA faces a critical shortage of primary care and mental health physicians. That’s why there are long waiting times to see a doctor and why doctors are often frustrated by the limited time they have with their patients. This is especially the case with mental health care, which often amounts to prescribing drugs because there are not enough psychologists and psychiatrists to do anything else. Inadequate treatment of PTSD drives other problems like suicide, homelessness, and unemployment. This situation may not be quickly reversed, but a Republican administration will begin, on day one, to undertake the job.
As a nation, we honor the sacrifice of our fallen service members at the graves where we lay them to rest in national, state, and veterans’ cemeteries around the world. In doing so, we make it clear that their ultimate sacrifice and service to our country will never be forgotten. As a party, we seek to honor their sacrifice and comfort their families by ensuring all veterans’ cemeteries are adequately equipped and a standard of care established, using Arlington Cemetery as a guide, that is befitting their service.
The level of financial distress and homelessness among vets is a shame to the nation. For a veteran, a job is more than a source of income. It is a new mission, with a new status, and the transition can be difficult. We urge the private sector to make hiring vets a company policy and commend the organizations that have proven programs to accomplish this. We will retain the preference given to veterans when they seek federal employment. We urge closer coordination with the state offices for veterans’ affairs, particularly with regard to expediting disability claims, since those closest to an individual can often best diagnose a problem and apply a remedy. We will halt the current Administration’s unconstitutional automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs. We urge state education officials to promote the hiring of qualified veterans as teachers in our public schools. Their proven abilities and life experiences will make them more successful instructors and role models for students than would any teaching certification.
Over-prescription of opioids has become a nationwide problem hindering the treatment of veterans suffering from mental health issues. We therefore support the need to explore new and broader ranges of options, including faith-based programs, that will better serve the veteran and reduce the need to rely on drugs as the sole treatment.
America: The Indispensable Nation (Top)
For the last several generations, our country’s two major political parties were dedicated to the nation’s security and the advance of freedom around the world. Both had learned from mistakes of the past and realized that a weak America invited aggression. Both recognized the need to stand with friends and oppose those who wished us evil. Whatever their disagreements, both the Republican and Democratic parties stood for peace through strength — and strength meant American military superiority.
This bipartisan commitment has tragically changed. The leadership of the Democratic Party, both those in office and those who seek it, no longer see America as a force for good in the world. They do not stand by allies or stand strong against our foes. They pander to world opinion and neglect the national interest. They cannot be trusted to advance either the cause of liberty or our national security in the dangerous years in which we live.
We affirm our party’s tradition of world leadership established by President Eisenhower and followed by every Republican president since. It stands for enormous power — and the prudence to use it sparingly, precisely, and only in grave necessity. It stands for involvement, not intervention. It requires consultation, not permission to act. It leads from the front — and ensures all others do their parts as well. It embraces American exceptionalism and rejects the false prophets of decline and diminution. It is, in sum, the way we will lead the world into a new century of greater peace and prosperity — another American Century.
Challenges of a Changing Middle East (Top)
The Middle East is more dangerous now than at any time since the Second World War. Whatever their disagreements, presidents of both parties had always prioritized America’s national interests, the trust of friendly governments, and the security of Israel. That sound consensus was replaced with impotent grandstanding on the part of the current President and his Secretaries of State. The results have been ruinous for all parties except Islamic terrorists and their Iranian and other sponsors.
We consider the Administration’s deal with Iran, to lift international sanctions and make hundreds of billions of dollars available to the Mullahs, a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners and non-binding on the next president. Without a two-thirds endorsement by the Senate, it does not have treaty status. Because of it, the defiant and emboldened regime in Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism across the region, develop a nuclear weapon, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with “Death to Israel,” and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens. A Republican president will not be bound by it. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the survival of our friends.
Over the last four years we have seen the rise of a murderous fanaticism in the form of ISIS, the so called Islamic State. Its reach now extends far beyond the Middle East to virtually every continent. ISIS has brought ancient butchery into the 21st century. Nations are imploding, erasing long-established borders. The Obama Administration and its Secretary of State so mishandled the Arab Spring that it destabilized the entire region. The hope some saw in the Arab Spring has transformed into disappointment. The dictator of Syria, Bashar Assad, has murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people and created millions of refugees, and an American president has been unable to rally the world against him. Understandably, our allies fear for their future in a region far more dangerous than it was eight years ago.
A Republican administration will restore our nation’s credibility. We must stand up for our friends, challenge our foes, and destroy ISIS. Hezbollah, controlling over 100,000 missiles in Lebanon, must be isolated and Lebanon’s independence restored. We will support the transition to a post-Assad Syrian government that is representative of its people, protects the rights of all minorities and religions, respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and contributes to peace and stability in the region. The Iraqi people have been on the front lines in the fight against terror. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, and the attacks against them continue, even in Baghdad. Our partnership with them should continue as long as ISIS and others like it survive in the region. We are deeply concerned that, in the face of genocide against them, Christian communities in cities like Erbil are receiving no financial support from either the U.S. government or the UN to help with displaced persons and urban refugees. Their survival is sustained only by private charities. This must change immediately. Defeating ISIS means more than pushing back its fighters while abandoning its victims. It must mean aiding those who have suffered the most — and doing so before they starve. It means supporting the long-term survival of indigenous religious and ethnic communities, punishing the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and conditioning humanitarian and military assistance to governments on their observable commitment to human rights.
We continue to support the Kurdish people, whose bravery and cooperation with our forces merit our respect and their autonomy. Many countries in the region have given, and continue to give, substantial assistance to the United States because they understand that our struggle against terrorism is not an ethnic or religious fight. They consider violent extremists to be abusers of their faith, not its champions. We applaud their courage and value their counsel. The U.S. government, together with its global partners, should mobilize its political, economic, and military assets to support the creation of a safe haven in northern Iraq to protect those ethnic and religious minorities continuing to face genocide at the hands of ISIS.
Our Unequivocal Support for Israel (Top)
Like the United States of America, the modern state of Israel is a country born from the aspiration for freedom and stands out among the nations as a beacon of democracy and humanity. Beyond our mutual strategic interests, Israel is likewise an exceptional country that shares our most essential values. It is the only country in the Middle East where freedom of speech and freedom of religion are found. Therefore, support for Israel is an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel. We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.
We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries. We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally, and otherwise. We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel. Therefore, we call for effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner.
The United States seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region. We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and we call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.
U.S. Leadership in the Asian Pacific (Top)
We are a Pacific nation with economic, military, and cultural ties to all the countries of the oceanic rim and treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand. With them, we look toward the establishment of human rights for the people of North Korea. We urge the government of China to recognize the inevitability of change in the Kim family’s slave state and, for everyone’s safety against nuclear disaster, to hasten positive change on the Korean peninsula. The United States will continue to demand the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program with full accounting of its proliferation activities. We also pledge to counter any threats from the North Korean regime.
We salute the people of Taiwan, with whom we share the values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy, and the rule of law. Our relations will continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, and we affirm the Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by President Reagan. We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself. We praise efforts by the new government in Taipei to continue constructive relations across the Taiwan Strait and call on China to reciprocate. As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free trade agreement status, the timely sale of defensive arms including technology to build diesel submarines, and full participation in the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, and other multilateral institutions.
China’s behavior has negated the optimistic language of our last platform concerning our future relations with China. The liberalizing policies of recent decades have been abruptly reversed, dissent brutally crushed, religious persecution heightened, the internet crippled, a barbaric population control two-child policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations continued, and the cult of Mao revived. Critics of the regime have been kidnapped by its agents in foreign countries. To distract the populace from its increasing economic problems and, more importantly, to expand its military might, the government asserts a preposterous claim to the entire South China Sea and continues to dredge ports and create landing fields in contested waters where none have existed before, ever nearer to U.S. territories and our allies, while building a navy far out of proportion to defensive purposes. The complacency of the Obama regime has emboldened the Chinese government and military to issue threats of intimidation throughout the South China Sea, not to mention parading their new missile, “the Guam Killer,” down the main streets of Beijing, a direct shot at Guam as America’s first line of defense. Meanwhile, cultural genocide continues in Tibet and Xinjiang, the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is eroded, the currency is manipulated, our technology is stolen, and intellectual property and copyrights are mocked in an economy based on piracy. In business terms, this is not competition; it is a hostile takeover. For any American company to abet those offenses, especially governmental censorship and tracking of dissenters, is a disgrace.
The return to Maoism by China’s current rulers is not reason to disengage with the Chinese people or their institutions. We welcome students, tourists, and investors, who can see for themselves our vibrant American democracy and how real democracy works. We caution, however, against academic or cultural operations under the control of the Chinese government and call upon American colleges to dissociate themselves from this increasing threat to academic freedom and honest research.
Most of the nations of Southeast Asia have set aside crippling ideologies and sought material progress in free enterprise and democracy. We congratulate the people of Burma on their emergence from authoritarian rule and urge their respect for the rights of their country’s minority populations. Our improved relations with Vietnam — including arms sales — must advance efforts to obtain an accounting for, and repatriation of the remains of, Americans who gave their lives in the cause of Vietnamese freedom. We cannot overlook the continued repression of fundamental rights and religious freedom, as well as retribution against ethnic minorities and others who assisted U.S. forces during the conflict there.
India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. The dynamism of its people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world. We encourage the Indian government to permit expanded foreign investment and trade, the key to rising living standards for those left out of their country’s energetic economy. For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination. Republicans note with pride the contributions to our country that are made by our fellow citizens of Indian ancestry.
Conflicts in the Middle East have created special political and military challenges for the people of Pakistan. Our working relationship is a necessary, though sometimes difficult, benefit to both, and we look toward the strengthening of historic ties that have frayed under the weight of international conflict. This process cannot progress as long as any citizen of Pakistan can be punished for helping the War on Terror. Pakistanis, Afghans, and Americans have a common interest in ridding the region of the Taliban and securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. That goal has been undermined by the current Administration’s feckless treatment of troop commitments and blatant disregard of advice from commanders on the ground, particularly with regard to Afghanistan. A Republican president will work with all regional leaders to restore mutual trust while insisting upon progress against corruption and the narcotic trade that fuels insurgency.
Renewing the European Alliance (Top)
With bipartisan support, President Truman forged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an alliance of the western democracies. Its continued effectiveness is vital, especially in light of recent military challenges in Eastern Europe. With the American people spending on defense, per capita, four times the amount spent by Europeans, we demand, as we have in the past, that our fellow members of NATO fulfill their commitments and meet their need for greater investment in their armed forces.
Our historic ties to the peoples of Europe have been based on shared culture and values, common interests and goals. Their endurance cannot be taken for granted, especially in light of the continent’s economic problems and demographic changes. We recognize with regret the increasing trend among many of our allies to move away from rights and liberties that Americans hold dear, especially freedom of speech. It would be a tragic irony if the nations of Europe which withstood Soviet repression were to now impose a form of it upon themselves.
We honor our special relationship with the people of the United Kingdom and are grateful for their staunch support in the fight against terrorism. We respect their decision concerning their nation’s relationship to the European Union and pledge that, however much other international relationships may change, those who were first to our side in our hour of loss will always rank first in our policies and our esteem.
We thank the several nations of Europe that have contributed to a united effort in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Their support and sacrifice in the fight against Islamic terrorism will not be forgotten. We applaud the ongoing reconciliation in Northern Ireland and hope that its success might be replicated in Cyprus. We urge greater coordination in economic and security affairs between the United States and the republics of Eastern Europe. We urge that Poland be granted visa waiver status and we support placement of NATO troops in Poland.
For the people of Russia, we affirm our respect and our determination to maintain a friendship beyond the reach of those who wish to divide us. We have common imperatives: Ending terrorism, combating nuclear proliferation, promoting trade, and more. We also have a common problem: The continuing erosion of personal liberty and fundamental rights under the current officials in the Kremlin. Repressive at home and reckless abroad, their policies imperil the nations which regained their self-determination upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine, Georgia, or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate constitutional measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination.
We urge greater attention in U.S. diplomacy, trade, and strategic planning, to the nations of Eurasia, formerly parts of the Soviet Empire. Caught between their two authoritarian neighbors, their path toward democratic institutions has been uncertain. We urge our government and our allies to work toward the integration of the Central Asian republics into the global economy through foreign investment, which can bring with it market and political reforms and a firmer establishment of the rule of law. Those developments will not only improve the living conditions throughout that vast area but are likely to reduce the lure of the radical ideologies that already threaten the region.
Family of the Americas (Top)
Our future is intimately tied to the future of the Americas. Family, language, culture, environment, and trade link us closely with both Canada and Mexico. Our relations with both of these friends will be based upon continuing cooperation and our mutually shared interests. Our attention to trade and environmental issues will contribute to strong economic growth and prosperity throughout the Americas.
We thank our neighbors in Mexico and Canada who have been our partners in the fight against terrorism and the war on drugs. The Mexican people deserve our assistance as they bravely resist the drug cartels that traffic in death on both sides of our border. Their rich cultural and religious heritage, shared by many millions of our fellow citizens, should foster greater understanding and cooperation between our countries.
Our Canadian neighbors can count on our cooperation and respect. To advance North America’s energy independence, we intend to reverse the current Administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Apart from its economic value, that project has become a symbol in the contest between the public’s desire for economic development and the government’s hostility to growth. We stand with the people.
We express our solidarity with all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Their aspirations for economic betterment and political liberty have deserved better from our government than its policies of the last eight years. The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. A Republican president will never embrace a Marxist dictator, in Venezuela or anywhere else. The current chief executive has allowed that country to become a narco-terrorist state, an Iranian outpost threatening Central America, and a safe haven for the agents of Hezbollah. Now, with their country ruined by socialism and on the verge of chaos, the Venezuelan people are fighting to restore their democracy and regain their rights. When they triumph, as they surely will, the United States will stand ready to help them restore their country to the family of the Americas.
We affirm our friendship and admiration for the people of Colombia and call on the Republican Congress to express its solidarity with their decades-long fight against the terrorist FARC. Their sacrifice and suffering must not be betrayed by the accession to power of murderers and drug lords.
We want to welcome the people of Cuba back into our hemispheric family — after their corrupt rulers are forced from power and brought to account for their crimes against humanity. We stand with the Women in White and all the victims of the loathsome regime that clings to power in Havana. We do not say this lightly: They have been betrayed by those who are currently in control of U.S. foreign policy. The current Administration’s “opening to Cuba” was a shameful accommodation to the demands of its tyrants. It will only strengthen their military dictatorship. We call on the Congress to uphold current U.S. law which sets conditions for the lifting of sanctions on the island: Legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections. We call for a dedicated platform for the transmission of Radio and TV Martí and for the promotion of internet access and circumvention technology as tools to strength Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. We support the work of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and affirm the principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, recognizing the rights of Cubans fleeing Communism.
Africa: The Promise and the Challenge (Top)
We recognize Africa’s extraordinary potential. Both the United States and our many African allies will become stronger through investment, trade, and promotion of the democratic and free market principles that have brought prosperity around the world. We pledge to be the best partner of all African nations in their pursuit of economic freedom and human rights. The Republican Congress has extended to 2025 the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and President George W. Bush’s health initiatives — AIDS relief under PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria — continue to save millions of lives. Peace Corps volunteers and U.S. Seabees teach and build in villages that know firsthand our country’s idealism.
We stand in solidarity with those African countries now under assault by the forces of radical Islam: Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and others like them. Their terror falls on both Muslims and Christians, on anyone who will not submit to their savage ideology. We urge governments throughout the continent to recognize this threat to their own people. We support closer cooperation in both military and economic matters with those on the front lines of civilization’s battle against the forces of evil.
Sovereign American Leadership in International Organizations (Top)
There is no substitute for principled American leadership. Since the end of World War II, the United States, through the founding of the United Nations and NATO, has participated in a number of international organizations which can, but sometimes do not, serve the cause of peace and prosperity. While acting through them our country must always reserve the right to go its own way. We must not be silent about our country’s cause. That is why we have long supported our country’s international broadcasting to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Our continued participation in the United Nations should be contingent upon the enactment of long-overdue changes in the way that institution functions. American taxpayers, the chief funders of the U.N., deserve full transparency in the financial operations of its overpaid bureaucrats. We should no longer tolerate its managerial scandals, its Human Rights Council composed of some of the world’s worst tyrants, and its treatment of Israel as a pariah state. The U.N.’s Population Fund has, from its origin, been rooted in no-growth policies that limit economic development in the countries needing it most. Its complicity in China’s barbaric program of forced abortion led President Reagan to set a wall of separation — his Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortion. We affirm his position and, in light of plummeting birth rates around the world, suggest a reevaluation of the U.N.’s record on economic progress.
Precisely because we take our country’s treaty obligations seriously, we oppose ratification of international agreements whose long-range implications are ominous or unclear. We do not support the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, as well as various declarations from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Because of our concern for American sovereignty, domestic management of our fisheries, and our country’s long-term energy needs, we have deep reservations about the regulatory, legal, and tax regimes inherent in the Law of the Sea Treaty. We emphatically reject U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of U.S. sovereignty, and we oppose any form of Global Tax.
To shield members of our Armed Forces and others in service to America from ideological prosecutions overseas, the Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. We support statutory protection for U.S. personnel and officials as they act abroad to meet our global security requirements, and we deplore the current inaction of the Administration in that regard. Our service members must be subject only to American law.
Defending International Religious Freedom (Top)
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an initiative of Congressional Republicans, has been neglected by the current Administration at a time when its voice more than ever needs to be heard. Religious minorities across the Middle East have been driven from their ancient homelands, and thousands, there and in Africa, have been slaughtered for their faith in what the State Department has, belatedly, labeled genocide. The United States must stand with leaders, like President Sisi of Egypt who has bravely protected the rights of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and call on other leaders across the region to ensure that all religious minorities, whether Yazidi, Bahai, Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant Christians, are free to practice their religion without fear of persecution. At a time when China has renewed its destruction of churches, Christian home-schooling parents are jailed in parts of Europe, and even Canada threatens pastors for their preaching, a Republican administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in its diplomacy, will quickly designate the systematic killing of religious and ethnic minorities a genocide, and will work with the leaders of other nations to condemn and combat genocidal acts.
America’s Generosity: International Assistance that Makes a Difference (Top)
Foreign aid must serve America’s interests first. In today’s world of complex challenges, international assistance is a critical tool for advancing America’s security and economic interests by preventing conflict, building stability, opening markets for private investment, and responding to suffering and need with the compassion that is at the heart of our country’s values. A strong commitment to international development and diplomacy, alongside defense, was a key component of President Reagan’s “peace through strength” strategy. It can sometimes serve as an alternative means of keeping the peace, far less costly both in dollars and in human lives than military engagement. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, spearheaded by the last Republican Administration, has established a new model of foreign assistance that helps ensure taxpayer dollars are spent on projects that are effective, results-driven, transparent, and accountable. We must embrace this model throughout our foreign assistance programs and efforts as a catalyst for private sector investment to combat corruption, strengthen the rule of law, and open new markets for American goods and services in a competitive global economy. Foreign assistance programs must not only project the best of American values, but must work to create self-sustainability and leverage the resources and capacity of the private sector. Even more important is the overseas assistance — billions of dollars and volunteer hours — provided by America’s foundations, educational institutions, faith-based groups, and charitable individuals. Their essential role in international development should be weighed in any revision of the tax code.
The advance of political freedom and entrepreneurial capitalism drives economic growth, catalyzes private sector development, and is the only sustainable solution to poverty. Over the last 50 years, the level of private investment overseas from the United States has eclipsed aid many times over. Our development strategy must build on recent Republican efforts to use foreign assistance to catalyze private sector investment and expertise in addressing global challenges that can build a more stable world and advance America’s national security and economic interests.
The integrity of our country’s foreign assistance program has been compromised by the current Administration’s attempt to impose on foreign recipients, especially the peoples of Africa, its own radical social agenda while excluding faith-based groups — the sector with the best track record in promoting development — because they will not conform to that agenda. We pledge to reverse this course, encouraging more involvement by the most effective aid organizations and trusting developing peoples to build their futures through their own values.
Advancing Human Rights (Top)
To those who stand in the darkness of tyranny, America has always been a beacon of hope, and so it must remain. Radical Islamic terrorism poses an existential threat to personal freedom and peace around the world. We oppose its brutal assault on all human beings, all of whom have inherent dignity. The Republican Party stands united with all victims of terrorism and will fight at home and abroad to destroy terrorist organizations and protect the lives and fundamental liberties of all people. Republicans have led the way in promoting initiatives that have protected and rescued millions of the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted. Standing up for repressed religious groups, prisoners of conscience, women trafficked into sexual slavery, and those suffering from disease or starvation is not just consistent with American values. It advances important security and economic interests as well. A Republican administration will never say, as Hillary Clinton did as Secretary of State in 2009, that raising human rights concerns “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis.”
The United States needs a radical rethinking of our human rights diplomacy. A Republican administration will adopt a “whole of government” approach to protect fundamental freedoms globally, one where pressing human rights and rule of law issues are integrated at every appropriate level of our bilateral relationships and strategic decision-making. Republican policy will reflect the fact that the health of the U.S. economy and environment, the safety of our food and drug supplies, the security of our investments and personal information in cyberspace, and the stability and security of the oceans will increasingly depend on allowing the free flow of news and information and developing an independent judiciary and civil society in countries with repressive governments such as China, Russia, and many nations in the Middle East and Africa.
Liberty to Captives: Combatting Human Trafficking (Top)
As an estimated 21 million people worldwide are trapped in modern day slavery, we are reminded to be vigilant against human trafficking in whatever form it appears. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in commercial sexual exploitation and forced or bonded labor of men, women, or children; involuntary domestic servitude; trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal; and the illegal recruitment and use of child soldiers. Building on the accomplishments of the last Republican administration in implementing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, we call for increased diplomatic efforts and accountability for foreign governments to prosecute traffickers, including penalties for any public officials who may be complicit in this devastating crime. We will highlight the need to stop slave labor, taking steps to prevent overseas labor contractors who exploit foreign workers from supporting military bases abroad or exporting goods to the United States. A Republican administration will strategize with partners around the world to prevent the demand for trafficking victims that makes exploitation lucrative and will prosecute sex tourists and domestic buyers to the fullest extent of the law. We will work at home and abroad to ensure that trafficking victims are identified among migrants, refugees, and our own citizens so they receive the rehabilitative care needed to heal and thrive.
America’s continuing participation in the international campaign against human trafficking merits our support. The goal of our domestic anti-trafficking programs should be the rescue and safe return of victims to their homes, not creating a long-term dependency upon public support. We call for greater scrutiny of overseas labor contractors to prevent abuses against temporary foreign workers brought to the United States. The horrific deaths of smuggled workers on our southwestern border at the hands of drug cartels and other gangs highlight the need for total security in that region.
Facing 21st Century Threats:
Cybersecurity in an Insecure World (Top)
Cyber attacks against our businesses, institutions, and the government itself have become almost routine. They will continue until the world understands that an attack will not be tolerated — that we are prepared to respond in kind and in greater magnitude. Despite their promises to the contrary, Russia and China see cyber operations as a part of a warfare strategy during peacetime. Our response should be to cause diplomatic, financial, and legal pain, curtailing visas for guilty parties, freezing their assets, and pursuing criminal actions against them. We should seek to weaken control over the internet by regimes that engage in cyber crimes. We must stop playing defense and go on offense to avoid the cyber-equivalent of Pearl Harbor.
The Republican Congress has passed important legislation to advance information-sharing among entities endangered by cyber attacks. We will explore the possibility of a free market for Cyber-Insurance and make clear that users have a self-defense right to deal with hackers as they see fit. It is critical that we protect the cyber supply chain to ensure against contamination of components made all over the world, sometimes in offending countries. Our own cyber workforce should be expanded with the assistance of the military, business, and hacker communities to better protect our country.
Protection Against an Electromagnetic Pulse (Top)
A single nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude over this country would collapse our electrical grid and other critical infrastructures and endanger the lives of millions. With North Korea in possession of nuclear missiles and Iran close to having them, an EMP is no longer a theoretical concern — it is a real threat. Moreover, China and Russia include sabotage as part of their warfare planning. Nonetheless, hundreds of electrical utilities in the United States have not acted to protect themselves from EMP, and they cannot be expected to do so voluntarily since homeland security is a government responsibility. The President, the Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the States, the utilities, and the private sector should work together on an urgent basis to enact Republican legislation, pending in both chambers, to protect the national grid and encourage states to take the initiative to protect their own grids expeditiously.
Confronting Internet Tyranny (Top)
Internet firewall circumvention and anti-censorship technology must become a national priority in light of the way authoritarian governments such as China, Cuba, and Iran restrict free press and isolate their people limiting political, cultural, and religious freedom. Leaders of authoritarian governments argue that governments have the same legal right to control internet access as they do to control migrant access. A focus on internet freedom is a cost-effective means of peacefully advancing fundamental freedoms in closed and authoritarian societies. But it is also an important economic interest, as censorship constitutes a trade barrier for U.S. companies operating in societies like China with advanced firewall protection policies.
A Republican administration will champion an open and free internet based on principles of free expression and universal values and will pursue policies to empower citizens and U.S. companies operating in authoritarian countries to circumvent internet firewalls and gain accurate news and information online.
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2016 PRESIDENTIAL STRAWPOLL