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Wicker: President Trump has promoted peace through strength

Congress took an important step for national security last week by passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a bipartisan bill that will unlock critical funding for our military. This milestone provides a good opportunity to assess international challenges and reflect on America’s recent foreign policy achievements.

 

Putting America first

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have seen firsthand that our nation is facing new military threats around the world. Over the past four years, I have helped write legislation to strengthen our Armed Forces. We have grown each branch of the military, equipped the Navy with more ships to counter global threats, and created the Space Force to protect American space assets. At the same time, we have successfully persuaded our allies to shoulder more of the financial burden of our mutual defense.

President Trump has made important decisions to protect American workers. I supported the order to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, a job-killing agreement that would have severely hurt America’s energy sector and done little to help prevent global warming. I also supported the negotiation of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which will help save American jobs.

For many years, our southern border was porous and insufficiently protected. Over the last four years, Congress has boosted resources for border security, and more than 400 miles of new border wall have been built. President Trump also convinced Mexico to deploy 27,000 of their own troops south of our border, helping bring migration under control at no cost to American taxpayers.

Peace advances in the Middle East

President Trump made the right call to withdraw from President Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal, which Congress never approved. That agreement would not have stopped Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and the missiles necessary to launch them. We have now imposed heavy sanctions on Iran, which are pressuring that radical regime to behave responsibly. And the U.S. military took out Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops and attacks on our Embassy in Iraq.

Our position in the Middle East has been further strengthened by the decisions to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. These bold steps have encouraged Arab countries to make peace with the Jewish state. This year, three Middle Eastern nations have signed historic peace agreements with Israel.

In 2017, the U.S. military stepped up its campaign to destroy ISIS and roundly succeeded. We should now be vigilant to prevent any resurgence of this terrorist group, which has threatened America and our allies.

Holding China accountable

For decades, China has broken international trade rules and stolen intellectual property from U.S. companies. President Trump imposed huge tariffs on Chinese products and issued an executive order to block Huawei, a telecom giant loyal to Beijing, from doing business in America. I led the effort in Congress to pass legislation helping American companies replace Huawei equipment with secure alternatives.

It is clearer than ever that China is a long-term adversary. We need to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for failing to contain the spread of COVID-19. I am also concerned about China’s persecution of Uighurs and Falun Gong practitioners, and the loss of freedom in Hong Kong. We cannot afford to weaken our stance toward Beijing.

Curbing China’s influence should remain a top national security priority as we enter 2021.

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