In 2002, Susan voted against the original authorization for former President Bush to use military force in Iraq (H. Res. 14). She felt a unilateral use of force would isolate America from our allies around the world and reinforce the cause of our enemies. She believed all non-military options had not been exhausted and that there had not been sufficient planning for the occupation and rebuilding of Iraq in a post-Saddam Hussein era.
Since the removal of all American combat forces from Iraq, Susan has supported the Administration’s continued diplomatic engagement with the Maliki government in an effort to ensure the Iraqi people are able to participate in the political process and their government can effectively work to stabilize those regions of the country still plagued by sectarian violence.
In the mid-1960s, Susan had the rare opportunity to live on a kibbutz in Israel and has returned to the region several times since. While there are still many obstacles to a lasting peace, Susan is united with Americans, Israelis and Palestinians in our collective hope for peace and justice in the region.
Susan continues to believe that strong U.S. leadership and support is the best plan for bringing about a political process that can eventually pave the way for security and peace for the region. Because she believes in providing more diplomatic resources for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and not less, Susan introduced legislation in the past which urged the President to appoint a special envoy for the Middle East. Susan recognizes that a two state solution is the only realistic pathway to peace, and that all sides must come to the table determined to not allow fringe and extremist elements to use violence and intimidation to derail negotiations.
It is in the national security interest of the United States and our allies to compel Iran’s leaders to halt their nuclear program. Sanctions, combined with unified international diplomatic pressure, are our best hope for peacefully achieving this goal.
The Iranian nuclear program presents the international community with a complex challenge.
As coalition forces draw down in Afghanistan, Susan is focused on providing resources to minimize the risk to our troops and to protect the accomplishments our service men and women have made over the last ten years. One issue Susan has focused on over the last decade is the advancement of women and girls in Afghan culture. On annual visits to Afghanistan, Susan visits with female parliamentarians and professors, along with young girls just trying to attain an education. So many of the freedoms these women experience today would not have been possible without coalition involvement, and Susan believes it is our duty to preserve these advancements, even as we continue to drawdown. Susan was instrumental in providing $20 million toward infrastructure for Afghan women in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), thereby greatly expanding the opportunities for women in Afghanistan.
In her capacity as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Susan closely monitors and participates in discussions regarding the Administration’s strategic “Pivot to the Pacific” which reemphasizes our position in the Asia-Pacific realm while recognizing the ever expanding economic interdependence between the United States and Asia. While we must continue our focus on other hot spots around the world, working with our allies in the Asia-Pacific region will solidify a strong front against the potential adversaries and threats to our economic well being.
The United States’ relationship with China remains one of our most important yet complex foreign policy challenges. With a population of over 1.3 billion, and the second largest economy in the world, China is poised to become a world power, economically, diplomatically, and militarily.
In recent years, Susan has traveled to China to better understand the opportunities and challenges that have resulted from their economic development. She is focused on addressing some of the biggest challenges that confront the US-China relationship, including intellectual property, the current trade deficit, and currency manipulation. Susan is working closely with her colleagues on the US-China Working Group to bring about legislative action and positive change on these important issues.
As a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Susan remains very concerned about human rights violations in China as well. Between allegations of abuse against members of the Falun Gong, or China’s economic relationship with the government of Sudan, Susan believes Congress must continue to exert pressure on China to reform their human rights practices.
Susan is a member of the Vietnam Caucus and works with her colleagues on issues of human rights and free speech. In December 2010, she voted for H. Res. 20 to make it clear that Congress supports putting Vietnam back on the Countries of Particular Concern list. She also supported and voted for the passage of H. Res. 672, a resolution that called on Vietnam to repeal statutes restricting the Internet and the Vietnamese people’s freedom to share and publish information.