- Foreign Policy and National Security
Foreign Policy and National Security
Foreign Policy and National Security
Senator Merkley is committed to protecting America while preserving the rights of American citizens and strengthening our relationships with nations around the world. Indeed, Merkley firmly believes that the United States is safer and stronger when we honor our fundamental American values like respect for the rule of law. In a dangerous world, with global threats ranging from terrorism to global warming to nuclear weapons proliferation, Merkley understands that we need to be able to work with other nations to confront these challenges together.
Having worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office, Senator Merkley has a unique understanding of national security policy. In both positions, he was immersed in the national dialogue on responsible management of nuclear weapons. Between that earlier service in Washington DC and his election to the Oregon House of Representatives, Merkley remained actively engaged on foreign policy issues as president of the World Affairs Council of Oregon.
Ten years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, more than one hundred thousand American troops remain in that nation, providing military and security assistance to the Afghanistan government, to the cost of over $100 billion a year.
America has accomplished the goals that were originally set out: destroying al Qaeda training camps and bringing to justice those responsible for 9/11. We have, however, slid into an additional nation-building strategy that faces enormous obstacles and consumes and enormous share of our military and economic resources.
Senator Merkley will continue to encourage the President to rethink this mission and to adopt a counter-terrorism approach that recognizes the substantial terrorist activities round the world and brings our nation-building deployment in Afghanistan to an end.
Senator Merkley has visited Afghanistan twice since becoming U.S. Senator, most recently in August 2011.
Since his election in 2008, Senator Merkley has worked to bring a quick and responsible end to the Iraq war. Merkley believes that American troops have performed exceptionally, delivering terrific tactical successes even as political leaders in Washington have made repeated strategic mistakes that have cost us thousands of American lives and caused great damage to our standing in the world, diverting resources from the fight against the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11. Senator Merkley supports the President’s plans to bring every last man and women in uniform home from Iraq by the end of 2011.
In November 2009, Senator Merkley visited members of the Oregon National Guard’s 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Iraq and met with political and military leaders in the country.
When it comes to ensuring our national security, we must place a priority on securing our ports, borders, and transportation systems. In February 2009, Senator Merkley worked with President Obama and Congressional leaders to secure more than $4.7 billion in resources to improve border and transportation security in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds included $1 billion for enhanced baggage screening equipment at our nation’s airports, $500 million to protect high risk critical infrastructures projects such as dams, bridges and tunnels, and almost $400 million to secure our ports and railway systems.
Senator Merkley is also fighting to ensure that our federal, state, and local governments have the resources and training to provide quick and comprehensive aid to communities devastated by natural disasters. Our local officials and first responders must be properly equipped to ensure that they are able to communicate with each other and with federal emergency response teams to help Americans recover from unexpected disasters. Senator Merkley fought to ensure that $250 million was provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help fund state and local emergency operations centers.
The United States has a responsibility to restore the rule of law and preserve inalienable rights, including the rights to habeas corpus and fundamental due process. Senator Merkley supports taking swift action to end America’s association with torture and closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Merkley is dedicated to working with President Obama and his colleagues in Congress to bring stability and peace to the Sudan, Burma, and other areas of the world where the threat of violence is a daily reality and entire populations have been targeted for genocide.
Service Members and Families
Senator Merkley is committed to standing up for our military men and women. The men and women who honorably serve our nation in the armed forces deserve more than our thanks. They deserve the equipment and training necessary to carry out their missions successfully while protecting them from harm. They further deserve to receive all of the health and other benefits promised to them, and they shouldn’t have to fight the bureaucracy to get them. Senator Merkley is working with his colleagues to ensure that all of the promises made to our service members are promises kept.
Senator Merkley also understands that military family members are in many ways the backbone of our national security, sacrificing while their loved ones are deployed overseas. He supports efforts to provide assistance to family members to help before, during and after deployments to ease the transition and relieve any financial strain.
For more on Senator Merkley’s work on behalf of military members and their families, visit the Veterans page.
Global Disease Prevention
Today, there are three interrelated plagues that are affecting third world nations: malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. The United States has a vital role to play as an advocate and supporter of international education and prevention campaigns to reduce the spread of these deadly diseases. Senator Merkley believes that President Obama’s commitment to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is critical to addressing these international challenges. Senator Merkley wants to increase access to safe and affordable generic drugs to treat HIV/AIDS in developing countries and supports the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Strengthening developing countries health infrastructure, investing in clean water, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals are also steps that need to be taken to alleviate global health diseases. As America considers international aid and global trade policy, it is imperative that we consider our responsibility to lift up others as we lift up ourselves.