2015 FPI Forum: Rising Leaders in National Security

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"Rising Leaders in National Security"
Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI)
Moderator: Bill Kristol

Video  |  Key Quotations  |  Transcript

Key Quotations

On the State of the U.S. Military

“Right now we're at the point where we are gutting core capabilities.  We're gutting training.  We're rearranging, you know, deck chairs on the Titanic, and so we are at an absolute crisis point and one that I've not seen, like I've not seen since we kind of had the hollow military starting to happen in the '90s. But we should be deeply concerned.” – Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)

“As we're asking our troops and we're asking our military families to continue to pursue these high operational tempo deployments, we should not be gutting our military readiness.  We should not be continuing down the path of sequestration, which was never intended to go into effect.” – Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

On the Asia-Pacific

“We've had 70 years of peace in the Pacific region, and I do believe that the biggest reason why we've had long lasting peace is because of a strong military and strong relationships with our allies and other countries throughout the Asia Pacific Region. We have to continue on that path because we have some bad actors in our region, and we have the strength of China also there as well.” – Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI)

“Our allies in the Asia Pacific are looking to the U.S. for economic leadership as a counterbalance to China continuing to assert itself, and I find that that often gets lost, but when we talk about American leadership in the world today, of course it's peace through strength focused on defense, but part of that is economic leadership.” – Rep. Stefanik

On the Middle East

“Regardless of how you feel about 2003 to 2011, we actually did all of the hard work with an extraordinary amount of blood and treasure of our own troops in order to win over the Sunni tribal leaders to be able to push out al Qaeda in Iraq, and we had a somewhat stable situation that created the opportunity for political resolution, and then we created the vacuum when we left. I mean, it's not a partisan statement to say that.  We walked away.  We created that vacuum.” – Rep. McSally

“I think the stakes are very high, that we could potentially have a midair or an unintentional response or a purposeful, provocative encounter with the Russian aircraft.  I mean, this is really serious, and the stakes are very high.” – Rep. McSally

“Many of us were surprised at the move that the Russians made yesterday, and I think what's interesting to note is that…there was no indication from what we understand that this was going to happen except for maybe an hour before it was mentioned.  So I think that in and of itself is problematic.” – Rep. Takai

“I think this is a significant turning point in what's happening in the Middle East.  I think it's a direct consequence of this administration's failed leadership within [the] region, both Iraq and Syria…. We have failed to identify friendly, anti-Assad forces that we should have worked with earlier on.  We should have had a No Fly Zone.” – Rep. Stefanik

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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