Reflections and Projections: The Past and Future of Foreign Policy in the Senate

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A Conversation with Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) - Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Moderated by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) - Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Audio | Photographs  | Quotes  RUSH Transcript  |  Video



  • On the Most Significant Development during Your time in the U.S. Senate:  “To me, the best thing that has happened in my time in the Senate is the spread of freedom....  This would not have happened without the presence of the United States, a proactive presence, in the world, including the US military which has been a precondition for stability.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On How Assad’s Fall Would Impact Iran:  “The most significant threat the U.S. and the world faces today is Iran. Everybody knows Assad is Iran’s number one ally in the Arab world, and this natural uprising of the Syrian people is an extension of the Arab Spring.  It should have been a no-brainer from the beginning that if Assad goes down, it is bad for Iran, and its’ good for us.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On Options for a No-Fly Zone in Syria:  “You can knock out—we and other nations that have been ahead of us in this fight, France and Britain to name two of them, and Qatar, et cetera—we can knock out most of the Syrian Air Force from the ground with off-shore missiles.  Patriot missiles… are going to go to Turkey to protect them from the Syrians, but Patriot missiles can be used to knock down planes with a range of 25-to-50 miles.  We can set up batteries on the Turkish border with Syria and the Jordanian border with Syria and effectively create a no-fly zone.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On the Middle East’s Importance as America “Rebalances” to Asia:  “The U.S. has to stay engaged in the Middle East, as fully as ever. All the talk about pivot or rebalance to the Asia region....  Of course, Asia is important economically and could be a danger zone strategically, depending on how China acts in the years ahead....  But really you can’t disengage or lower our engagement level [in the Middle East].  I know the administration has been planning to move more of our Navy assets to the Asia-Pacific from the Persian Gulf, and you can’t do that... not only is the Middle East increasing as an important interest economically, but our greatest threats in the short-term come from that region.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On the Risks and Opportunities of the Arab Spring:  “The Arab Spring is an extraordinary opportunity and is full of risk for the future…  One future is these revolutions, which were meant to achieve freedom and economic freedom and tolerance, end up as totalitarian governments that have more religious Islamist tenants to them.  On the other hand, you can imagine this has worked out and Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons and, in the countries that have experienced the Arab Spring, we have competing religious and political groups that actually hold elections.  The best thing we can do is to stay engaged.  Don’t demonize the new governments unless their behavior demands it, and don’t romanticize it either.  Judge them by their behavior.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On the Need for Bipartisan Consensus to Support U.S. Global Leadership:  “I am worried about there not being enough people in the Democratic party that embrace that Truman-Kennedy-Clinton foreign policy, which is the heritage of the party and is truly in the national interest....  There needs to be strong internationalist majorities in both parties for the betterment of our country, and it is not clear where the Democratic Party is going in that sense.” —Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • On the Importance of Defense Spending.  “We cannot solve the questions of our national debt on the backs of our defense” —Senator Joseph Lieberman


**RUSH** Transcript

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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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