Disrupt, dismantle, and defeat terrorism. Our number one national security priority must be to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat terrorism at home and abroad. By tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden, we sent a powerful message that we will always follow through and deliver justice, while also removing a key part of al Qaeda. But the threat of terrorism remains very real. We must give our intelligence and military services the tools and resources they need to protect us from this threat. We must also engage in active and effective diplomacy to increase our allies’ commitment to this effort around the world.
Reduce our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our troops put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedoms. They have done all we have asked of them and much more. As situations have changed in the Middle East, our military service members and military families deserve leaders and a national security policy worthy of their sacrifice – and a willingness to reevaluate the challenges we face and strategies required to meet them.
With the removal of Osama bin Laden, it is time to reexamine our objectives and timetables in Afghanistan. The last 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have proved very costly in dollars and in lives. It is time to speed up the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, while still maintaining quick-strike, mobile forces in the region. At the same time, we must pressure the Afghan government to root out corruption, as well as step up efforts to protect human rights, particularly those of women and girls. We must not lose the tremendous progress that has been made in educating women in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. It is also vitally important that we continue to bring our troops home from Iraq and conclude our mission there.
Strong support for Israel. We must stand firmly by our friend and ally Israel, the only democratic nation in the region. The safety and security of Israel must continue to be a top national security priority.
Containing Iran. Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and promote discord in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran poses a major threat to Israel and the United States. We must vigorously enforce sanctions against Iran, work with our allies to build international pressure, and be vigilant in the face of this threat.
Reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The “Arab Spring” has led to even greater instability in an already unpredictable part of the world, and, I believe, underscores the utter necessity of our country making a firm and lasting commitment to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East.