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It's official: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as foreign affairs chair -- and she's ready to play "hardball"

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- will be its chair when the new Congress convenes in January. Her Republican colleagues in the House made it official today.

Foreign policy analysts suggest Ros-Lehtinen will  pressure the Obama administration for sanctions against U.S enemies such as Iran and North Korea, rather than pursue engagement: "My worldview is clear: isolate and hold our enemies accountable, while supporting and strengthening our allies. I support strong sanctions and other penalties against those who aid violent extremists, brutalize their own people, and have time and time again rejected calls to behave as responsible nations. Rogue regimes never respond to anything less than hardball."

She's also expected to seek to cut foreign aid and she lost little time in proposing that: "I have identified and will propose a number of cuts to the State Department and Foreign Aid budgets. There is much fat in these budgets, which makes some cuts obvious. "

Full statement after the jump.

"It has been a remarkable honor and privilege to serve the American people throughout my time in Congress, and I am truly humbled by the trust bestowed upon me to defend and advance our nation’s interest as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 "In November, the voters made it clear that if we don’t take the correct approach to policy by keeping our economy foremost in our decisions, they’re going to ship us all out. Republicans got the message and are committed to making 'the people’s House' work for the people again. As Chairman of this Committee, I will work to restore fiscal discipline to foreign affairs, reform troubled programs and organizations, exercise vigorous oversight to identify waste, fraud, and abuse, and counter the threats posed to our nation by rogue states and violent extremists. 

"I have identified and will propose a number of cuts to the State Department and Foreign Aid budgets.  There is much fat in these budgets, which makes some cuts obvious. Others will be more difficult but necessary to improve the efficiency of U.S. efforts and accomplish more with less. We must shift our foreign aid focus from failed strategies rooted in an archaic post-WWII approach that, in some instances, perpetuates corrupt governments, to one that reflects current realities and challenges and empowers grassroots and civil society. 

"I plan on using U.S. contributions to international organizations as leverage to press for real reform of those organizations, such as the United Nations, and will not hesitate to call for withdrawal of U.S. funds to failed entities like the discredited Human Rights Council if improvements are not made. 

"Finally, my worldview is clear: isolate and hold our enemies accountable, while supporting and strengthening our allies. I support strong sanctions and other penalties against those who aid violent extremists, brutalize their own people, and have time and time again rejected calls to behave as responsible nations. Rogue regimes never respond to anything less than hardball. 

"When I first came to this country with my family as a young girl, we were fleeing from oppression and seeking an opportunity to live in freedom. In Cuba, human rights activists are condemned to the gulag and denied every basic human right and dignity. In America, I am privileged to serve in Congress and to stand up against those who seek to destroy freedom. The sharp contrast between what free nations do for their people and for the world and what rogue states do to their people and to the world reminds me every day of how important it is to stand unwaveringly on the right side of the fight. I pledge to do
all that I can to isolate U.S. enemies while empowering and strengthening our allies, and I will not make apologies for doing either." 

 

Comments

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ResponsibleWomen

An Excellent choice for the position.
Rogue Nations count on our GOODWILL
to take advantage while they continue
to lie to us. Soft Diplomacy is a
strategy we implement first.
But when they do not work as the
Congress WOMAN stated we need to
speak to them in terms they do
UNDERSTAND and cannot misinterpret.
Show no mercy and take no prisoners,
by form of sanctions of course...
Afterall we are a civilized
nation.

Dr. Edgar Goll

It is very sad that a cold-warrior like Ros-Lehtinen is getting such an important job. She does not seem to understand that our world is NOT just black and white. We hope that her hatred against "enemies" will not lead her to aggression and unilateral actions.

Sabine Adotevi

Dear Ms. Ros-Lehtinen,

I wanted to congratulate you for your nomination as Chairman of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee and wanted to draw your attention to the following book on sale at Amazon.com which describes the workign of one particular UN agency and its usage of US funding among others.

http://www.amazon.com/U-N-Cosa-Nostra-workings-organization/dp/1453812849/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297198534&sr=8-1

Yours sincerely,

A UN Critic

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