Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor outlining how under the failed foreign policy of the Obama administration, American power has declined and respect around the world has evaporated.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I come here again to the floor because I’ve seen one example after another.
“Examples of how the Obama administration seems to not know what’s going on when it comes to foreign policy.
“The president’s foreign policy should secure America’s national interests and demonstrate America’s leadership around the world.
“The question is, has the Obama foreign policy team done that? No, it really has not.
“Look at what former President Jimmy Carter had to say.
“He said this about President Obama: ‘I can't think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over.’
“He went on to say, ‘the United States’ influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.’
“So you have to ask yourself, why has this happened?
“I think it’s clear that President Obama has really refused to stand up to the aggression of other countries. Every time the president does this, he emboldens our adversaries around the world to be more aggressive.
“Every day that the president allows these threats to go unanswered, he is endangering America and our allies. Our allies don’t respect us, our enemies no longer fear us.
Foreign Policy Failures with Syria
“And let’s just take a look at Syria. It was five years ago that President Obama called on Assad to step aside.
“A few months later, Secretary Hillary Clinton said that it was only ‘a matter of time’ before the Assad regime would fall.
“The Obama administration’s policy was to wait and hope for the best. It didn’t back up its words with any meaningful support for the moderate opposition in Syria.
“In 2012, President Obama said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a ‘red line.’
“Assad knew that when President Obama and his team make threats like that, they are empty threats. So the very next year, Assad used chemical weapons – and the President of the United States did nothing.
“The red line became a green light – and it remains a green light today.
“Earlier this year, the State Department admitted that ‘Syria has used chlorine as a chemical weapon systematically and repeatedly against the Syrian people every year.’
“It wasn’t just one time in 2013 – it was every year since then.
“Did President Obama secure America’s national interests with his weak response in Syria?
“Did he demonstrate American leadership? He did not.
Foreign Policy Failures with Russia
“Let’s move from Syria to Russia.
“We all remember secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton, going to Russia, pushing her ‘reset’ button. We all remember in 2012 President Obama laughed off the suggestion that Russia was a serious threat to the United States.
“Russia responded to the ‘reset’ in terms of what Russia has ignored it, sent troops into Ukraine, sent troops into Crimea, annexed Crimea, and invaded eastern Ukraine.
“President Obama again showed weakness in responding to a very aggressive military action by Russia. When President Obama shows weakness, which is repeatedly, leaders around the world who watch him, move accordingly, and that’s why Russia moved.
“That’s why we’ve seen Vladimir Putin being so aggressive in using his military to keep Assad in power. Recently, President Putin even launched airstrikes from Iranian territory against opposition forces in Syria.
“The CIA director told the Senate in June that Assad is ‘in a stronger position than he was last year.’
“He said that this is ‘a result of the Russian military intervention.’
“Despite this, the president continues his misguided obsession in negotiating with Russia – as if our two countries have the same goal in mind when it comes to Syria.
“The White House says it’s negotiated a ceasefire with Russia in Syria.
“We’ve seen this before. Russia makes promises, Russia breaks promises. Russia makes new promises, Russia breaks promises.
“Syria makes promises, Syria breaks promises. Syria makes other promises; Syria breaks other promises. We’ve seen it with the chemical weapons.
“For almost eight years, this administration has been living in a cocoon of self-delusion with regard to Russia.
Foreign Policy Failures with Iran
“What about Iran? The president likes to talk about his nuclear deal with Iran as if he thinks it’s the greatest foreign policy success of all time.
“He believes that this deal is paving the way for an Iran without nuclear weapons, but instead it’s paving the way for a nuclear armed Iran.
“The deal means that the Iranian economy has already begun to benefit from access to more than $100 billion in assets.
“Now we’ve learned that just when that deal went into effect, President Obama went even further and arranged to send Iran another $1.7 billion in cash.
“He sent $400 million as a downpayment in January. And within 24 hours of sending them cash in Iran, the Iranians agreed to release a group of Americans who they’d been holding hostage.
“The White House says it this wasn’t a ransom payment to free these American hostages. They want the American people to believe it was just a coincidence in timing.
“Well, you can bet that the Iranians don’t believe it’s a coincidence, and actually they said it’s not a coincidence.
“We know from experience that the Iranians see hostage-taking as a valid way of conducting their own foreign policy. The president plays right into their hands.
“Now they’ve also gotten the message that for them it can be a very profitable approach as well.
“President Obama has been greasing the skids to get billions of dollars to Iran. He’s done nothing about getting Iran to pay the money it owes to U.S. victims of terrorism.
“According to the Congressional Research Service, courts have awarded more than $55 billion in damages to victims of Iran’s terrorism.
“These include victims of the 1979 embassy hostage crisis. They include victims of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, and the 1995 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
“Has President Obama done anything to secure America’s national interests by letting Iran think that we pay ransom for hostages?
“Is that a demonstration of American leadership? Of course it’s not.
“We all know that the world is a dangerous place, and that there are countries that are headed by thugs and zealots.
“And when the president of the United States responds on behalf of the people of the United States, and responds with weakness and desperation, other leaders interpret that fear, and see it as fear, and smell the weakness every time.
“We are going to keep seeing this kind of aggression and bullying by these macho men who run Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, and China.
“We need a foreign policy aimed at securing America’s national interests and demonstrating America’s leadership.
“Under President Obama, American power has declined, respect around the world has evaporated.
“And the Obama foreign policy has been a complete failure.”