November 30, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today underscored the importance of diplomatic efforts to support and strengthen United States national security interests during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing was held to receive testimony from outside experts on recommendations for a future National Defense Strategy.
“Defending the national security of the United States involves a continuum, it seems to me, that goes from diplomacy to war,” Senator King said to the witnesses before the Armed Services Committee. “War is the most expensive and least desirable of those outcomes.
“I think of Afghanistan. Our success there will ultimately depend upon the success of the government in Afghanistan to gain the confidence of its people. In Iraq, the relationship between the government of Iraq, and the Kurds, and the Sunni population is ultimately going to determine if Iraq is a successful state. North Korea, the solution to North Korea lies through diplomacy with China. I think everyone appreciates and understands that. The reason Iran is not North Korea today is because of the JCPOA, which was passed two years ago. Otherwise – according to the intelligence services – we would be dealing with an Iran with a nuclear weapon, today, about two years from when we passed that bill. Israel-Palestine, a major flashpoint for conflict in the Middle East, it’s all about diplomacy.”
Senator King went on to discuss the issues with staffing at the U.S. Department of State, and highlighted the need to fill important posts at the department.
“Right now, by the way, under the current dispensation, this part of the strategy – that is diplomacy – is being drastically downgraded, with budgets cut at the State Department,” said Senator King. “We don’t have an Ambassador to South Korea, for example, or even a nominee.”
The witnesses before this morning’s hearing were Dr. Mara E. Karlin, Associate Professor Of The Practice Of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies; Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, President And Chief Executive Officer, Center For Strategic Budgetary Assessments; Mr. David A. Ochmanek, Senior Defense Research Analyst, RAND Corporation; Lieutenant General Thomas W. Spoehr, USA (Ret.), Director Of The Center For National Defense, Heritage Foundation; Ms. Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow Of The Marilyn Ware Center For Security Studies, The American Enterprise Institute.