January 4, 2020
What We’re Standing For
The events that shaped the decade
As the decade comes to an end, we’re taking a moment to remember some of the foreign and domestic policy events that have shaped the past 10 years. Many of these challenges and opportunities remain critically important as we enter a new decade. Here’s what we are standing for and what we are standing against in 2020 and beyond.
The will of the people
On Jan. 14, 2011, Tunisians ousted their dictatorial president, kicking off the Arab Spring. Pro-democracy uprisings followed in Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and Bahrain. Eight years later, Hong Kong citizens took to the streets to protest a proposed extradition bill that would have weakened Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China. From Africa, to Asia, to Latin America, this was a decade that saw millions of people bravely making their voices heard.
In other places, popular uprisings led to prolonged conflicts. In Syria, an uprising started after parents protested a brutal attack on a group of teenagers and grew into a horrific eight-year long civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more.
In Venezuela, two decades of socialism under Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolás Maduro have led to rocketing inflation, blackouts, starvation, extreme poverty, illness, death, and mass migration. Sadly, despite the Venezuelan people’s protests against Maduro and U.S.-led efforts to isolate the brutal socialist regime, Maduro has held tightly to power, causing more than 4.5 million people to flee the country and leaving millions more to suffer. The world must continue to stand up for the people of Venezuela.
Ambassador Nikki Haley has said time and again, when leaders don’t listen to their people, conflict will follow. As we begin the new decade, authoritarians around the world would do well to take notice.
It took 10 years, but on May 2, 2011 U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Eight years later, U.S. special forces killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwest Syria. And just this week, President Trump authorized a strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian terrorist who sowed chaos and violence across the Middle East, and was responsible for killing and injuring thousands of American soldiers. These successful operations made the world safer and would not have been possible without the brave men and women – and their families – who sacrifice to serve their country and fellow Americans.
Nearly 20 years removed from 9/11, there is a growing indifference toward the sacrifice our brave men and women face every day – both on the battlefield and when they return to civilian life. This is unacceptable. It shouldn’t take a war to appreciate national service. As Amb. Haley often says, “We are the land of the free because of the brave.”
Following the 2009 economic crisis that devastated many American families, the United States is now enjoying the longest economic expansion in American history. As of December, the U.S. economy has grown for 126-straight months and the S&P index has tripled in value.
→ Unemployment is 3.5%, the lowest in 50 years
→ Interest rates are at historic lows, allowing businesses to borrow, spend, and grow
→ We’ve seen wage growth across all income levels, with employers hiring and raising pay
The lesson of all this prosperity is that free markets work. Low taxes, reduced regulations, and an environment that encourages entrepreneurship benefit all.
Liberal calls for socialism are not only out of touch, they are plain wrong. Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, “free” programs, higher taxes – all these policies would only reverse the largest economic boom in history. Where’s the sense in that? 🤔
Leaving bad deals
Under the Trump administration, the United States said good-bye to a number of bad deals and organizations.
→ President Obama’s Iran deal: Amb. Haley has repeatedly argued that Iran could not be trusted to hold up its end of the bargain. Without a trustworthy partner and the necessary enforcement mechanism, the Iran deal gave the Iranian regime billions of dollars while it continued to enrich uranium, sponsor terrorism, and violate international law.
Now, as U.S. efforts to isolate Iran through economic sanctions prove successful, the regime is showing its true colors as it threatens the United States and our allies, demanding sanctions relief and orchestrating violent protests at our embassy in Iraq this week.
→ The Paris climate agreement: Orchestrated by President Obama, the agreement placed unfair and unrealistic restrictions on the United States and disadvantaged U.S. companies, especially vis-à-vis China, which produces more than a quarter of the world’s emissions – more than double the United States. Under the Paris agreement, China is allowed to increase its emissions until 2030 (they went up again in 2019) and remain a member in good standing, while the United States agreed to much more drastic short-term measures. Watch Amb. Haley’s response to the decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement here.
→ The hypocritical UN Human Rights Council: Amb. Haley spearheaded the U.S. move after UN members rejected all efforts to reform the long corrupt council that includes members like China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Amb. Haley’s explains why leaving the Human Rights Council made us stronger here.
The U.S. continues to experience an immigration crisis as millions of people have crossed our southern border illegally, overwhelming border security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and our courts.
We are a nation of immigrants and we should welcome people who want to come to this country legally and achieve the American Dream. But the United States is a country of laws and anyone who enters this country must follow those laws. The current crisis and the Left’s call for “open borders,” decriminalizing illegal border crossings, and sanctuary cities will endanger our citizens and our national identity.
Every nation has a right to protect and enforce its border. In fact, the U.S. government has a duty to do so. As Amb. Haley says, “a country isn’t a country unless it can control its borders.”
What we’re standing against
Spiraling debt 💰
The national debt stands at $23.1 trillion – or $69,999 for every person in the United States, or $179,695 for every household. It’s the highest level of debt as a percentage of the economy that we have seen since World War II.
These numbers are unsustainable. Our government will eventually run out of money and will be unable to make good on its obligations and promises. When that happens, we will be left with two choices: Raise taxes or print dollars – both would be devastating to our economic prosperity.
It’s time for Congress to get its act together and start acting responsibly.
Socialism used to be taboo. Today, self-declared socialists occupy the halls of Congress, and young Americans have a more favorable view of socialism than ever before. Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has surged, and the DSA helped elect socialists at all levels of government. Socialist policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, 70% tax rates, and nationalization of whole sectors of our economy have become commonplace proposals on the Left.
Numerous articles and reports have shown that these misguided policies would come at a great cost to our standard of living and economic growth. Socialism’s failure in other countries should be enough to send a stark message. But all this evidence hasn’t dulled the calls for socialism on the Left.
It’s up to us to continue to make the case for capitalism, not just as the best and fairest economic system, but as an integral part of our national story.
On March 4, 2012, Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed victory in a much disputed election. Nineteen years into his autocratic rule, Putin has grown increasingly aggressive, annexing Crimea, poisoning dissidents, and meddling in U.S. elections. One thing is clear: Putin is not our friend.
Growing Chinese aggression
When Xi Jinping took over as China’s new president in 2013, there were questions about what kind of leader he would be. No longer. Over the past decade, we have learned that Xi is aggressively devoted to protecting the Chinese Communist Party – no matter what or who stands in the way.
Under Xi’s leadership, China has detained hundreds of thousands of minority Uighurs in prison camps, denying them religious freedom, expanded surveillance over its citizens, and built up its military presence in the South China Sea. Xi also abolished presidential term limits, making himself president for life.
As Amb. Haley argues in her Foreign Affairs article, “The longstanding conventional wisdom about China’s liberalization and moderation is dead.” The new decade will require new thinking on how to work with China while recognizing the threat it poses, not only to America’s security and economic interests, but to democracy and freedom globally.
It’s no secret: Our politics has grown increasingly polarized, and this acrimony has spilled over into daily life and social media. This is a shame, because America is at its best when we talk to each other – not past each other. That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree and debate policies. It means we shouldn’t disrespect one another simply because we don’t support the same candidate or platform.
“Today, Americans increasingly see each other as the enemy, and that’s not right. Too many regard those who disagree with them not simply as wrong, but as evil. But it’s hard to have government by the people and for the people if we regard each other as unworthy of even having a conversation with.” – Amb. Haley