Better way: Foreign policy, national defense


Over the past few months, news of terrorist attacks has become all too familiar. With attacks from ISIS within our borders in San Bernardino and Orlando, we see the group becoming bolder and expanding its influence creating a significant national security threat both inside and outside of our borders.

The Administration has embraced a foreign policy strategy of leading from behind. From setting a dangerous precedent with the Iran nuclear deal, to refusing to establish a complete strategy to defeat ISIS, it is clear this policy has failed in nearly every situation. When America leads, the world is a safer place. I believe we need to stop leading from behind, and instead take the challenges we face head on.

This summer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans released the “Better Way” plan to offer ideas and solutions to get America back on track. One portion of this plan is a better strategy to handle our national security and foreign policy challenges. This includes ideas to better protect our country, defeat ISIS, tackle new threats, and defend freedom around the world.

First and foremost, we must protect our country by keeping terrorists from reaching our soil. This means securing our borders to keep terrorists from coming in, while preventing people who live in America from being recruited and radicalized. While we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws, and it is important to ensure those coming into our country are doing so legally and do not pose a threat to our citizens.

Keeping our country safe also means combating ISIS overseas. The President’s plan to join in air strikes has been assisted in the effort to contain ISIS. However, we not only need to contain ISIS, we need to defeat ISIS and their affiliates. The Better Way plan calls for a broad international coalition of allies and a comprehensive strategy to take the fight to ISIS and other terrorist groups. We have seen that these groups do not abide by borders. It is time we commit to preventing terrorists from attacking our country and allies, and from spreading their influence.

We have also seen a new kind of threat that has no borders – cyberattacks. The internet has become a dangerous weapon that can target governments, businesses, and private citizens. Terrorist organizations can use internet hackers against us, and it is important we address this by improving our cyber defenses and finding individuals carrying out these attacks.

In tackling these threats now, and in the future, our military and law enforcement need the proper resources to keep our country safe. Having served over 30 years in the Ohio National Guard, I understand the need for the federal government to maintain a strong national defense. While I have fought to reign in our overall spending and reduce our nation’s deficit, we cannot continue to allow arbitrary cuts and rollbacks to our military that hurt its ability to accomplish their missions. We also need to be sure our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are working seamlessly together to identify potential threats.

An effective foreign policy strategy also means engaging our allies and promoting freedom around the world. International agreements are important to our foreign policy, but they should be made responsibly and in a way that does not threaten our national security. The flawed Iran agreement did not require nuclear disarmament and supports a country with a record of human rights abuses and supporting terrorism. This is backwards logic — we should be holding countries like Iran more accountable and better supporting those nations that are committed to promoting democracy.

As we continue to address foreign policy and national security challenges, please know that it is my top priority to ensure the safety of you and your family. If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue facing the federal government, I invite you to call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard office at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster office at (740) 654-2654 or Wilmington office at (937) 283-7049. To learn more about the Better Way plan, visit

U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) represents Ohio’s 15th District.

Steve Stivers

U.S. Rep.

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