A Stronger, More Consistent Foreign Policy

April 17, 2017
Press Release
Op-ed Written by Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-01)

We need to send a powerful message to the world that there are lines which can never be crossed. On the night of April 6, 2017, the Syrian government used chemical weapons in a barbaric attack against its own people, resulting in the murder of dozens of Syrian men, women, and children. A violation of international law and a grievous crime against humanity, we as a nation cannot stand idly by witnessing such horrific acts of cruelty against civilians who want nothing but a peaceful life. These chemical weapons should have already been destroyed, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be held responsible and accountable. 

I strongly applaud the decision of the Trump Administration to launch a missile strike in response to these horrible crimes. This strike, which targeted infrastructure and not people, sends a forceful message that the United States has no tolerance for such actions. In the past, complacency and inaction have proven to be very costly, and we must be smarter and more effective with our efforts. An essential aspect of this is broadening our coalition of support; only then can we turn the tide in a country that is sadly in complete chaos, culminating in inhumane chemical warfare against innocent lives. The Syrian people deserve a new chapter which promises to change direction in favor of stability and peace. 

Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people was a cowardly and shameful tactic which only reinforces the reality that the Syrian people will never know peace unless something is done to eliminate this threat. President Trump’s decision to launch this missile strike was a demonstration to foreign governments that sponsoring horrific acts of terror, such as the April 6th chemical attack in Syria, comes with consequences. 

However, we must be smart about the kind of military strategy we employ. We are blessed to have the finest men and women in uniform serving the most amazing and talented military this world has ever seen. As such, when they are sent into harm’s way, they must be sent with a clear strategy to win or not be sent at all. I am not currently aware of any request for additional troops in Syria; however, if this is the direction the administration chooses to take, it is so important that any request receive careful examination which takes all factors into consideration to ensure it is the wisest possible option. There is a big difference between a request for a small amount of our best of the best of the best, such as our Navy Seals, Delta Force, Green Berets, Army Rangers, or Marines, to carry out an important mission that requires a very limited amount of personnel for a high value target, whether it’s individuals, equipment, or intelligence. On the other hand, sending tens of thousands of American troops in to occupy Syrian territory would definitely not be the right answer.

I have long believed that protecting America’s security at home and abroad and keeping our nation safe from any threat must always be our first priority. A destabilized Syria has directly contributed to the rise of ISIS and other regional and global threats; helping secure stability for their nation is an integral part of establishing peace for ours. We must pursue a stronger, more consistent foreign policy which strengthens our relationships with our allies and treats our adversaries as our adversaries. Eradicating the threat of terror wherever it may arise around the world is essential in securing the United States and rest of the free world. We must always do all in our power to keep our people safe, secure, and free.

Congressman Lee Zeldin, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, represents the First Congressional District of New York.