Sheldon Whitehouse on Foreign Policy
Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general
Traditional internationalist and support of Israel
Hinckley sounded an isolationist note by arguing for reduced foreign aid to hostile governments and a less robust American military presence abroad. Whitehouse countered with a traditional internationalist argument, citing
Republicans who disagree with Hinckley and suggesting his proposals could damage Israel. Whitehouse also had a good moment when he was asked about the recent attack in Libya and pivoted to recall the dangers his own father faced as a career diplomat.
Source: Examiner.com on 2012 R.I. Senate debate
, Oct 23, 2012
Voted NO on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-S211
on Oct 1, 2008
Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.
Whitehouse co-sponsored removing African National Congress from terrorist list
A bill to exempt the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization. [The ANC is now the ruling party of South Africa; as head of the ANC, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government before becoming President of South Africa].
Source: S.2979 08-S2979 on May 6, 2008
- For purposes of alien inadmissibility based upon terrorist-related grounds the African National Congress (ANC) shall not be considered to be a terrorist organization on the basis of any act or event that occurred before the date of enactment of such Act.
- Expresses the sense of Congress to exempt the anti-apartheid activities of aliens who are current or former officials of the government of the Republic of South Africa.
- Legislative Outcome: Related bill: H.R.5690; became Public Law 110-257 on 7/1/2008
Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.
Whitehouse co-sponsored implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force
A resolution calling for peace in Darfur.
Source: S.RES.455 08-SR455 on Feb 14, 2008
- Calls upon the government of Sudan and other signatories and non-signatories to the May 5, 2006, Darfur Peace Agreement to cease hostilities.
- Calls upon the government of Sudan to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force, including any non-African peacekeepers.
- Urges all invited individuals and movements to attend the next round of peace negotiations without preconditions.
- Condemns: (1) intimidation or threats against camp or civil society leaders to discourage them from attending the peace talks; and (2) actions by any party that undermines the Darfur peace process.
- Calls upon all parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to support all terms of the agreement.
- Legislative Outcome: Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Rated +1 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.
Whitehouse scores +1 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012
- S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
- S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
- S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
- S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a
negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
- S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
- S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
- S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
- S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
- S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
- S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.
Whitehouse co-sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense
RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:
- Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;
- Whereas Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;
- Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012
- expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the
State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
- reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
- encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Disallow Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel.
Whitehouse signed disallowing Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel
Excerpts from Letter from 73 Senators to Secretary of State Kerry We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the Palestinian Authority is not a state and its express intent is to use this process to threaten Israel.
Pres. Abbas' effort contravene the spirit of earlier agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and erodes the prospect for peace. Therefore, the US must make clear that joining the ICC is not a legitimate or viable path for Palestinians.
Israel is a major strategic partner of the US and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimize its very existence. The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, "U.S. Should Not Join the ICC," Aug. 18, 2009):
The ICC prosecutor is exploring a request by the Palestinian National Authority to prosecute Israeli commanders for alleged war crimes committed during the recent actions in Gaza. Palestinian lawyers maintain that the Palestinian National Authority can request ICC jurisdiction as the de facto sovereign even though it is not an internationally recognized state. By countenancing Palestine's claims, the ICC prosecutor has enabled pressure to be applied to Israel over alleged war crimes, while ignoring Hamas's incitement of the military action and its commission of war crimes against Israeli civilians. Furthermore, by seemingly recognizing Palestine as a sovereign entity, the prosecutor's action has created a pathway for Palestinian statehood without first reaching a comprehensive peace deal with Israel. This determination is an inherently political issue beyond the ICC's authority.
Source: Palestinian Bid to ICC 14LTR-ICC on Jan 29, 2015
Two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank.
Whitehouse signed two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
- Calls for such resolution to be repealed or fundamentally altered and allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.
- Notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the UN, its specialized agencies, and other international institutions outside of the context of a bilateral peace agreement with Israel would cause severe harm to the peace process.
- Urges upholding the U.S. practice of vetoing all Security Council resolutions that recognize unilateral Palestinian actions or dictate terms and a time line for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Reaffirms that it is U.S. policy to seek a sustainable, just, and secure two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Source: S.Res.6 & H.Res.11 17-SRes6 on Jan 3, 2017
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Whitehouse co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s
Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007
- WHEREAS the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and which succeeded in the elimination of more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
- WHEREAS, on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers issued the joint statement of England, France, and Russia that explicitly charged, for the first time ever, another government of committing "a crime against humanity";
- WHEREAS, despite the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides:
- NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate calls on the President, in the
President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide, to accurately characterize the systematic annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of US intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Condemn Iran for state-sponsored persecution of Baha'i.
Whitehouse signed bill condemning Iran for persecution of Baha'i
A resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of the Baha'i minority in Iran and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
- Whereas since 1982, Congress declared that it deplored the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of the Baha'i community and would hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of the Baha'i faith;
- Whereas in November 2007, the Iranian Ministry of Information in Shiraz jailed three Baha'is for educating underprivileged children and gave them 4-year prison terms, which they are serving;
- Whereas they were targeted solely on the basis of their religion;
- Whereas, on January 23, 2008, the US Department of State released a statement urging the Iranian regime to release all individuals held without due process and a fair trial, including the 3 young Baha'is being held;
- Whereas in March 2008,
Iranian intelligence officials arrested and imprisoned seven members of the coordinating group for the Baha'i community in Iran, on charges of 'espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic';Whereas these seven Baha'i leaders were targeted solely on the basis of their religion; and
- Whereas the Government of Iran is party to the International Covenants on Human Rights:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate and House of Representatives
- condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights;
- calls on the Government of Iran to immediately release the seven leaders and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion; and
- calls on the President and Secretary of State, in cooperation with the international community, to immediately condemn Iran's continued violation of human rights.
Source: SR71&HR175 2009-SR71 on Feb 13, 2009
Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.
Whitehouse signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members
Dear Secretary Rice,
Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007
In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
- Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
- Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
- Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
- Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
- End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
- Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
Page last updated: Jun 11, 2018