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The Case for Restraint

March 6, 2018

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Moderated by Dean Vali Nasr

Dean Vali Nasr welcomed Congressman Walter Jones and Congressman Ro Khanna for a discussion on possible areas of bipartisan collaboration in US foreign policy formulation. Nasr said the conversation will be highly instructive for a school that has produced numerous policy professionals throughout its nearly 75-year history.

Congressman Walter Jones shared his perspective as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and his 22 years of representing North Carolina's 3rd district, home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. He voiced his sympathy for the families that have lost loved ones in US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jones said he is troubled by the US war in Afghanistan, the nation's longest, costing over $1 trillion, 20,000 wounded and the lives of more than 2,300 American service members. Jones has made repeated calls for Congress to debate Afghanistan policy and is frustrated that the legislature has not visited the issue since 2001.

Congressman Ro Khanna thanked Jones for being a voice of courage in the US House. Khanna explained his support for restraint in foreign policy as a matter of both human rights and of US national interest. Restraint does not equal isolationism, Khanna said. The US should be actively engaged in the world but can better project its values through peace than by force, which has harmed its credibility in global relations, Khanna said.  

Questions from the audience focused on the political environment behind Congress' reluctance to debate ongoing military force, the value of diplomacy and soft power, and the balance of power in the Middle East.

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