Kinzinger serves in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and previously served in the House Foreign Affairs Committee during the 113th Congress. National security is a priority for Kinzinger since he served in the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s an advocate for strong U.S. leadership in the Middle East in order to eradicate ISIS.
Due to his strong belief in a U.S. leadership-driven foreign policy, he was also nicknamed “Henry Kissinger’s Grandson.”
“What’s going on in the Middle East is like a fire in an apartment complex. If we don’t do anything, it will keep on spreading and the region will eventually burn down,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger believes that it is in the U.S.’s best interest to lead by example in self-governance and democracy. While military presence can provide power and influence, the real change ultimately comes through the war of ideas.
In war-torn Middle Eastern countries, there are high adult illiteracy rates and it’s hard to educate the future generation. Since adults aren’t able to teach children how to live morally and upright, children become easy targets to train in terrorist ways. Kinzinger believes that the best way to drain the education of terror is through anti-terror education so the children can learn not to follow in the paths of terrorism.
“Without any action, the problems in the Middle East are only going to spread,” Kinzinger said. Kinzinger addressed Bashar al-Assad’s reign in Syria and said that he ultimately needs to leave power. He believes that Syrian needs American leadership to train trustworthy police forces and teach people about democracy in order for the Syrians to take back their country. Kinzinger believes the U.S. military is a the primary power to dethrone Assad.
“Syrians have a national identity and don’t want to be run by extremism. The longer Assad stays in power, the recruiting for extremist groups continues to grow,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger also discussed Donald Trump’s idea of foreign policy and how Trump believes how to deal with the Middle East. Trump’s “America first” foreign policy stance comes from an isolationist viewpoint, unlike Kinzinger’s view in strong U.S. involvement in the world. Kinzinger believes that when the U.S. remains uninvolved in the world, chaos ensues.
Trump said that Muslims should be banned from the country. Kinzinger addressed that comment and said that not only is than an offensive comment but it also shows Trump’s unwillingness to work together with people in the Middle East.
“Middle Eastern leaders are concerned with Trump’s rhetoric,” Kinzinger said. “We also have to have Muslim allies in the Middle East to help fight the war on terror. Banning all of them harms international affairs.”
Kinzinger refuses to support Trump and he expressed that he’s willing to take the risky stances and make the risky votes, even if that means the risk of losing his congressional seat. But Kinzinger is not completely closed off to Trump because he wants to eventually get to a place where he can support him. Unfortunately from a foreign policy viewpoint, Trump and Kinzinger don’t see eye-to-eye.