Obama's Foreign Policy Incompetence

Congressman Ed Royce speaks at the Freedom Center's West Coast retreat.

Editor’s note: The following talk by Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) was delivered at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2012 West Coast Retreat, held March 30th-April 1st at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California. Video of congressman’s speech can also be seen below.

Congressman Ed Royce:  Thank you very much.  Michael and I were just talking about the fact that yes, yes we did run Barney Frank out.  That is true.  But he said, "Well, who's in line to be chairman if the Democrats take the House in Financial Services?"  Well, Maxine Waters has been given the nod.  So, you know, one step forward, two back.

I did want to share with you a few thoughts this morning, just about some of the ways in which the President has been working to fundamentally transform America with respect to his policies on debt, with respect to the policies as it relates to energy, as it relates to foreign policy.  And I think I'll just start with the healthcare bill because a few of you noticed the estimate that just came out of the Congressional Budget Office that the President's original estimates of $900 billion cost over the next 10 years was a little shy.  It's actually going to be double that.  Now, that's the bad news for President Obama.  The good news, I guess, is that we're now 30th in math, so nobody will notice the fact that we now have doubled the cost of a new entitlement, a new entitlement.

And this is what I think is most stunning to me, because as one of the deficit hawks who used to go to the floor and press the President and, yes, Karl Rove, on the $161 billion deficit that we had reached, wow, those were the good old days.  Because within one year, one year later with all the stimulus spending, President Obama had that at tenfold, the worst deficit that we had seen.  We were at $161 billion; all of a sudden we go to $1.6 trillion.

And guess what?  The President has no plan to ratchet this back down.  Every year we're at $1.5 trillion in new deficit spending under this president for as far as the eye can see.  And the consequences of this is the $5 trillion addition to the debt under this administration.  And not one -- when you look at it, I mean, we've gone through four St. Patrick's Days now and we haven't had one green job, one net green job created here.  The unemployment rate is the same as it was four years ago, but the number of people out of work, the number of people in the workforce is dramatically higher.

And the other concept here is the fact that as you've got young people graduating from high school or college into the workforce, you've got to grow that economy at 2%.  So if you have more people out of work that have left the labor force than four years ago, where are you going with this economic plan?

And what is this plan?  With respect to energy, what is the vision here?  And I want to just speak to an issue that I've held a number of hearings on and that is our energy policy, which seems to be to drive up the price of gas.  I think it was $1.83 a gallon when the President came into office and now it's $4 a gallon.  Drive up the price by driving down the amount that can be produced on public lands.  Occasionally you'll hear, well, there's some more gas production that's going on on private lands.  Yes, that's the production they haven't figured out a way to stop yet.

And still the number of permits that are actually given out are a fraction of what they were historically.  And at the same time you have on these major projects -- and let's just look at one of them, the attempt by Canada to create a market for its reserves out of Alberta, which are the third largest in the world.  And so you have a situation with the Keystone Pipeline where there was an attempt to use gravity and connect that pipeline up with our refineries here in the United States.

Now, as you know, the Canadian Prime Minister, Harper, after the President turned down this proposal, has met with Hu Jintao, the head of state for China, and they have now discussed China, which already has vast energy holdings, by the way, in British Columbia.  China has been preparing for this day.  And just as across Africa and across Latin America they have been able to make these major investments, now they're in British Columbia.  And the requirement that the Canadians have in order to find a source for their oil now that it has been blocked will produce a pipeline, but it will go west instead of south.

We had an opportunity to be less reliant on Middle Eastern oil.  We had an opportunity to buy our oil from our ally instead of our adversaries and to send those dollars north to an ally in which 85% of the money, according to economists, would be regenerated back into our economy.  But we decided rather than to do that, we would take an alternative option, foreclose that pipeline, and create a circumstance where, instead of today where oil prices, energy prices are 20% higher in Asia than in the United States -- our economic competitors pay 20% higher for their energy costs with respect to their manufacturing than we do.  And we are now going to inverse that relationship.  We are going to do what we can do to make certain that China has possession for the next 30 years of what comes out of Alberta and so that its energy costs for production and its competition against the United States can now be lower than ours.

This is really astounding, that the President in the face of opposition from labor, in the face of opposition from the Chamber, who estimates that it's a quarter million jobs -- the President will te- -- well, it's only 20,000 direct jobs in terms of the pipe manufacture.  Right, but what about the Caterpillar tractors and all the rest of it?  What about the indirect impact of this kind of activity?  And what about what it would mean in terms of generating or rebooting the economy if you were to further bring down the cost of energy long term in the United States?

Well, you've got to hand it to this administration.  I mean, they are committed to fundamentally transforming this economy and they have their vision in terms of what they're going to do in terms of higher energy prices.  They've said they want to double it.  They have indicated they want to go the route that Europe is on in this.  But, you know, our labor costs are higher here.  The way we always competed economically was that our energy costs were lower.  And we are now giving that up.

And I also had some observations just in terms of the Administration's policies with respect to foreign policy.  Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, and a great author, by the way, was in my office a few weeks ago.  And we reviewed the map surrounding Israel.

And of course on one border you've got an imploding Syria.  On another border you have Lebanon rearming, rearming with Hezbollah basically now getting an inventory of longer-range missiles than the ones that I saw in 2006.  I went there during the Hezbollah war.  And at that time I watched that port in Haifa that was closed for almost 30 days.  Now, that's the artery in which, you know, Israel's survival is dependent upon that.  I watched that come in under attack every day, every day, from those missiles.  This is the kind of environment that we see there.

We see Fatah and Hamas come up with this unity pact.  Now I remember when we pressed the Administration on this what was -- about making the statements that would make it clear that we would not countenance such an arrangement.  But instead of bold statements, instead of the statement that the United States would not support a terrorist government, we just heard talk out of the Administration.  And finally, when it's done, when it's a done deal, the spokesman from the State Department says it's an internal matter for the Palestinians.

Egypt used to be Israel's stable neighbor and now the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are the dominant parties.  The cops are fleeing.  We didn't use the influence that we had between our Pentagon and the military in Egypt to force the kind of constitution and changes that moderate forces were demanding.  And so now they're not in a position to influence the outcomes.

And the Sinai's the Wild West.  And Israel is, understandably, rushing to build a fence there now.

And these are just the threats on Israel's immediate borders.  These are just -- this is just small potatoes compared to the big threat.  Because you and I know, I mean, Iran might be struggling under sanctions, but the Iranian enrichment continues day after day.  And the IAEA now gives us the results every month in terms of the ability to build and deliver a nuclear weapon.  So this is the time more than ever when Israel needs friends.

And so I thought I would just look at some of the statements coming out of the Administration in terms of this fundamental transformation of our foreign policy.  You've got the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, saying, asking this question to reporters -- "Is it enough to maintain a military edge?"  He's speaking of Israel.   "Is it enough if you're isolating yourself in a diplomatic arena?"

Then we've got the President's stern lecture to Israeli leaders in front of the United Nations, and in Egypt, and in Turkey.

And then, speaking again of Mr. Panetta's remarks, well, he's got backup for those remarks.  President Erdogan of Turkey said, "Oh," he said, "Mr. Panetta's correct in his assumptions."

Mr. Obama had that meeting with the President of France, with Nicholas Sarkozy.  And we heard about the exchange.  The President of France says, "I can't stand Netanyahu."  Now, this is an opportunity -- well, you could respond if you're the President of the United States, "We've got to understand all of the pressure that he's un-…"  I mean, there are ways to diplomatically respond to a comment like that, other than this quote from the President, where rather than defend Israel's back, rather than counter, he says, "You're tired of him?  What about me?  I have to deal with him every day."  Those are the words of the President when he didn't know the microphone was on.  That's not the first time, by the way.

So they asked the President of the United States and he says, "Oh, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is one of the five world leaders with whom I've developed a bond of trust."  This is not said before, it is said after that flotilla is sent with six ships from Turkey in order to try to bust the arms embargo off the coast of Gaza.  All right?

And then last month you had the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, she was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to Zionist lobbies, was the question.  And she acknowledges that that's a fair question, "a fair question," in her words.  And then says that during an election season, again in her words, "There are comments made that certainly don't reflect our foreign policy."

Now you don't often get the opportunity to hear what an American president is thinking when he thinks the microphone is off, as I said earlier.  But to actually hear the President of the United States assuring foreign leaders that concessions are coming their way but they have to wait because he's seeking reelection and that he doesn't dare tell us what he's thinking, that's a real astounding opportunity for us as Americans to learn that he thinks that if people knew about the flexibility he's going to be given after the election to cave on missile defense, to know that he thinks that we might think twice as a nation about putting him back in office if he were to do that, that's interesting to me.  To know that in an area where we have an [insurmountable,] unmatched lead in technology, where we have the strategic advantage for three decades -- the Russians have tried to get us to give up that strategic advantage.  To know that somebody's thinking about giving that away or bargaining that away in advance, to know also that someone who is committed to nuclear disarmament, to radically reducing our stockpiles, at the same time is giving away the defense, where is the logic in this?

This is what I can't quite comprehend because when you're telling your competitor this and then he says to you, "I will transmit that back to Vladimir, I will transmit that to Mr. Putin," and then says to the President of the United States, "I stand with you."  No kidding?  I'll bet he stands with us.

You know, it is no secret that the President of the United States wants a world without nuclear weapons.  But I don't think even the most ardent arms controller was prepared for what came out in the Associated Press last month.  The Commander in Chief has asked the Pentagon to study alternative approaches to nuclear deterrents, alternative approaches.  The arsenal right now that we have is about 1,800.  It's set to go down to 1,500 by 2018.  Well, Pentagon planners have been asked to look at bringing this down to as few as 300 warheads.  That's an arsenal on par with France.

And this comes at a time when nobody else is even considering reducing their nuclear arsenals.  I had a hearing recently where we had some new evidence with respect to big the arsenal really is in China.  You'd think the President would at least negotiate for constraints elsewhere.  I mean, that was sort of the modus operandi we used with the Soviet nuclear stockpile.  But that's not what drives this.  It's a vision that drives this.  And I will remind you of that vision.  In 2009 when he first put forward this idea that the United States would not have a nuclear inventory, the President claimed it would give the United States, and I quote his words -- greater moral authority to say to Iran, don't develop a nuclear weapon if we don't have one.  To say to North Korea, don't proliferate nuclear weapons.  It would give us greater moral authority to do that.

Well, Iran is a human rights horror show and as somebody once said, "A regime that can take a rock in its right hand to stone a woman to death should not have a nuclear bomb within reach of its left hand."  That's the point.  And I think everyone else is beginning to figure this out that is paying attention.  But the President continues to push down this road.  I mean, even the wife of the President of France wrote that open letter about the stoning of Ashtiani, asking that not be done.  And by the way, what was the official response from the public media in [France]?  They said she deserved to die for her perverted lifestyle.  We're not talking here about the woman who was supposed to be stoned.  The newspaper was saying the wife of the President of France was a prostitute and deserved to die for her perverted lifestyle.  Now, the Ayatollah there appoints the editor in chief of that magazine.  That's official state policy.

So the bottom line to me, the bottom line to me is that we have a president who is out of touch with the views around the world, with a president who believes if we give up our nuclear weaponry, then maybe Pakistan will respond, a country where 82% of Pakistani's, by the way, support stoning of women in these cases.  Two percent of Pakistanis believe Al-Qaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.  There are 12,000 madrassas -- I go every year to Pakistan, so I can update you.  There are 12,000 madrassas indoctrinating youth in jihad right now and the graduating class will come out in September.  The population is growing in terms of those who believe in sharia relative to those who believe in democracy.  And among the youth in Pakistan it's the majority.

So this is the world that we actually live in and this is the challenge that we actually face.  And we have an opportunity to do something about this.  In the last election cycle I was cochairman of our Battle Ground program to seek out opportunities to take the House in that cycle from Nancy Pelosi.  And we picked up 63 net House Republican seats.  Well, we have done this.  This time we recruited in every seat across the country because ever since we won those special elections in New York and in Nevada, ever since we took Schumer's old seat, we have had candidates coming forward in literally every district saying if we can win a special election in New York, maybe we can win in the general.

We have candidates everywhere and this is what we've asked of them.  This time we're not just going to press them for 63 net seats.  We're going to press them across the board, because our plan is to create enough momentum that our presidential nominee has behind him a network on the ground in every single Congressional district in this country and our Senate contestants have the same level of support.

And I can tell you, ideas have consequences.  Yeah, bad ideas have bad consequences.  We have an opportunity out there to go before the public and with candidates across this country to speak out just about the truth in terms of what's happening in foreign policy and domestic policy and in energy policy in this country.  And I think our arguments are going to resonate and don't discount that we'll take the Senate and the White House and pick up seats in the House of Representatives and then go to a great inauguration ceremony.

Thank you all very much for what you do.

Michael's reminding me to take one or two questions.  I'd be happy to do that if -- or hear what you have to say, either way.  [Karen]?

Unidentified Audience Member:  Is there a way to reengage on the pipeline?  I know the Senate has a measure to -- I didn't know if it was to revisit part of it?

Congressman Ed Royce:  The question that Karen asks, is there a way to reengage on the pipeline?  And if you saw the President's press conference, he has reengaged.  He said, "Well, I'm going to build part of the pipeline."  And he went down to Cushing, Oklahoma and he said, "I'm going to build a pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to neighboring Texas."  And of course, the whole point is that the only role the President has in this is whether he allows the Canadian company to come over the border or not.  He has said, no, he is not going to allow that.  However, he will -- he has no say in whether Oklahoma and Texas build a pipeline.  Of course they're going to build a pipeline.  His, you know, veto is over the TransCanada pipeline.  So the question is how to get that reversed.  And the answer is a new president of the United States.  That's how to get it reversed.  Thanks, Karen.

Yes, Jack?

Unidentified Audience Member:  I think if people generally knew some of the things you've said the election would be a breeze.  Why aren't we getting that message out?

Congressman Ed Royce:  Jack asks me this question and it always encourages me to go back and talk to my colleagues again.  The problem -- one of the problems we're having is that we can get on talk radio and talk about these things, which we do, but we're talking to our own audience.  The problem is when we get before ABC, NBC, CBS, they make the decision in terms of the questions they want to ask us or what answers they want to show on the nightly news.  We have got to figure out a way -- we're trying to do that with the Internet.  Frankly, that's what you're all trying to do, helping David in his effort to find ways through the popular culture to, you know, percolate this up.  I can tell you I -- in the last week I've had three town meetings, one women's forum, all of this dedicated to trying to advance this kind of -- and my colleagues are trying to do the same thing.  We're not getting help from the major media.

And one of the ways really -- one of the things that would have been effective is the presidential nominee.  So we should be thinking about how to impact the thinking of that campaign.  Right?  Because that's where the bully pulpit is going to be and that's where we're going to have some rubber hitting the road, you know, some straight talk, some bottom line with the public on these issues that really matter to the public.  And we can't dance around them.  And we've got to get our nominee to discuss that.

Yes, I'll -- go ahead.  Last question.

Unidentified Audience Member:  Is there any concern about Hillary's personal aide, Huma Weiner, and her connection to -- her family connection to the Muslim Brotherhood?

Congressman Ed Royce:  Well, I don't, I don't have enough information on that other than to tell you that at least we took the Congressional seat in a special election from her husband.  And the consequences of that in a district that had been a Democratic seat for generations, a district, as I told you, that Chuck Schumer had held -- I mean, for Anthony Weiner to be out of office but then on top of it for a qualified Democrat to lose resoundingly in one of the most Democratic seats in the country, it speaks to the issue of how concerned people are about the President's foreign policy.  And people should be concerned about the direction of the President's foreign policy.

Okay, last question.  Go ahead.

Unidentified Audience Member:  Unfortunately I live in the San Fernando Valley and the -- our choice there is either going to be Howard Berman or Brad Sherman.  And what suggestions do you have for those of us who don't like those choices?

Congressman Ed Royce:  Speak with me afterwards.  All right?  All right.

Listen, thank you all very much for the opportunity to address you here.

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