Liz Cheney Addresses Global Threats, Criticizes House Dem Leadership at Hudson Institute

'Our safety and our security relies upon preeminence, relies upon dominance'

Rep. Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney / Getty Images
May 14, 2019

Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) addressed foreign policy issues ranging from China to Iran to Russia during an event hosted by the Hudson Institute on Tuesday. She argued that America faces its most complicated global threat environment since World War II and went after House Democratic leadership for failing to address anti-Semitism in their party.

"The United States has to remember at all times that our safety and our security relies upon preeminence, relies upon dominance, and we've got to make sure we're focused on that, making sure we maintain that, and that we regain it in areas where we have lost it," Cheney said.

On the issue of China, Cheney expressed support for the Trump administration's approach to trade negotiations and said the Chinese "have made very clear that what they want is to diminish America's power globally."

Last week, the United States raised tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods after President Donald Trump said China pulled back from a trade deal that "was 95 percent there." China retaliated on Monday, announcing plans to increase tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports.

"I'm a free trader, but I think if you look at what the president and the administration are doing with respect to the tariffs, I support what they're doing. I think they are saying, look, we can no longer have a situation where the Chinese lie and so are working very much to get commitments in writing," Cheney said.

The White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy observed last June that China's economic growth "has been achieved in significant part through aggressive acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules (collectively, 'economic aggression')," adding that "China's economic aggression now threatens not only the U.S. economy but also the global economy as a whole."

Other sources of tension include freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, spying, and Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. The Wall Street Journal reported last month Chinese spies are increasingly recruiting U.S. intelligence officers, and in recent months, the United States has discouraged allies from using equipment made by Huawei, pointing to cybersecurity risks and the potential for spying.

Cheney also said she supports the administration putting maximum pressure on Iran, calling it the "right policy" and "crucial."

Last week, the administration sent a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, citing a "number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

"We want the Iranians to come back to the table. We want a real [nuclear] deal," Cheney said.

The New York Times reported on Monday that national security adviser John Bolton directed acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan to present White House security officials with a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks U.S. forces or accelerates nuclear weapons development.

"The Iranians have got to understand very clearly that any attempt to use force against the United States will be met by an overwhelming response," Cheney later added.

As for Russia, Cheney called Russian president Vladimir Putin an "adversary" and a "thug."

Cheney's remarks on Russia come as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with Putin on Tuesday.

In Venezuela, Russia has supported dictator Nicolas Maduro against Juan Guaido, the National Assembly president backed by the United States. In March, Russia sent troops to Venezuela, further raising the stakes of the conflict.

Russia is also allied with Iran, and remains a signatory to the Iran nuclear deal, which the administration pulled out of last year. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of creating a crisis with Iran "by their unilateral decisions."

"I think the threat that adversarial Russia poses is another reason to make sure our commitment to NATO is absolutely clear, absolutely solid," Cheney said.

Cheney also went after House Democratic leadership for not confronting anti-Semitism within their party.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) recently praised her Arab ancestors for giving up their "dignity" and "lives" to help Jews who survived the Holocaust. She also complained that the situation was "forced" on them, then said this part of Holocaust history gave her a "calming" feeling.

CNN's John King pointed out that Tlaib "ignored the fact that Palestinian leaders at the time allied themselves with Hitler and that total war is how the Arab world reacted to the declaration of Israeli independence."

In February, fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) invoked the anti-Semitic dual loyalty canard, saying she wanted "to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country." Earlier that month, she had to backtrack from anti-Semitic tweets which, among other things, accused AIPAC of paying politicians to be pro-Israel.

"What you are seeing today out of my colleagues on the Democratic side in the House is a kind of vitriolic anti-Semitism that should have no place in any of our public discourse," Cheney said, later adding that Democratic leadership "should be ashamed of themselves" for failing to stand up to anti-Semitism.