Rep. Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax there is a “fundamental weakness” in the Obama administration’s foreign policy that is evident in the cooling of relations between the U.S. and our strongest allies, Israel and Britain.
The Michigan Republican also says people in his state are so angry over the passage of Obama’s healthcare reform bill that they would recall the two Michigan senators who voted for it if they could.
Rep. Hoekstra was first elected in 1992 and is the top Republican on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is not running for re-election in November and instead seeks the GOP nomination for governor in Michigan.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.tv, Hoekstra expressed disappointment with the recent global nuclear weapons summit in Washington, where President Obama tried to convince China to go along with sanctions against Iran over its nuclear development program.
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“This conference was focused on stopping nuclear weapons from getting in the hands of terrorists,” Hoekstra says.
“You know something? Most of the world agrees on that. That was not the topic that needed to be discussed. What really needed to be discussed was, how do we stop proliferation in Iran, North Korea.
“As for the conversation that the president had with the Chinese — I’m not at all surprised that the Chinese refused to cooperate, or maybe paid lip service to what needs to be done with North Korea and Iran. Because it wasn’t the focus of the summit and we didn’t put pressure on China and we didn’t create a forum where the world community could put pressure on China and Russia to stop this proliferation.”
Hoekstra agrees that a nuclear Iran is a real concern not only to Middle East but also Europe and the United States, especially if it increases the risk of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.
“But if you don’t have China and don’t have Russia coming along [with sanctions], it’s going to be very, very difficult to get the kind of results that we need.”
Obama has had a rocky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and both leaders declined to attend the summit. Asked what message that sends to the White House, Hoekstra responds:
“You’ve got our key ally in the Middle East, the Israelis, saying we’re not going to come, we’re not going to participate in this. And then you’ve got our key ally in the Gulf War, the Brits, saying we’re not going to come.
“I think it demonstrates a fundamental weakness in this administration’s foreign policy. They cater to our enemies and they don’t develop the relationships with our friends. It is a real problem.”
Hillary Clinton recently expressed fear that al-Qaida is getting nuclear weapons material, and Obama said at the summit that this is a growing problem. But Hoekstra tells Newsmax that he is “not aware of any new intelligence that the problem is any more serious today than what it was a few months ago.”
A recent poll shows Hoekstra with a double-digit lead over Democratic Speaker of the House Andy Dillon in Michigan, a state with two very liberal senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. The reason for that, Hoekstra says, is “because I’m in touch with the people here in Michigan and I think my two senators are not.
“I can tell you, after the healthcare vote, if the citizens of Michigan [could] do to our federal officials what we do with our state elected officials, I think you’d see Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, and [Rep.] Bart Stupak up for recall.
“The folks in Michigan are very unhappy with the votes these representatives are casting in Washington, especially on healthcare.”
Hoekstra blames high unemployment in Michigan on the state’s “anti-growth, anti-business, anti-job administration” that has been in power for seven years.
“We have made it hard to do business in Michigan. We have made it expensive to do business in Michigan. That can be fixed. We just need to get government out of the way.”
Hoekstra also says that as governor, he would have Michigan go along with other states that are suing the federal government over the Obamacare healthcare mandates.
“The federal government has assumed a lot of responsibility that should be done by the states,” he adds, “and the federal government doesn’t do it very well.”
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