For more than a decade, our country has been engaged in wars abroad - wars that stretched our military, our families, and our finances. We should always exhaust all other options before going to war, and we must never again put wars on a credit card for our grandchildren to pay for.
If a war is unavoidable and in our national interest, then we should be willing to pay for it as we fight it. Either all of us go to war, or none of us go to war.
I believe it is time for our service members to come home from Afghanistan. We need to get out as quickly as possible, consistent with the safety of our troops and with a transition to Afghan control. Ultimately, it is the Afghans who must take responsibility for their own future.
Around the world, the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a critical challenge. Every additional finger on the nuclear button makes our world and our citizens less safe. Every new country with nuclear weapons creates the added risk of those weapons being lost or stolen. Every new nuclear power makes it more likely their neighbors will seek nuclear weapons as well.
In Asia, the recent leadership transition in North Korea and its failed missile launch in April 2012 are developments that require continued U.S. monitoring and attention, in addition to close cooperation with our allies and continued efforts with those in the region.
If there is to be progress, North Korea must first take action to demonstrate good faith including suspending enrichment, halting missile tests, and allowing international inspectors into the country.
In the Middle East, the facts on the ground are changing rapidly. The United States and the European Union are imposing some of the toughest sanctions ever on Iran - including sanctions against Iran's central bank.
I support the approach President Obama - joined by a bipartisan consensus in Congress - has taken in working to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. A nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world.
I support strong economic sanctions in conjunction with other countries that have placed serious political pressure on Iran, as well as vigorous diplomacy to try to resolve the situation through negotiations.
Like the President, I believe that careless talk of rushing to war is unhelpful, and, like the President, I believe the United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
As a country, we have been fortunate to have avoided any devastating attacks since 9/11. It's a testament to the hard work of our intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and military personnel. As recently as May, these professionals disrupted an Al Qaeda plot to target civilian aircraft using an explosive designed in Yemen.
It has now been more than one year since the death of Osama bin Laden, and the President's assertive operations have eliminated many of Al Qaeda's senior leadership and weakened its affiliates. But the threat of terrorism remains, and we must remain vigilant.
We must continue our political, military, economic, and diplomatic efforts against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and we need to continue to support the efforts of our intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and military professionals.