Background on the candidate’s statements, positions, and record on diplomacy, global development, and America’s role the world

On U.S. global leadership:

  • As a former three-term Member of Congress, Beto O’Rourke has called for an engaged U.S. foreign policy that “strengthens our historic friendships, earns the respect of the world… and brings the world together around otherwise intractable problems – from building on the Paris Agreement to achieve even bolder action on climate, to pursuing nuclear disarmament, to ending our wars and finding peaceful, diplomatic paths forward.”
  • He has often focused on U.S. global leadership in combating climate change, saying: “We can use our status as the indispensable nation to reassert our global leadership, convene the nations of the world around a challenge that affects every single man, woman, and child on this planet.”

On diplomacy, global development, and national security:

  • Representative O’Rourke called for elevating diplomacy to avoid military conflict, tweeting, “You can’t increase military funding and slash diplomacy and development funding and expect us to do anything other than be at war forever.”
  • In the House, he served on the Armed Services Committee, including the Central American and U.S.-Mexico Friendship Caucuses, and was a strong supporter of the International Affairs Budget. He voted in favor of the 2016 Global Food Security Act, the Export-Import Reauthorization of 2015, the Electrify Africa Act of 2014, and the Fiscal Year 2014 State Department Authorization.
  • Calling the establishment of the UN, NATO, the Bretton Woods system, and the Marshall Plan, “the pinnacle of American leadership in foreign affairs,” O’Rourke has committed to “replicating the successes of our past by investing in aid to regions like Central America to promote peace and economic growth.”
  • On the effects of climate change, O’Rourke has said, “Climate change is exacerbating global conflicts, reversing social and economic progress, and driving families to migrate in order to escape disasters.” He also noted the national security implications from global instability as a result of climate change saying “The U.S. military has gone so far as to call climate change a threat multiplier.”

On global health:

  • In 2018, Representative O’Rourke joined a bi-partisan letter on combating tuberculosis, stating “real progress has been made in the fight to end TB… However, more progress is needed and new tools are necessary.” The letter also warned that “if left unchecked, the TB pandemic could erase decades of progress in global efforts to end both TB and HIV/AIDS, much of which has been achieved with United States support.”
  • Marking the 15th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2018, he joined with congressional colleagues in co-signing a letter calling for continued resources and support, and stating that “U.S. leadership, through PEPFAR, bilateral partnerships, and with multilateral investments in the Global Fund, has been transformative in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

On alliances:

  • Representative O’Rourke has stressed working with allies, saying, “As president, I will make sure that we live our values and our foreign policy. I will ensure that we strengthen those alliances and partnerships and friendships and meet any challenges that we face together.”

On global economic engagement:

  • On fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Representative O’Rourke said at the time, “I have ultimately decided that the TPA bill lays out some really strong goals and objectives for the president to negotiate with our trading partners to open markets up for our exports, which is good for our economy and could potentially be really good for jobs in El Paso.”

On aid to the Northern Triangle:

  • Representative O’Rourke has said he will “make Latin America and specifically Central America a top foreign policy priority – stop relegating it to second-tier status – invest the time, talent and resources to assist in the development of the domestic institutions that will allow these countries to thrive and offer their citizens protection and economic opportunity.”
  • In response to foreign aid cuts to the Northern Triangle, he said “We should be investing even more, double what we’re spending today in the Northern Triangle.”

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