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

On U.S. global leadership:

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has positioned herself as a proponent for American engagement, saying “This country has always stood as a beacon of light and hope for the world. We’ve always led the world… on humanitarian disasters, on setting the stage for democracy, on doing the right thing, standing by our allies.”
  • Gillibrand has spoken out on how American global leadership advances our economy and promotes our values, saying “American leadership is indispensable around the world. Americans are better off when our democratic values, the rule of law, human rights, labor rights, peacefully shape the action of government around the globe. We are more powerful and a more secure global economy and community when our foes and our friends alike know where we stand and know that we will stand by our commitments.”
  • She has said she would prioritize “restoring our leadership in the world, addressing things like global climate change, and being that beacon of light and hope in the world.”

On diplomacy, global development, and national security:

  • Senator Gillibrand has called for increased investments in diplomacy and development as key tools to prevent instability and conflict, stating “Economic development, building democratic institutions, counterextremism programs – these are not handouts. They’re the most important investments we can make for American national security. It helps our economy prosper, and it helps avoid the greater cost of war.”
  • She has said America needs “a strong and strategic foreign policy, not endless wars.” In her speech announcing her candidacy for president, she said, “We need to leverage our diplomatic tools to make Americans more prosperous and more secure – and always treat military force as the last resort.”
  • Pointing to the connection between empowering women around the world and stability, she has said as president she would “Place a significant importance [on gender] because it’s good for worldwide stability and good for the economy of these emerging countries and these destabilized countries. We know from studies that when you have women in political leadership more money is invested in clean water, in affordable housing, in healthy food, in stability.”
  • Following a trip to Africa in 2015, Gillibrand spoke up on the need to invest strategically on the continent to prevent the roots of terrorism from taking hold, saying “It was so helpful to me to understand how terrorism grows – what works to stop its growth” adding that “this is not a challenge we can beat with the military alone. And frankly, every military leader said that.” She suggested that the solutions should include “more assistance to the development of a civil society, educational opportunities for girls, and micro-loans for economic development.”
  • She has historically voted in support of the International Affairs Budget and co-sponsored the 2008 International Violence Against Women Act, the Global Democracy Promotion Act, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization, and the Zika Response Amendment.
  • In a bipartisan show of support for the International Affairs Budget, Gillibrand joined with 41 other senators in a 2018 letter led by Senators Durbin and Young calling for robust funding for diplomacy and development.

On global health:

  • Marking World AIDS Day, Senator Gillibrand has tweeted, “We must continue to fund global HIV/AIDS research & relief efforts so we can make an AIDS-free generation a reality.”
  • Joining with other Members of Congress, she co-signed a bipartisan letter in 2013 calling on the United States to double the number of people around the world receiving treatment for HIV and AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

On alliances:

  • Senator Gillibrand has cited the importance of alliances in American foreign policy to strengthen global leadership, saying “I believe America is stronger when we work with our allies, not abandon them. America’s alliances are a comparative advantage to our adversaries, whether that be NATO, or Japan, or South Korea, because they are based on shared values and shared interests.”

On aid to the Northern Triangle:

  • Gillibrand has pledged to address the root causes of migration in the Northern Triangle, stressing in a foreign policy speech the importance of “targeted aid programs that have proven to reduce crime and violence that drives refugees into dangerous trips to our border”.

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