Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is interviewed by host Bill O'Reilly during "The O'Reilly Factor" television program, on the Fox News Channel in New York, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Sens. Lee and Cruz: ‘it’s time to reassess Western Hemisphere alliances’

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) penned an op-ed on Tuesday discussing U.S. involvement in the Organization of American States, along with other foreign alliances.

“As citizens of the United States, we recognize the rights of foreign peoples to live and govern themselves as they see fit. Just as the American people would not tolerate another nation dictating to us how to run our country, we believe other people should be able to make their own laws free from outside interference,” the op-ed reads.

“But the United States also has a tradition of participating in international organizations that promote the spread of democracy while also protecting the sovereignty of other countries. At times, this delicate balance has been lost and our ability to promote American interests has been diminished.”

“Unfortunately, that is what has happened with U.S. involvement in the Organization of American States over the last eight years. With the 47th General Assembly of the OAS this week in Mexico, the United States and President Donald Trump have before them an opportunity to correct this imbalance by engaging more responsibly with all our neighbors to the south through greater respect of religious and cultural freedom.”

The Senators argue that while the OAS was founded on  an “admirable” principle, and has proved useful in fighting Communism in countries like Cuba and Venezuela, some of its activities are beginning to contradict its founding principle.

“The OAS was founded on the admirable principle that “Every State has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it.”

The op-ed adds that for decades the United States has been the “single largest donor” to the OAS.

“The OAS exerts pressure on countries through the resolutions of the General Assembly, executive actions of the Secretary General’s office, and rulings of the Inter-American Court,” Cruz and Lee continue. “The OAS has also used the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to force alien cultural practices on Latin American countries, including formal recommendations promoting abortion in countries whose legal, cultural and religious practices defend life.”

In discussing the issue of abortion, Lee and Cruz say that the OAS has promoted the procedure in countries “party to the American Convention on Human Rights” like Paraguay, which has recently moved to protect their pro-life standards.

“The IACHR hasn’t stopped with promoting abortion. In comments on the 2016 case Duque vs Colombia, the IACHR stated that Colombia’s – at the time – traditional definition of marriage reflected, “an obtuse and stereotyped understanding of what a family is.” Provocations like that serve no useful purpose for the United States, and indeed hinder constructive engagement with the family-oriented countries of Latin America.”

“As U.S. senators, we are alarmed that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being spent overseas to advocate for political issues that aren’t even settled here at home,” Cruz and Lee said. “In 2017, the United States could spend $41.9 billion on foreign assistance. It is our responsibility to ensure that money is spent to further U.S. interests, not to promote an agenda that many foreigners and Americans alike find repugnant. The OAS’s recent actions amount to ideological colonialism and our neighbors – in Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Uruguay – have protested the intrusion.”

The Senators also discuss President Trump’s moves to “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy in favor of the American people.

“We hope that Trump and the new leaders at the State Department work to end progressive cultural imperialism that spread over the past eight years. This can and should start in our own backyard. Our national interest lies in promoting security and economic prosperity for Americans, not in telling other democracies what to do. Respecting the cultural and religious differences of our allies should be a top priority for an administration that campaigned on breaking away from business-as-usual foreign policy,” the Senators conclude.

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Autumn Price

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