October 05, 2021

Ranking Member Risch Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today gave the following opening remarks at a full committee nomination hearing for Ms. Lisa A. Carty, nominee to be ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Mr. Steven C. Bondy, nominee to be ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Ms. Mallory A. Stewart, nominee to be assistant secretary of State for arms control, verification, and compliance.

Ranking Member Risch gave the following remarks:

“Good morning. And welcome to our nominees.

“On the nomination of assistant secretary of State for arms control, verification, and compliance – I want to make clear that a sole purpose nuclear declaratory policy, or any perceived weakening of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, will be a betrayal of our allies, and will embolden China and Russia. It will also cause allies to lose confidence in the Biden Administration’s commitment to NATO’s Article 5 commitments and to Asia’s security.

The position you have been nominated to is incredibly important to not only the United States, but also our allies, and for that matter our enemies.

“For decades, U.S. administrations have embraced the long-standing policy of strategic ambiguity regarding the use of nuclear weapons. While administrations have thought about changing to a no first use policy, they realized international security was more important than ideology. Indeed, the Obama Administration itself studied this closely and rejected such a policy change twice. Earlier this year, our British allies also rejected this change.

“The Biden Administration says it wants to strengthen U.S. alliances. U.S. allies have told me, have told us, that they strongly object to a change to a no first use or sole purpose – which is nothing more than no first use in disguise policy. This administration should listen to them.  

“On the nomination of ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations – the United States remains the largest donor to the U.N.

“In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has used its minimal donations to leverage a large scale malign influence campaign, affecting in particular the NGO Committee in order to block NGOs critical of China and they support NGOs that are actually run by the Chinese Communist Party. More must be done to stop this harmful practice.

“The Biden Administration has also decided to run for a seat on the Human Rights Council. The council is known for its anti-Israel bias and troubling countries, including the worst human rights offenders on the planet, like China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela. I strongly oppose any attempt by the United States to rejoin this sham group until reforms have been achieved.

“On the nomination of ambassador to Bahrain – the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain have enjoyed a close relationship since the 1940s.

“Home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and the International Maritime Security Construct, Bahrain is a lynchpin for regional stability and serves as a critical front against Iran’s regional aggression. I remain concerned that Iran continues its efforts to destabilize Bahrain and arm the terrorist groups that operate there.  

“On the human rights front, Bahrain has come a long way since the Arab Spring. While there is more work to be done certainly, the kingdom has made strides in effective policing, advancing human rights, and curbing trafficking in persons. It is vital that we continue this important work.

“Finally, I applaud Bahrain’s growing relationship with Israel with its signing of the Abraham Accords. These agreements finally offer a path forward for peace in a troubled region. And the recent visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister and embassy opening were encouraging steps.

“Should you be confirmed, it is critical that you work to encourage Bahrain and Israel to deepen their diplomatic, economic, and security relationship. This is a priority effort.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. Witness testimony is available on foreign.senate.gov.