Foreign Relations

Senator Coons believes America can and should play a lead role in global affairs.

The objectives of American foreign policy are simple: minimize threats, maximize resources, and advance and defend American values. To achieve these goals, Senator Coons believes the United States must remain globally engaged and utilize our diplomatic, military, and economic power to promote stability, support our allies, and counter terrorism and other forms of extremism.

It is in our interest to promote an international system based on western principles of democracy, human rights, and free trade. We can uphold the international system by making sure our democracy at home serves as an example for those abroad. We are at our best when we promote these ideals through a collection of like-minded states. We should use diplomacy, deterrence, trade, and multi-national coalitions to lead our international partners and allies to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Advancing U.S. Interests and Supporting Allies in the Middle East

  • Enforcing the Iran Deal: Senator Coons supported the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), because he believes it is the least bad option to effectively roll back and constrain Iran’s nuclear program. Now that the deal has been implemented, he believes that preventing and deterring Iranian cheating on the agreement, and containing and countering Iran’s regional influence, must be our top priorities. Senator Coons believes we must focus squarely on the untrustworthy Iranian regime and its role in creating instability in the Middle East, which, if left unchecked, could spread to other parts of the globe. There can be no wavering when it comes to implementing the nuclear agreement with our allies and negotiating partners, down to the smallest detail. We must stand firm in the face of Iran’s marginal cheating and ambiguous evasions of the deal. Senator Coons believes the United States must explicitly state that our policy remains that Iran will never be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon and that we will use military force to prevent such an outcome, while the nuclear deal is in effect or after it ends.

  • Supporting Israel: The American commitment to Israel’s security and to its people is unshakeable. As a strong supporter of Israel, Senator Coons shares many of its concerns with the nuclear agreement and deeply distrusts Iran. Senator Coons knows the risks Israelis face every day surrounded by enemies in an unstable region and believes the United States must continue our ongoing commitment to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge. Only by providing advanced weapons and technology to Israel can we ensure it has the ability to fully exercise its right to self-defense. Senator Coons believes we must also defend Israel against unfair attempts to isolate it on the world stage. American policy must send a strong message that if a state or terrorist group threatens Israel, it also threatens Israel’s closest ally, the United States.

  • Countering Violent Extremism: Senator Coons believes that America must take the fight to terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda that threaten U.S security and our allies throughout the world. We must do so in a smart way that utilizes local forces, regional partners, and multi-nation coalitions while undercutting extremist ideology and minimizing civilian casualties. The United States should lead the international effort to degrade and destroy these terrorist groups, but must empower governments to provide security and build the institutions necessary for lasting peace and prosperity.

  • Authorizing and Paying for War: Senator Coons believes that a war worth fighting is a war worth debating, authorizing, and funding. He believes that when America goes to war, Congress should consider the proper scope and strategy of the mission, vote to authorize that strategy, and find a way to pay for the conflict.

Promoting Partnerships with Africa

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Coons is focused on building mutually beneficial partnerships with countries in Africa, especially in trade and investment, governance, and security. A strong U.S. foreign policy in Africa must be rooted in American values and aim to promote democracy and freedom, protect human rights, defend U.S. interests, and forge sustainable and mutually beneficial economic partnerships.

  • Promoting trade and investment. With seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies located in sub-Saharan Africa, Senator Coons believes the continent is ripe with opportunity. He has introduced legislation and, when he was Chair of the Subcommittee, he chaired hearings to create and save American jobs through greater U.S.-Africa trade and investment. He continues to advocate for a more aggressive strategy to expand U.S. exports to Africa. Thanks to Senator Coons’ leadership, Congress signed into law the ten-year reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is our country’s main vehicle for promoting economic development within Africa and promoting investment opportunities for U.S. firms in Africa. The passage of AGOA will allow the United States to compete more effectively with China, encourage sustainable economic growth in Africa, and expand access to overseas markets for American – and especially Delaware – businesses. To improve the operating environment for Africans and African companies, Senator Coons spearheaded the recently-passed, bipartisan Electrify Africa Act which will utilize loan guarantees to leverage private sector resources to extend electricity access throughout Africa.

    • Supporting good governance and democracy. Senator Coons has made it a priority to work with partners in Africa to encourage good governance and strengthen democratic institutions. He has chaired hearings and emphasized the importance of broadening political participation, promoting greater transparency and fighting corruption, ensuring fair electoral processes, and protecting equality, justice, and the rule of law throughout the continent. As co-chair of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, he has highlighted the challenges facing Africans in safeguarding their human rights. Realizing that the youth of Africa hold the key to the continent’s future, Senator Coons has been a staunch supporter of exchange programs investing in African youth, such as the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), an exchange program which brings bright young Africans to the United States for work experience.

  • Supporting food security, global health and development programs. Senator Coons strongly supports U.S. investments to address food security and global health crises, and has held hearings highlighting the importance of these priorities. Senator Coons was the only member of Congress to visit Liberia in West Africa during the Ebola crisis in 2014. While there, he met with some of the 3,000 U.S. troops and volunteers from the U.S. Public Health Service who worked hand-in-hand with the Liberian people to battle the epidemic. He is the co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and is a strong and vocal supporter of U.S. investments in international development. He strongly supports foreign assistance as a means of promoting U.S. development and security goals abroad, countering violent extremism, ensuring stability and preventing costlier military interventions down the line, as well as assisting those most in need.

    • Defending U.S. security interests. Senator Coons believes we must use all tools at our disposal to defend Americans against global threats and protect U.S. security interests abroad, including in Africa. He supports working in partnership with our African allies to combat terrorism and counter narcotics trafficking, and promote regional stability, security, and peace.

Delivering Efficient Foreign Aid and Promoting Human Rights

  • Foreign Assistance: As a member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee, Senator Coons is focused on transparent and effective foreign assistance that equips developing economies with the tools they need to grow; invests in healthcare delivery and innovations; and supports long term food security for the world’s growing population. Senator Coons’ philosophy on foreign assistance is deeply rooted in the notion that we should be helping the world’s most vulnerable by providing the tools that eradicate poverty and promote economic independence. As a co-sponsor of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 2184), Senator Coons is working to revamp reporting and evaluation of current U.S. foreign assistance programs to ensure we are effectively utilizing taxpayer dollars invest in long-term solutions to hunger, health, and rule of law.

For Senator Coons, effective foreign assistance means innovative foreign assistance. He has led efforts to expand electricity access in Africa while creating investment opportunities for U.S. businesses through the authorization of the President’s Power Africa Initiative. He continues to support the Millennium Challenge Corporation and their accountability-based model through congressional reforms that streamline U.S. investments across regions in the developing world. Finally, Senator Coons is working to help developing countries adapt to population growth and the effects of climate change through the authorization of the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252). The Global Food Security Act codifies in law the President’s Feed the Future Initiative by investing to improve farmer productivity and livelihoods in developing countries and improve the nutrition of women and children. Senator Coons continues to use his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support innovative, cost-effective solutions to global poverty and development.

  • Global Health: Senator Coons strongly believes that investments in global health are essential to growing strong domestic workforces that contribute to a robust global economy. Senator Coons is also working with Senator Collins (R-ME) to pass the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1911), which will build on critical investments to end infant and child mortality and improve maternal and neo-natal care in developing countries.

Senator Coons has also spearheaded congressional efforts to end the global HIV/AIDS pandemic through the reauthorization of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and supporting U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. As co-chair of the Senate Malaria and Neglected Tropical Disease Caucus, Senator Coons advocates for vaccine development and immunizations through GAVI – The Vaccine Alliance and works to bed net distribution through the President’s Malaria Initiative.