December 03, 2020

Duckworth Highlights Importance of Restoring Relationships in the Indo-Pacific Region At Brookings Institution Virtual Event


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today delivered a keynote address on the importance of restoring relationships with key allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region at a virtual event hosted by the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. A video of her address and the following Q&A can be found here.

Key quotes:

  • “For centuries now, the U.S. and Thailand have learned from and leaned on each other: militarily, diplomatically, economically and culturally… That kind of friendship… that kind of bond… doesn’t just hold true between the U.S. and Thailand. The same is true for the many other countries that the U.S. is fortunate enough to call our allies throughout the Indo-Pacific region.”

  • “You know as well as I do that the Indo-Pacific plays host to or borders some of the gravest security challenges of our time: To the west, tensions with Iran continue to roil… To the north, Russia is determined to find its way back to dominance, ignoring international norms and bulldozing forward, no matter the cost. To the northeast, North Korea remains dangerously erratic, leaving the world with little sense of what tomorrow will bring.”

  • “When our commitment to international rule is anything but resolute, economies falter… When norms and principles are breached, alliances fissure. Prosperity and security are threatened. Instability reigns—and there’s no easy fix. No simple way to backtrack… Those are just a couple of the reasons why I’m so grateful to be speaking with you today… and why I’m so grateful that you all have taken an interest not only in what are explicitly America’s interests, but in our allies’ interests, too—because at the end of the day, they often are one and the same.”

Duckworth discussed the national security value of diplomacy and American alliances in this region at a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Hearing in February of this year. At another SASC Hearing in March of this year, Duckworth expressed her concerns to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about how the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has not sufficiently prioritized funding for INDOPACOM —the unified combatant command of the U.S. Armed Forces responsible for the Indo-Pacific region—and logistics infrastructure capabilities. Duckworth also travelled to Thailand and Vietnam as part of a congressional delegation (CODEL) in 2019, where she addressed graduating cadets at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (CRMA), met with top government officials and received an audience with the Princess of Thai, Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

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