Russia must play be the rules

As your congressman, my responsibilities extend beyond our district and our borders. The United States and our allies face a growing list of threats from abroad — from Islamic extremism in the form of ISIS, to illegal immigration and drug trafficking along our southern border, to the aggressive actions of Russia across Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

These threats to our way of life are real, as we’ve seen by the recent arrest of a dangerous MS-13 gang member who admitted to authorities that he traveled with the caravan of Central American migrants trying to qualify for asylum in our country.

The threats to our security continue to grow in scope and scale. That’s why I’ve made national security a top priority and why I serve as vice chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism. This is a critical leadership position on the OSCE, the world’s largest regional security organization.

As part of my responsibilities, I’m hosting the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism — a member of the Greek Parliament — for a series of meetings, briefings and discussions with representatives from the United Nations, the National Counterterrorism Center, and other security-related agencies this week. We will discuss where OSCE participating states converge and diverge on policies to counterterrorism and violent extremism, as well as the state of trans-Atlantic counterterrorism cooperation.

In addition, I continue to be a strong and vocal critic of Russian aggression on the world stage. I have repeatedly condemned Moscow’s actions against Ukraine, and I have supported increased pressure and sanctions. That’s why I wrote a letter to President Donald Trump last week supporting his strong leadership regarding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Russian aggression. Russia has broken the treaty, and the Trump Administration has been very clear that Russian noncompliance with the INF Treaty poses a grave threat to the security of our nation as Russia has shown an unwillingness to come back into compliance.

Earlier last week, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, “The intelligence community assesses Russia has flight tested, produced and deployed cruise missiles with a range capability that are prohibited by the treaty. Russia has shown no sign that it is willing to acknowledge its violation, let alone return to full and verifiable compliance.”

The INF Treaty isn’t a one-way street, and we need to make it crystal clear that the United States will not tolerate Moscow’s brazen violations. We must show the United States remains committed to the reduction and prevention of the use of nuclear arms while condemning Russian violations in the strongest way possible in front of the international community. We cannot continue to allow our nation to be in a situation where we are bound by a treaty to which we are the only nation complying. I fully support the president’s leadership on this issue — to build a safer world, we have to play by the same rules.