Carly Fiorina

Remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library - July 27, 2015

Carly Fiorina
July 27, 2015— Simi Valley, California
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Thank you so very much. Thank you. Thank you for that very warm welcome. I am truly honored to be here and thank you for that wonderful and gracious introduction.

In his farewell address, President Reagan said, "Do not be afraid to see what you see."

I have always believed that it is the role of the leader to see the truth, to speak the truth and to act on the truth, and so tonight I would like to speak about what I see and describe to you how I will act.

I see a world in dire need of American leadership. I see President Obama and Secretary Clinton always speaking in terms of ambivalence and shades of grey, offering false choices and raising doubts about our will to lead.

The next president of the United States must reestablish our leadership. She must speak with clarity… [applause]. She must accept that some things are black and white, and she must act with courage.

She must be prepared to challenge the status quo and change the way things are, both in Washington and around the world.

The world is a more tragic and a more dangerous place when America is not leading. Terrorists are on the march. Nearly 45,000 people are driven from their homes every single day. Last week, four Marines and a Navy officer were murdered here at home by a radicalized terrorist. Human trafficking is on the rise. Christians are being persecuted. Women are denied the most basic rights.

Girls live in fear of being mutilated, rape, or bought and sold as sex slaves. We tweet: Save our girls, but Boko Haram continues on a murderous rampage of kidnapping, pillaging and horrors we can barely imagine.

President Obama has richly rewarded the bad behavior of Cuba, Russia, Syria, Iran and China, and Mrs. Clinton has signaled her approval. It is really quite simple: When you reward bad behavior, you get more of it.

President Obama has negotiated a deal with Iran that has repeatedly violated agreements, killed and wounded thousands of Americans, and flat-out lied about every nuclear facility they have built over the last three decades. He has negotiated with a state that refuses to release American prisoners. And for what? Yesterday we learned that the Iranian regime has decided that, in fact, inspectors will have no access to their military facilities, never mind 24-days notice – just no access, period. Perhaps this is the content the secret deal between Iran and the IAEA.

Secretary Clinton told us that she would reset our relationship with Russia – a policy that has utterly failed. I have Vladimir Putin. He craves power. He will not be stopped by a gimmicky red button. Putin's ambition continues to grow unchecked.

When President Obama warned Assad not to cross a red line, the truth is Assad took this as an invitation, not an admonition.

This administration's blind eye to aggression has become a black eye for America. When we do not stand with our allies nor confront our adversaries, our friends lose courage and our enemies press forward. [applause]

I know you are outraged – sick – of a professional political class that lectures and harangues and never actually says anything at all. You know that empty promises and bumper-sticker rhetoric solved nothing for too long. We have had too many speeches and too few results.

The American people now deserve an honest leader who will own up to the difficulties of the job in front of her and who has a track record of leadership, accomplishment and challenging the status quo.

As you are all aware I am not a member of the professional political class, but I do have extensive national security and foreign policy experience. I have served as the chairman at the CIA's external advisory board and I have advised secretaries of State and Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the NSA. I have done so with the highest civilian security clearances.

I have lead a company doing business in 170 countries. I have advised governments and done charity in their nations. I have met with and gotten to know many world leaders on the stage today. They know me, they respect me, and most importantly, they trust me as a woman have action and a woman of her word. [applause]

As president, I will not wait until things have reached a crisis level, and I will not shy away from the most important challenges facing our world today. Because without American leadership, we face two choices: regional hegemonies who challenge America or global chaos.

Here's what I will do as commander in chief. First, we must have the strongest military on the face of the planet and everyone has to know it. [applause] This will take both an investment in our military and a reform of the Defense Department. We must fix what are called tooth-to-tail ratios, ratios which have been measured in the Department of Defense for many years. Tooth: tip of the spear – fighting men and women, the weapons systems, and the technologies that they require to fight and to win. Tail: bureaucracy – far more than we need to defend our nation. In fact, today our tooth-to-tail ratios are as bad as they have ever been, so it's not just about throwing more money at the problem. It is about investing our money as well as our intellect and our imagination in the right places – tooth – and reducing the amount to spent on a bureaucracy in need of reform – tail.

President Obama announces the layoff of 40,000 troops in response to sequester cuts. Professional politicians, you will remember, have engaged in the brinksmanship which brought us the sequester and while everyone decries it, no one has fixed it.

The next president the United States – like Ronald Reagan – will need to rebuild our military capability. [applause] Morale of our armed forces is low. We need a commander in chief who will unabashedly celebrate their honor, their courage and their sacrifice. [applause]

I was recently on the phone with Leif Bhavan8:25. He is a decorated former Navy SEAL. He's received a Silver Star, two bronze stars and a Purple Heart. And we talked about the battle of Ramadi and what our men and women are capable of. We have the bravest, strongest fighting force the world has ever seen. It is time we act like it. [applause] They deserve a commander in chief with a strategy for victory over there, and they deserve a government that fulfills its promises when they get home.

And so we must care for those who have served us. We need to overhaul the Veterans Administration from top to bottom. It is a stain on our nation's honor. [applause] It is a stain on our nation's honor when over 250,000 veterans die before they get the care that they have earned.

We haven't heard a lot from the political class in Washington about the VA since it dropped out of the headlines, but I can assure you it is still very much broken. And I will assure you that the political class in Washington that has not fixed it for decades is not going to fix it unless we elect someone who knows how to deal with bureaucracies and who knows how to change them. [applause]

On my first day in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls. The first will be to my friend Bini Netanyahu, to reassure him….[applause] I will reassure him that the United States of America will always stand with the state of Israel. [applause]

My second phone call will be to the supreme leader of Iran. Realistically, he might not take my phone call. [laughter] He will get the message, and the message is this: new deal. Unless and until you are prepared to open every military facility and every nuclear facility to full and unfettered, anytime, anywhere inspections, we will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system. [applause] U.S. companies should not be profiting off this murderous regime, and the next president of the United States will have a lot to say about whether companies like Apple or McDonalds are doing business in Tehran. [applause]

Those two phone calls I will make are important in and of themselves, but they are also signals to every ally and every adversary we have, and the signal is, the unmistakable message: is America is back in the leadership business. [applause]

I will not call Vladimir Putin. We have talked way too much to him. [laughter] But he will get the message. We must rebuild the Sixth Fleet. We must conduct military exercises in the Baltic states. President Obama unilaterally and inexplicably withdrew our missile defense programs in Poland. I will rebuild them. [applause]

And then there's ISIS. We learn more every day about the atrocities committed by this evil. Christians are being crucified. Children are being used as body shields for jihadi soldiers. Muslims are being killed just because they're the wrong kind of Muslim. Women and girls are subject to systematic rape. In order to defeat ISIS, we must be willing to call it what it is: Islamic extremism. [applause]

When 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded on the beaches of Egypt, the president of Egypt – President el-Sis, a brave and pious Muslim – went into the center of Cairo to visit with the most powerful imams. He told them that Islam was in need of a religious revolution. He knew that they must condemn radical Islam and call it what it is: a cancer at the heart of their religion. We have to know what we're up against in order to defeat it.

I, like President Obama, will hold a Camp David summit. But not to talk our Arab allies into a bad deal with Iran or cement my own legacy. Instead, I will discuss with our Arab allies how we can support them in their fight against ISIS. They know this is their fight, but they must have leadership and support and resolve from the United States of America. We will arm the Kurds, as they have been requesting us to do for three long years. I will provide King Abdullah of Jordan – a fine man I have known for many years – with the bombs and the material he has requested instead of forcing him to turn to the Chinese for help. I will share intelligence with the Egyptians as they have requested. The Kurds, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Saudis – all of them are fighting ISIS on the ground as we speak. They know this is their fight, but they must see leadership and resolve and support from the United States of America.

I will make a promise to our friends in the middle east to actually train their troops to fight ISIS, and I will keep that promise. President Obama told us that he would spend half a billion dollars to train 3,000 troops within a year. We have trained 60. This is simply unacceptable, and what do we see now? ISIS is gaining traction. The FBI now tells us they are more dangerous than al Qaeda ever was.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama declared victory in Iraq in 2011, and withdrew. They watched while ISIS grew, and a growing crisis is now spiraling out of control.

Here is another truth that we must see and speak and act upon: China is our rising adversary. The Chinese people have tolerated repression, corruption, pollution, sub-standard safety in return for economic growth and an escape from poverty, and we, the United States of America, have been an important engine for that growth. This gives us real leverage. We have the ability to impact their economy and to change their calculation.

China is using their economic might to rewrite the global order. They are now the world's largest purchaser of oil. They loan money to developing nations so that they can build roads and Infrastructure, but they're not doing it for good will. They're doing it because they want these countries' natural resources and unfortunately these countries see no viable alternative today. China has quickly built an international banking institution to rival the World Bank. China is building their economic power and make no mistake – they will wield it ruthlessly.

We are a nation founded on entrepreneurship and innovation, creativity and open markets, and therefore our prosperity is boundless. The Chinese people are willing to tolerate a repressive regime in exchange for growth, but in fact their lack of freedom will ultimately limit their growth. There are cracks in the facade already. Just a few weeks ago we saw their stock market in freefall. There was another eight-point plunge in their markets overnight. The Chinese government is trying to prop up these markets, but this is not a lasting solution.

Our next president must realize this opportunity and respond with confidence, using the tools we have here at home. For example, the Chinese – like the Iranians and the Russians – engage in draconian internet censorship. Just as Ronald Reagan tore down a physical wall, we must now tear down these cyber barriers to the exchange of free information. [applause]

China has moved aggressively into the South China Sea, building islands in the middle of the ocean so that they can build military bases. This is a gateway. The South China Sea is a gateway that moves $5 trillion worth of trade every year. China cannot be permitted to control this gateway. [applause]

Here is another truth. Our current president largely created this situation. In 2012, President Obama brokered a deal between the Philippines and China to withdraw from a disputed portion of the South China Sea together. China violated that agreement and we stood by as the Chinese went from testing the waters to jumping all the way in.

We must push back against rising Chinese aggression. We should work with the Vietnamese in the Philippines to improve their surveillance capabilities to deter the Chinese. We should conduct military exercises with our Filipino friends. We must tell China: If you declare an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea, we will not recognize it. We will not comply. [applause]

Even this will not be enough. They are working the Chinese hard to develop satellite and other technologies to counter our weapons advantage. They have long worried about our nuclear advantage and now they are taking this opportunity to quietly build up their own arsenal and erode our position.

And so we should help our Australian friends obtain military capabilities that they need and want. We should support the Japanese efforts to expand their forces. We must stand by our allies, because when we stand with them they will gain the confidence and the courage to push back against those who seek to shift the balance of power.

Today, the Chinese steal our intellectual property with impunity and they engage in state-sponsored cyberterrorism. The Chinese government, as we now know, has stolen the personal information of over 20 million Americans. Now we have known for over a decade that the Chinese were seeking to infiltrate our networks. We have also known about the vulnerabilities in those networks, and yet once again the government bureaucracy was too bloated and inept to act, and the political class was too complacent to stop it.

Having obtained the highest security clearances available to a civilian, I know that the Chinese now possess all of my personal information.

This is more than just a bureaucratic failing. The Chinese now possess incredibly valuable intelligence. The answer from the political class is to demand the resignation of the head of the Office of Personnel Management. But what has been done to protect us from future cyber attacks? Has anything changed?

The political class, honestly, moved on as soon as the outrage subsided, and the bureaucracy continues to lumber along.

And let us not forget our former Secretary of State, who told us that her private server was protected from hacking because she had two Secret Service agents guarding it. [laughter] We were not worried about your server being stolen, Mrs. Clinton, although perhaps you were. We were worried about it being hacked or worse – being used as a backdoor to hack into the State Department system, which is exactly what appears to have happened at 00 p.m.

The next president must understand technology. She must understand both how to use it to harness the power of our citizenry to engage in the process of their government to change and challenge bureaucratic status quos, as well as to protect and defend our nation.

As Mrs. Clinton now runs for president, she likes to talk about her support for human rights, for women's rights, for democracy, but unfortunately her actions conflict with her words. During her first trip to Asia as secretary of state in February of 2009, she told us that we could not let human rights get in the way of our other goals. China responded. They cracked down on American companies, charitable organizations and free speech. They have thrown Nobel Peace Prize winners in jail. Trafficking and domestic violence continue. Forced abortions and deaths by exposure have ended the lives of countless millions and millions of female infants.

Repressive regimes elsewhere in the world took notice as well. Mrs. Clinton personally gave the Russians a reset button just as the human rights situation in that country took a drastic turn for the worse.

And in Iran, when the Green movement demonstrated against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, she went silent.

China, Russia, Iran and terrorist groups such as ISIS: These are the big human rights tests our time. Women and girls are systematically targeted, subjugated, murdered, raped and sold into bondage. It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to run for president as a champion of women's rights when her record as secretary of state is so dismal. [applause]

Our ideals…our ideals are a light that shines in the very darkest corners of the world. And today, without American leadership, we have far too many dark corners. I see our nation at a crossroads. Margaret Thatcher, a woman I admire greatly, once said that she was not content to manage the decline of a great nation. Neither am I. [applause]

I am prepared to lead the resurgence of a great nation. [applause]

I, like of you, am deeply proud of our extraordinary nation and grateful to be an American. This gratitude and pride is called patriotism. It is one of the greatest things about our country and our enemies hate it. In 2013, Vladimir Putin wrote in an op-ed to the New York Times that our patriotism is dangerous. Just two weeks ago as we negotiated with Iran, the supreme leader denounced Americans as the "ultimate embodiment of arrogance." Tyrants know that our patriotism, our principles and our policies enable us to be a leader on the global stage.

Today, Americans sense danger at home and abroad. People all over the world know that the fundamentals of freedom and human dignity are threatened. And when we abandon an ally or embolden an adversary, it reverberates throughout the world. And as we tragically know, these ripples can too easily land on our shores.

We need a president who will see and speak and act on the truth. We need a president who knows that some things are black and white, and who will be a clear-eyed advocate for policies formed by principles, not by politics and polls. We need a president who will reassure our allies that we are a friend who can be trusted and who will show our adversaries that we will not be bullied or intimidated. We must nominate and elect a president who will proudly wear the mantle of leadership that a weary world wants us to wear.

I know what such leadership requires. I will recognize dangers with eyes wide open. But I will also embrace with open arms the enormous potential of these amazing times. I am prepared to be a president who leads the resurgence of this great nation, both here at home and around the world.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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