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Summary: Presentation of the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Statesmanship Award

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  • Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

FDD presented its Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Statesmanship Award to Senator Susan Collins of Maine. In her service of nearly twenty years in the Senate, Sen. Collins has worked across the aisle to build coalitions in support of critical national security issues. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Sen. Collins was chosen to be the first chairperson of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Introducing the recipient, Mark Dubowitz praised Sen. Collins as having established “a track record of effective policymaking and a reputation as a thoughtful and steadfast leader.” He also cited the remarks of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the first recipient of the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award, upon learning of FDD’s decision to honor Sen. Collins: “None of the reforms and reorganizations that have done so much to protect America from another 9-11-like attack would have been enacted without Susan Collins’ leadership in the national interest.”

In prepared remarks, Sen. Collins described the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as “an enormously important resource to me and other members of congress.” When the nuclear agreement with Iran was under consideration last summer, Sen. Collins worked closely with FDD to understand the deal and its implications for U.S. national security. “The discussions and advice from your policy experts, especially Mark Dubowitz and Juan Zarate, were particularly valuable in my decision to vote against the agreement. Mark was prescient in those discussions. He said that Iran would use the threat to walk away from the agreement to deter the administration from enforcing sanctions against Iran’s other malign activities.”

In her remarks, Sen. Collins also warned of the danger of permitting dollarized transactions as an element of any trade with Iran. She emphasized that the existing sanctions that block Iran from the U.S. financial system and the U.S. dollar were not put in place solely because of Iran’s nuclear program.

Until changes in Iran’s behavior take place, the United States does no favors to reward Iran’s nefarious activities, she said. Doing so would erode the coercive power of sanctions and undermine the very rationale for establishing the sanctions in the first place.