A Nebraska Congressman who is an expert on foreign affairs says America must react to violence in the Middle East with resolve and demand the same from the governments there.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is a member of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a member of its subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East.
Fortenberry regards the attack in Libya with utmost seriousness.
“Americans can tolerate ingratitude and we can tolerate insult, but we cannot tolerate the senseless killing of an official representative of our country,” Fortenberry tells Kevin Thomas with Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln.
Fortenberry reminds us that Congress debated how to respond to the turmoil in Libya last year, deciding to back NATO action to oust Moammar Gadhafi. Fortenberry says now, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others have been killed by the very people America sought to help.
A mob stormed the embassy in Libya, killing Stevens and the others. A mob in Egypt scaled a wall, but stopped short of the embassy itself. The violence seems to be moving throughout the Middle East. Thursday, hundreds of protestors in Yemen attacked the American Embassy.
Fortenberry says the United States must press the governments of Libya and Egypt to speak boldly against the violence. He says Egypt needs to be strongly encouraged to assume its traditional role as a stabilizing influence in the Middle East.
But, Fortenberry says America must respond appropriately as well.
“We also have to have resolve, that this can’t be tolerated, that we expect these governments, if we are to grow in our relationship, to speak swiftly, to speak firmly, to protect our citizens and uphold the central tenants of democracy if they’re going to claim status among the responsible nations of the international community,” according to Fortenberry. “And that’s what the president and the Secretary of State need to do, clearly.”
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this article.
AUDIO: Kevin Thomas with KLIN interviews Congressman Jeff Fortenberry about turmoil in the Middle East. [11:30]