I am greatly cheered to see that Mark Kirk has won the GOP nomination for the Senate seat in Illinois and has a good chance of winning in the general election. I say that not just because Kirk could represent another Republican pickup in the Senate — although given the overweening nature of the Democratic agenda, some more checks and balances would certainly be welcome — but also because he is a very impressive individual. I had the privilege of chatting with him last year when he visited the Council on Foreign Relations, and I found him to be extremely well-informed about world affairs — far more so than the average House member. He was also full of shrewd and sensible insights. Perhaps that should be no surprise given that, in addition to his current congressional duties, he also finds time to serve as a Naval Reserve officer. An intelligence specialist, he was deployed to Afghanistan in December. In the House, he has been a leader on various foreign-policy issues; for example, he is the driving force behind legislation, which has passed both houses, to impose strict sanctions on Iran’s petroleum imports. If he joins the Senate, he should play an important role in steering U.S. national-security policy in the (so to speak) right direction.
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