refusal to tell the truth about the Islamist threat is a natural parallel to
the 70-year pattern of left-wing intellectuals refusing to tell the truth about
communism and the Soviet Union. If you go back and look at all the years of
disinformation, all the years of denial, that were the left's response to
communism, why would you think that the next threat to Western civilization
will be more accurately studied? This is why the secular-socialist system is
itself such a threat."
-Address at the American Enterprise
Institute, July 29, 2010
declared his candidacy on May 11, wasn't particularly known for his foreign
policy views as Speaker of the House during the 1990s -- he opposed the Clinton-era interventions in Bosnia
-- but since Obama took office he has
emerged as an outspoken critic what he sees of the "secular-socialist"
administration's failure to take the threat of radical Islam seriously. In
particular, Gingrich has often linked
the threat of terrorism abroad to the encroachment of Sharia law in the
United States. Gingrich's stance on the intervention in Libya
has been inconsistent: he criticized the Obama administration for not
intervening in early March and then attacked it for intervening in late March.
President Obama's glaring domestic policy missteps, it is understandable that
the public has largely been blinded to his foreign policy failings. In fact,
these may have been even more damaging to America's future. He fought to
reinstate Honduras's pro-Chávez president while stalling Colombia's
favored-trade status. He castigated Israel at the United Nations but was silent
about Hamas having launched 7,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip. His policy of 'engagement' with rogue nations has been met with North Korean nuclear tests,
missile launches and the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, while Iran has
accelerated its nuclear program, funded terrorists and armed Hezbollah with
long-range missiles. He acceded to Russia's No. 1 foreign policy objective, the
abandonment of our Europe-based missile defense program, and obtained nothing
whatsoever in return."
-Washington Post op-ed, July 6, 2010
In his 2008
run, the former Massachusetts governor's foreign policy views tracked closely
with those of the George W. Bush administration, frequently describing radical
Islam as America's most pressing security threat. Sometimes he even seemed more
Bush than Bush: during one debate, he suggested that the United States "double
Guantanamo." This time around, Romney has attacked the
Obama administration's foreign policy for being "unprepared and without
direction," particularly evident in the decision to "[follow] the French"
into Libya. In the Washington Post op-ed,
argued that the New START arms control treaty with Russia was the
administration's worst foreign policy mistake.
"Please make up your mind, Mr. President. You
can't vacillate when spending America's human and fiscal resources in yet
another foreign country without good reason. You said that Libyan leader
Gaddafi has got to go. Many of us heard that as your call to action and agreed, 'Okay, you're right. He's an evil dictator who kills his own innocent people,
so enforce a no-fly zone so he can't continue an aerial slaughter.' But then
you said our mission in Libya isn't to oust Gaddafi after all. (Or vice versa
on the order or your statements. Between you and your advisers the public has
been given so many conflicting statements on why we're intervening in Libya
that I apologize if I can't keep up with the timing and rationale of your murky
foreign policy positions.)"
message, April 26, 2011
governor will probably never escape the infamous
2008 Katie Couric interview during which she suggested that Alaska's
proximity to Russia could substitute for foreign policy experience, but there
are some signs she's working to develop an independent voice on foreign policy.
notwithstanding.) Palin recently cut
ties with two neoconservative foreign-policy advisors, interpreted by many
as a sign that she is embracing the Tea
Party's skepticism about intervention abroad. She has been an outspoken
opponent of U.S. involvement in Libya.
"So when the United States of America
projects its national security interests here and around the world, we need to
do it with strength! We need to make sure that there is no equivocation, no
uncertainty, no daylight between us and our allies around the world. The
current administration doesn't seem to understand this principle. We undermine
Israel, the U.K., Poland, the Czech Republic, and Colombia, among other friends.
Meanwhile, we appease Iran, Russia, and adversaries in the Middle East,
including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mr. President, with bullies, might makes
right. Strength -- makes them submit. Get tough on our enemies -- not on our
friends. And, Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country. The bullies,
terrorists and tyrants of the world have lots to apologize for. America does
-Speech at CPAC, Feb. 12, 2011
that "For a governor I've got an unusual amount of foreign policy, or at
least international and security, experience." This includes five trips to
Iraq and three to Afghanistan to visit troops from his home state of Minnesota
-- as well as trade missions to Asia and Latin America. Pawlenty has attempted
to make up for his perceived lack of international chops by emphasizing foreign
policy in his appearances prior to declaring
that he would run on April 13. He has criticized the administration for an
"incoherent" response to Libya that he says is aimed more at appealing to
European allies than ensuring America's security.
"The United States will never stop supporting
human rights because we believe in the fundamental struggle for human dignity
and justice wherever it may occur," Huntsman said. "We do so not because we oppose
China but, on the contrary, because we value our relationship."
speech in Beijing, April 6, 2011
If, as expected, the Mandarin-speaking Utah
governor-turned-ambassador to Beijing enters the race, he could credibly claim
to have the most foreign policy experience in the GOP field. But it remains to
be seen whether his service in the Obama administration and work to promote
U.S.-China ties will taint him in the eyes of Republican primary voters.
Huntsman's time in China was not uncontroversial, with disputes over the Dalai
Lama, Internet freedom, and arms sales to Taiwan; nonetheless, Huntsman was
given a vote
of confidence, as he departed, by Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping.
When asked if he is ready to debate President Obama on foreign policy: "Probably not."
with journalists, May 3, 2011
Daniels, a darling of fiscal conservatives, is the first to
admit that foreign policy is not his strong suit. The Indiana governor even
seemed reluctant to issue a statement on the killing of bin Laden. He has said
that "it cannot be illegitimate to ask" if the United States should scale
back on its military commitments, though he didn't specify which commitments he
was referring to, and has said that he defers to the president on matters
pertaining to the war in Afghanistan. Daniels,
who is partially of Syrian heritage, received
an award this year from the Arab American Institute which praised him as
"the adult in the room" for not pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment.
"As many frustrated Americans who have joined
the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while
supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending
trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about
the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs
of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than
120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few
thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home
while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the
rest of the world combined."
-Foreign Policy, Aug. 27, 2010
libertarian Texas* congressman favors a noninterventionist foreign
policy. He opposed the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, favors
cutting the military budget, and wants to significantly cut U.S. foreign aid.
Most recently, Paul pushed
an amendment in the House that would have cut all foreign assistance to
Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Pakistan. Paul's views still don't have much support
among his GOP colleagues, but with a host of new Tea Party-supported arrivals --
including his son, Rand -- favoring a less expensive, less interventionist
brand of conservative foreign policy, they may become a more prominent part of
the party's discourse in the future.
*Correction, May 12, 2011: The original text misstated Ron Paul's state as Arizona.
"Iran is the trouble maker,
trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want
America to pull out. And do you know why? It's because they've already decided
that they're going to partition Iraq. And half of Iraq, the western, northern
portion of Iraq, is going to be called the Iraq State of Islam, something like
that. And I'm sorry, I don't have the official name, but it's meant to be the
training ground for the terrorists. There's already an agreement made. They are going to get half of Iraq and
that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and
bring about more terrorist attacks in the Middle East region and then to come
against the United States because we are their avowed enemy."
with St. Cloud Times, 2008
Bachmann describes herself
as a "student of foreign policy," though the statements of the Minnesota congresswoman
and intelligence committee member can sometimes seem pretty far outside the
realm of normal discourse, such as the above description of a potential "Iraq
State of Islam" or her recent echoing
of Muammar al-Qaddafi's talking points, when she suggested that "The
only reports that we have say that there are elements of al Qaeda in North
Africa and Hezbollah in the [Libyan] opposition forces." Bachmann's foreign-policy positions are often
motivated by her religious beliefs: She has suggested that "as a nation we have
been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel,
then there is a curse that comes into play."
"There are vast amounts of
territory that are in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs. Maybe the
international community can come together and accommodate [the Palestinians]."
in Israel, Feb. 2, 2011
the potential GOP candidates have made trips to the Holy Land in recent months
in an effort to demonstrate their pro-Israel bona fides, but few have taken the
issue quite as seriously as the former Arkansas governor. Part of the
attachment for the onetime evangelical preacher is
religious: He has described Israel's struggle for existence as one that
"goes back to Isaac and Ishmael, and it's not going to be changed by a couple
of presidents or prime ministers." But Huckabee's opposition to the creation of
a Palestinian state and suggestion that Arabs living in the territory should
live elsewhere have been a bit more controversial.
"But now we have caused two very dangerous
things on the world stage: confusion and doubt. We now have a confused foreign
policy in the hottest spots in the world: especially in the Middle East. And we
have allies and freedom fighters all over the world who doubt our time tested
and time honored commitments to them."
-Speech at the
National Press Club, April 28, 2011
for his conservative views on social issues like gay marriage and abortion, the
former Pennsylvania senator laid out his foreign policy positions in an April
28 speech in which he
lambasted the administration for not doing enough to combat "militant
socialism" (according to the AP, an earlier draft of the speech called it
"godless socialism") -- referring to Hugo Chávez's growing influence in Latin
America and China's "saber rattling in the South China Sea." Santorum argues
that the U.S. should have intervened more forcefully in the early days of the
Libyan uprising and armed the rebels. He also proposes
increasing foreign aid to Africa as part of what he calls a "pro-life foreign policy".
a clear genocide somewhere, don't we really want to positively impact that kind
of a situation. Isn't that what we're all about? Isn't that
what we've always been about? But just this notion of nation building -- I
think the current policy is making us more enemies than more friends."
with the Weekly Standard, Dec. 6, 2010
New Mexico governor is, after Paul, the most prominent libertarian in the race.
told the Weekly Standard in December that he was open to cutting
the defense budget, favored withdrawal from Iraq and Libya, and doesn't see
Iran's nuclear program as much of a threat. He breaks with Paul on his theoretical
support for humanitarian intervention in cases of genocide and his belief that
the United States has a "vested interest in Israel."
have had too big a part to play in how we handled working in Afghanistan.
General [David] Petraeus and the other generals should decide on the rules of
engagement, not politicians and that has been part of the problem.... He
[President Obama] is not qualified to write a military strategy. That's not
leadership. Listen to the military experts. That's my approach to handling war
and international conflict."
with the Daily Caller, Oct. 11, 2010
pizza magnate -- declared by many pundits as the winner of the first GOP
presidential debate in South Carolina on May 5 -- may be an unconventional
candidate, but his foreign policy views are traditional GOP talking points. He credits the Bush doctrine with making the Mideast revolutions possible,
faults the Obama administration for being unprepared to handle them, and voices
strong support for "helping Israel defend itself, whatever that takes." He has suggested that Obama was "very weak and timid" and waited too long to commit additional troops to Afghanistan,
a decision that may have prolonged bin Laden's run from justice.
easy. I drop a 25 percent tax on China. I said to somebody that it's really the
messenger, the messenger is important. I could have one man say, [High-pitched voice] ‘We're going to tax
you 25 percent.' And I could say another: 'Listen you motherfuckers, we're
gonna tax you 25 percent.' Now, you said the same exact thing but it's a
in Las Vegas, April 29, 2011
Many of Trump's (often profanity-laced) statements on foreign
policy consist of ideas that would be considered gaffes if voiced by any other
candidate. Consider his views
on Libya: "Either I'd go in and take the oil or I don't go in at all ... in
the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation is yours." Trump's
rhetoric on China has been particularly aggressive, urging Americans to stop
buying "crap" produced in that country, presumably not including his own
line of clothing.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images; Darren McCollester/Getty Images; Steve Pope/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Steve Pope/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Newsmakers; Steve Pope/Getty Images; PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images; Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images; GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images; Darren Hauck/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images