Foreign-policy credentials: The two-term Utah governor embarked on a two-year Mormon mission to Taiwan at age 19 and has since served as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush, deputy U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush, and U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
Overview: Huntsman is a moderate realist on international affairs and arguably has the most foreign-policy experience of any Republican candidate. "You're not going to find any other candidate who has spent any time overseas -- maybe, you know, a trip here or there -- who has been a practitioner of foreign policy," Huntsman told students at George Washington University in October.
Advisors: Randy Schriver, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is serving as Huntsman's foreign-policy director. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray are also advising Huntsman on foreign policy.
On the Issues:
Afghanistan/Pakistan: Huntsman advocates speedily withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan while leaving behind some special operations forces and military trainers. "This nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan," he says. "We've had free elections in 2004. We've uprooted the Taliban. We've dismantled al Qaeda. We have killed Osama bin Laden." This century's challenges, he says, involve competing on economics and education with the Asia-Pacific region. "I don't want to be nation-building in Afghanistan when this nation so desperately needs to be built," he declares. Huntsman wants to condition further aid to Pakistan on how much the country has helped the United States with counterterrorism, nonproliferation, and the war in Afghanistan. He has described the U.S.-Pakistani partnership as a "merely transactional relationship."
Military spending: In a break with many of his fellow Republican candidates, Huntsman recommends cutting defense spending by eliminating waste. "We still have remnants of a top-heavy, post-Cold War infrastructure," Huntsman said in a speech at Southern New Hampshire University. "It needs to be transformed to reflect the 21st-century world and the growing asymmetric threats we face."
Immigration/borders: Huntsman suggests the United States first secure its borders and then offer illegal immigrants already in the country -- who he thinks can't realistically be deported -- a pathway that "brings them into some safer status" if they pay fines and learn English. Although he recommends erecting a fence, he's not thrilled about it. "For me, as an American, the thought of a fence to some extent repulses me because it is not consistent with … the image that we projected from the very beginning to the rest of the world," he notes.
Israel/Palestine: The U.S.-Israel relationship, according to Huntsman, has "suffered under mismanagement by President Obama." He thinks the United States should redouble its efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that is consistent with Israel's security interests, and he criticizes Obama's proposal for an agreement based on 1967 borders with land swaps. Those types of decisions are "best left up to both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government," he says. "When we start defining … pre-'67 war borders, we're probably pre-empting discussions that may get them there eventually."