China: Huntsman opposes waging a trade war with the Chinese, which he says will hurt America's small businesses, exporters, and agricultural producers. He has been critical of human rights abuses in China and predicts that China's Internet generation will soon be "bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down." Like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huntsman argues that America is entering a "Pacific Century" in which the "center of gravity of global human activity" shifts to the Asia-Pacific region. He doesn't think "any single nation will supplant the United States as the premier power in the world," but he does think Washington should apply a mix of "engagement and hedging" to its escalating competition with Beijing. Oh, and Huntsman speaks fluent (or is it conversational?) Mandarin.
Foreign aid: Huntsman contends that foreign aid must be allotted based on "what kind of return we get on our national interests. So when you've got aid money that goes to Israel that's balanced to somewhat with the Palestinian Authority, that's important for the ongoing peace process." He adds that though "it's fair enough to say we have got to start with a zero-based budget approach," as Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich advocated in Nov. 12's debate, "let's also be smart enough to say that we do as people get a certain return through foreign aid."
Iran/nukes: "I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran," Huntsman says. "If you want an example of when I would consider the use of American force, it would be that." He favors sanctions, diplomatic pressure, and military deterrence to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. He has said little, however, about what would trigger him to use force instead of those tactics and whether he would support a pre-emptive Israeli strike.
Trade: Huntsman argues that free trade deals can foster tremendous "economic and political goodwill" between the United States and partnering countries. The United States, he says, needs to "pursue free trade agreements as aggressively as China."
War on terror/detainees: Huntsman envisions a future in which counterterrorism -- in the form of special operations forces and intelligence gathering -- constitutes a larger part of U.S. foreign policy. "We must be prepared to respond to threats -- from al Qaeda and other terrorist cells -- that emanate from a much more diverse geography, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, and the Asia-Pacific," he explains. On waterboarding, Huntsman submits that "we diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project, which include liberty, democracy, human rights, and open markets, when we torture."
Environment: Huntsman implemented a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse-gas emissions as Utah governor and even appeared in a 2007 Environmental Defense Action Fund ad that encouraged Congress to do the same on a national level. But he has reversed course in the campaign, stating that "cap-and-trade ideas aren't working; it hasn't worked, and our economy's in a different place than five years ago." Instead, Huntsman wants to enhance U.S. energy security through, as his website puts it, an "all of the above" energy policy. In August, Huntsman caused a stir by tweeting that he "trust[s] scientists on global warming" and cautioning the Republican Party against becoming the "anti-science party." He has held firm to that conviction since.
Russia: Huntsman says the Obama administration's reset of U.S.-Russia relations is like a "Potemkin village in which we pretend the Kremlin is more of a partner than it is, more of a democracy than it is, more respectful of human rights than it is, and less threatening to its neighbors than it is." He wants to work with Russia on issues such as arms control, U.N. Security Council action against Iran, and the war in Afghanistan, but he argues the relationship should be viewed "with more objective eyes." He warns that Obama's plan for a missile defense system in Europe "will remain the thorn in the side of the U.S.-Russian relationship" and might give Russia a reason to suspend the New START arms-control agreement. "The U.S. must be prepared for this worst-case scenario and back our Central European partners (Romania, Poland) who continue to support U.S. missile defense policy," he adds.
Arab Spring: Huntsman criticized the military intervention in Libya as a costly endeavor that didn't serve U.S. strategic interests. But he still believes the United States "should support the democratic aspirations of the Arab Spring while maintaining continued Middle East stability," though he doesn't specify what that support or stability would look like under his leadership. He warns that governments may emerge in the Middle East that "are less receptive to U.S. interests than might be hoped" and that Israel will face a "host of new challenges brought on by the Arab Spring."
Other issues: Huntsman argues that the United States should focus more on Latin America as the region becomes increasingly important for U.S. trade and national security. He would apply the model of the U.S.-backed counternarcotics campaign known as "Plan Colombia" to countries such as Mexico and Guatemala.