Presidential Candidates Appear Isolationist in Debate

Last night, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Herman Cain (R-GA), Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Ron Paul (R-TX), Mitt Romney (R-MA), and Rick Santorum (R-PA) participated in a debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Much of the debate focused on domestic politics, however some candidates did outline their positions on Libya, Yemen, and interventionist foreign policy. Ron Paul “wouldn’t start a war in Libya” and would “quit bombing Yemen” if he were elected. Michelle Bachmann believes the U.S. should not have entered Libya because there was no vital national interest to do so. Herman Cain echoed Bachmann’s position, describing intervention in Libya as not in the country’s national interest. Newt Gingrich wants to fundamentally rethink U.S. foreign policy in the region, and would ask our military leadership to exit the region as quickly as possible.

The positions advanced by many of the candidates have led commentators to question whether the GOP is shifting towards a more isolationist foreign policy. Jackson Diehl, of The Washington Postnoted the “striking” difference between this field of GOP candidates and previous elections dominated by interventionist neoconservatives.