Republican Presidential Debate Focused on Foreign Policy
Last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate focused for the first time on foreign policy and national security related questions. The eight candidates sparred over numerous questions in which presidential candidate John Huntsman decried his fellow candidates’ stances as “sound bite campaigning” in reference to Gov. Rick Perry’s position that “all countries [start] at zero in the budgeting process for foreign aid.” In his latest post in Foreign Policy entitled ”Someone please give these candidates some (foreign) assistance,” Michael Magan stated that he was surprised by a number of the responses during the debate and noted that under the Bush administration there was an emphasis on “the importance of foreign assistance and the fundamental role it plays in laying the foundations for democracy, the rule of law, economic development, health interventions, building bridges, and promoting the ideals of freedom and liberty.”
Some other noteworthy comments by candidates included an answer from Herman Cain regarding Iran in which he stated that “our enemies are not the people of Iran, it’s the regime…we need to put economic pressure on Iran, by way of our own energy independence strategy. By having our own energy independence strategy, we will impact the price of oil in the world markets, because Iran uses oil not only as a– means of currency, but they use it as a weapon.”
Last Friday, Senator Lindesy Graham (R-SC) released via National Review Online a nine page critique of President Obama’s foreign policy to-date that included a wide array of topics from Iran to Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, to the current administration’s relationship with Israel. Graham was especially critical of Obama’s handling of Iraq and not negotiating for a residual force to be left behind for an extended period of time, declaring the war in Afghanistan “had become the red-headed stepchild of the War on Terror” and that while he applauded Obama’s approval of the surge in Afghanistan, he was critical of only approving a 30,000 person deployment as opposed to the 40,000 initially requested by the Pentagon.
Furthermore, Graham also criticized Obama’s handling of the war in Libya and, using the popular phrase “leading from behind,” noted that such a strategy was “not a sound long-term national-security strategy for the United States…Our lack of involvement throughout the conflict has left a void in Libya. Our lack of influence could haunt us when it comes to the future development of the country.”