Paul Ryan & Middle East Foreign Policy
Ty McCormick writing in Foreign Policy recently delved into Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan‘s foreign policy record, arguing that the while the congressman’s record is “remarkably short,” the indicators that do exist point to an outlook aligning with the failed policies of former President George W. Bush. Most of what can be gleaned of Ryan’s foreign policy views, particularly in the Middle East, come from his strong support of President Bush’s Middle East Free Trade Area initiative, as well his leadership in creating the bipartisan Congressional Middle East Economic Partnership that also focused on trade.
Ryan’s “carrot approach” to spreading American values through free trade, according to McCormick, makes him a good fit for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However, McCormick criticizes this outlook, saying “it simply doesn’t work” and points to numerous countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where free trade did not prevent brutal crackdowns on protests. McCormick also finds fault with Ryan’s commitment to trade because it “appears to blind him to the possibility that such initiatives might have any unintended consequences, or indeed, that foreign policy almost always has unintended consequences.”
In 2011, Ryan delivered one of his most comprehensive speeches on foreign policy to the Alexander Hamilton Society in which he affirmed his belief in America’s exceptional role as a world leader. ” We must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen,” Ryan said, adding that in the Middle East the U.S. must “affirm our commitment to democracy in the region by standing in solidarity with our longstanding allies in Israel and our new partners in Iraq.”