Foreign Policy, Finally!

October 18th, 2011 at 2:00 pm | 20 Comments |

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The Heritage Foundation has announced that it will co-host — with the American Enterprise Institute and CNN — a Republican presidential debate on foreign policy and national security.

Unfortunately, sales we’ll have to wait a month (the debate won’t happen until Tuesday, ed November 15), but such a focus is long overdue. Because if the past is prologue — and it is — then tonight’s GOP presidential primary debate will give short shrift to the most urgent questions of war and peace, which, typically, only the commander-in-chief himself can resolve.

Worse yet, many of the views expressed by this evening’s GOP primary hopefuls will be downright hostile to a robust defense, adequately funded, and an assertive and engaged U.S. foreign policy.

Ron Paul, of course, is the most offensive and un-Republican of the lot. In the Aug. 11 GOP debate, for instance, Paul said that it was understandable why Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; and that, as president, he would “stay out of their [Iran’s] internal business.”

“We’re there occupying their land,” he explained Osama bin-Laden-like in the September 12 debate. America is “under great threat because we occupy so many countries.”

“We have been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years,” he added. “Would you be annoyed? If you’re not annoyed, then there’s some problem.”

Of course: America is the problem! But then again, as former United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick once put it, “They always blame America first.”

In 1984, when Kirkpatrick spoke, “they” were the San Francisco Democrats. But today, “they” are the Ron Paul pseudo-Republicans — aka “non-interventionist” or isolationist libertarians.

In truth, Paul is perpetuating a malicious lie about America. We have not been indiscriminately “bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years.” In fact, we have been remarkably careful and circumspect in our use of military force.

Indeed, never before in history has a country waged war more judiciously and with greater care and deliberation. And so, according to the Iraq Body Count, an authoritative, nongovernmental database of Iraqi civilian deaths, fewer than 12,000 Iraqis have died at the hands of American and coalition forces.

Moreover, reports CNSNews, the “IBC recorded 630 ‘non-combatant Iraqi deaths resulting directly from actions involving U.S.-led coalition forces’ in 2008, 80 in 2009, and 32 in 2010.”

Then there’s Jon Huntsman. “Our core is broken,” he declared in the September 7 debate. “We are weak. We have got to strengthen ourselves. I say we’ve got to bring those troops [in Afghanistan] home… We’ve going to do some nation-building right here at home.”

Obama and the far Left couldn’t have said it any better. There’s only one problem: Huntsman purports to be a Republican, not a Democrat. And last I checked, the GOP was for winning our nation’s wars, not forfeiting them.

Oh, it’s not all bad. Rick Santorum, for one, has been a voice of calm and steady defense and foreign policy reason in a sea of irresolution, retreat and confusion.

“Someone who’s running for president of the United States [for] the Republican Party should not be parroting what Osama bin Laden said on 9/11,” Santorum said in response to Ron Paul’s far-left, don’t-blame-Iran rant.

“Iran is a country that has been at war with us, [America], since 1979,” Santorum explained. “Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghans have.”

Mitt Romney, likewise, has pledged to increase defense spending, and specifically, defense modernization spending, which has been so dramatically cut by Obama.

Unfortunately, Santorum and Romney are fighting a defensive battle against the “non-interventionists” or isolationists, who now command the energy and enthusiasm of the Republican base. George McGovern would be proud; Ronald Reagan: ashamed.

John Guardiano blogs at, and you can follow him on Twitter: @JohnRGuardiano.

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    The current commander in chief delivered long-overdue justice to Osama Bin Ladin and toppled Gaddafi without putting a single boot on the ground, for a total cost of less than one day of the Iraq War. He also has taken the fight to the remaining al Qaida leadership, and pulled the plug on the F-22 boondoggle.

    I don’t think anyone who gets out of the clown car and onto the stage for this debate is going to be able to match that.

    • medinnus

      Its really very simple.

      If you increase Defense Spending and support stupid, pointless wars like Afghanistan and Iraq, your foreign policy is sound.

      If you’d rather accomplish goals without giving corrupt military contractors billions of dollars, clearly your foreign policy is not serious.

      JG is one of those folks who never met a defense spending bill he didn’t like.

  • Saladdin

    Watusie, they can’t, that’s why they’re specifically spitting out this rhetorical nonsense. Romney is the worst of the lot. His promise is a return to W’s policies.

  • Lev

    This amuses me. Good rule of thumb: if you find yourself admiring Rick Santorum, you’re doing it wrong. The man is little but a fool who lost re-election by 20 points, and his candidacy is a joke. As for Obama and the far left? If Obama’s foreign policy is far left–what with Libya, ramping up in Afghanistan, and ceaseless drone attacks–then I hate to see what a centrist policy looks like.

    I don’t agree with Republicans on foreign policy, or indeed the Democratic consensus during the Obama era. But for God’s sake, this is some shoddily written stuff. Isolationism isn’t a tendency of the far left, it’s historically been one of the far right. It was Democratic Presidents named Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt who pushed for America to take a role in the world, and it was conservative Republicans who fought them both intensely, literally to death in Wilson’s case. These days, isolationism is a dead letter, and there are a scant amount of noninterventionist types in both parties–Paul, Jimmy Duncan, and Walter Jones come to mind on the GOP side, as well as Pat Buchanan. I realize a worldview in which “everything I like” falls on your side of the aisle and “everything I dislike” falls onto the other, but you’re just making yourself look like an utter fool here. Huntsman, Romney, and the rest have spoken out of so many different sides of their mouths on the wars that their speaking orifices must be shaped like a dodecahedron. (Also, how do we win in Afghanistan?)

    Though that number is blithely brushed aside here, 12,000 deaths is a lot, for a war that most everyone agrees was a huge mistake and hardly anyone wants to defend anymore. But I’m sure everyone’s wrong about Bush, and after Iraq enters the Iran orbit of influence when America leaves–an inevitability in both cases–we’ll be applauding the wise, forward-thinking statesmanship of 43 forever.

  • TC

    Ron Paul wants to abide by the Constitution. Is that such a bad thing to the globalists?

  • hotbbq

    Dear John,

    I can no longer be with you anymore. Your faulty logic and reasoning have finally broken me.

    Intelligent Writing

  • Ethics Gradient

    Wonderful, so many regurgitated neocon smears laid on thick here that the establishment’s fear is palpable.

    As for your lies and deliberate misquotes of Paul:

    “One can understand why they might want to become nuclear capable, if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectfull (sic)

    “Might” is a big difference from “will” or even “would”. Maybe your remedial english class skimped on conjugates.

    But let’s put it in a way your reptilian brain might better understand. If WE didn’t have any nuclear weapons and some brown people from a distant land came and invaded Canada and Mexico, put missiles in Hawaii, blockaded the Gulf of Mexico, would you argue that they ought to continue, so that they could put down the American threat?

    If you are not a two-faced liar, then you would be obligated to say yes.

    No, you fool. We are the “America first” crowd… as in, let’s take the National Guard and let them, y’know, GUARD us. Let’s get the Army Reserves back to being… the reserves! Oh my god, the shock and the horror right?

    We have missiles that can reach any country in the world in less than 20 minutes, planes that can scramble across the Atlantic in less than 3 hours, and you want more? What belligerence is this?

    That isn’t a policy of strong national defense at all!

    You want to build border fences and slap trade sanctions on countries that don’t agree with you ideologically? Don’t call US the isolationists.

    You want to call Iran a state sponsor of terror, while you’ve been funding guerilla insurgencies in South America and the Middle East for the past 60 years? Don’t call US the isolationists.

    You want to bomb sovereign countries in the middle east and set up satellite governments, which drive America’s standing in the global community ever lower? Don’t call US the isolationists.

    YOU, not us, are the real isolationists.

    Since when was “promoting democracy” a Republican ideal, or more generally, a conservative ideal? The answer: It wasn’t. Ever.

    It was Wilson and FDR and Johnson who argued the Domino Effect most forcefully, NOT Taft, Goldwater, or Reagan. And how dare you quote Reagan? Reagan opposed the Korean and Vietnam wars.

    All this hypocrisy and what else is there to say? You people speak so fervently against liberals here at home and bash the socialist regimes they try to establish here. Yet the examples of social democracy they’re using? Those countries could not afford their welfare state without our military subsidizing their defense!

    We spend billions of dollars on overseas bases in countries that express hostility to our economic principles, and yet you insist on staying there, taking the load off their shoulders anyway. You profess to be against the “evil liberal ideologies” yet your foreign policy pays for their rise. What ignorance. What duplicity.

    No wonder Ron Paul will never be president. We don’t deserve it with people like you.

  • LFC

    This is nothing more than a sputtering diatribe from a man who believes that the U.S. either gets its way or goes to war, that defense spending is only limited to “whatever it takes” while studiously avoiding defining that, that budget balancing is to be done with any and all defense spending carved out and protected (indeed increased!), and in general has no knowledge or interest in any other government function such as real foreign policy, budgetary matters, etc. Ask him any question. The answer will always be more defense spending. This is a supremely unserious person.

  • TerryF98

    How Guardiano continues to “earn” a living writing this tripe is way beyond me. I refuse to comment on regurgitated crap. and this has been around the system many times.

  • Graychin

    “Of course: America is the problem! “

    Straw man alert! No one says that. Come on, Mr. G! Aren’t you capable of honest debate?

    It IS reasonable to argue that America’s response to world problems in the past decade has been counter-productive, making the problems even worse.

    I’m sure that Mr. Guardiano will shriek in ecstasy during the Republican debate on foreign policy, like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert .

    Of course the candidates will promise never to apologize for America, just like Obama never has.

    Of course they will accuse Obama of being soft on the Global and Eternal War on Terror, overlooking the successful operations against bin Laden and numerous other al Qaida operatives.

    Of course they will bemoan our plans to (finally) bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to stay there and finish the job! (Although no one ever specified exactly what the “job” is.

    Of course they won’t want to talk about America’s role in liberating Libya from Qaddafi’s rule without any American boots on the ground.)

    To quote George W. Bush on foreign policy: “Bring it on!”

  • Graychin

    About those “dramatic” defense spending cuts under Obama:

  • The Worst Foreign Policy Post Of The Day

    [...] You’re welcome. { 0 comments } var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true}; Lev filed this under: Foreign Policy, Wingnuts  [...]

  • Southern Populist

    Er, no.

    Ron Paul does not blame America. Ron Paul blames the US government which is run mainstream Democrats and Republicans. He also blames the MIC. Don’t misrepresent Paul by equating the US government and the MIC with all of America.

    Most of America, and by that I mean the people, are sick to death of war and corporate welfare for the MIC, and Ron Paul is really the only credible choice for these people.

    And who can blame Iran for wanting nuclear weapons?

    First of all, the United States has more nuclear weapons than any other nation on Earth. The United States is also the only nation to use nuclear weapons. So why exactly does the United States have a shred of credibility when it comes to opposing nuclear weapons?

    The same could be said for Israel.

    Second, if a nation wants to be a real player on the world stage, the nation needs nuclear weapons. We see what happened to Iraq and Afghanistan. So far it has not happened to North Korea.

  • armstp1

    I cannot wait to hear what questions their pay masters want AEI and Heritage to ask?

    Will everything be brought back somehow to Israel?

    I would like to hear what these guys have to say about Afghanistan. What is their plan? Many in the Tea Party and GOP no longe want to be in Afghanistan. I think even a majority in the GOP and the Tea Party want to get out of Afghanistan.

  • redpetunia

    The Heritage Foundation? Watch out, Mitt, the knife sticking out of your back was put there by the Heritage Foundation, so don’t turn your back to them again. The Heritage Foundation has no credibility after leaving Romney hanging out there alone, instead of backing him up, after they signed off on Romneycare.

    Don’t forget whose these traitors are Mitt.

    • TC

      I thought Newt was kind of an outsider until last night. He received more time because the foundation that he is part of sponsored it.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Does Newt Gingrich still collect paychecks from American Enterprise Institute? Wikipedia says he’s a senior fellow.

    In any event, this should give Herman Cain a month to learn what a neoconservative is I guess.

  • JimBob

    “Ron Paul, of course, is the most offensive and un-Republican of the lot. In the Aug. 11 GOP debate, for instance, Paul said that it was understandable why Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; and that, as president, he would “stay out of their [Iran’s] internal business.””

    Guardiano, you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer. What do we have, 150-175 thousand troops right next to Iran?? We have the NeoCon fifth column demanding that we start bombing Iran. Iran is surrounded by nations that have Nukes. It is only commonsense that they might want them too!

  • blueshark

    “Indeed, never before in history has a country waged war more judiciously and with greater care and deliberation.”

    It must be fascinating to live in the bizarro alternate universe that the author inhabits. How else to explain his characterization of the war in Iraq? In the real world, it was a war that was on the table as an idee fixe the moment the Bush administration took office, that was foisted upon the American people under specious pretenses, and was waged with no coherent plans for post-conflict governance structure and consequently turned into a bloody anarchy. The mistakes made before, during, and after the invasion were legion. How anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty, let alone a grip on reality, can call this debacle a war planned “judiciously” and conducted with “great[ ] care and deliberation” is beyond me.