Lindsay: Rick Perry on Iran
November 9th, 2011
03:22 PM ET

Lindsay: Rick Perry on Iran

Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter

By James M. Lindsay

Rick Perry is making his media rounds. He discussed defense and foreign policy with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. The veteran foreign correspondent asked if a President Perry would advocate a preemptive American strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Perry pointed out that the United States has few good options:

Well, here’s where we find ourselves with two really bad—positions. We’re either going to allow this madman to have become—a in control of a nuclear device or we are going to have a nuclear strike, or excuse me—a military strike—a to keep that from occurring, either the Israelis unilaterally, or—in a bilateral—or multilateral way— with their allies.

When Amanpour pressed for a yes or no answer, Perry said:

I never would take a military option off the table when it comes to dealing with this individual.

So count that as “maybe.” That’s the position the Obama White House has taken.

Perry went on to argue that Obama missed an opportunity to oust the current Iranian regime in 2009, and that the United States should be “actively involved” in removing the regime from power. Perhaps Perry will expand on how he would do this at Saturday night’s debate.

Perry similarly criticized Obama’s foreign policy when he sat down with Bill O’Reilly. The Texas governor is not giving the president credit for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden:

I promise you, those Navy SEALs that took out bin Laden, they knew what they were doing a long time before the president of the United States took office. So please don’t come in here and say, ‘I inherited all these problems and over here, I did all this.’

No thank you, Mr. President. We know how those things were done. It was because of the dedication and the focus and the professional of the military men and women of this country, not because he ended up being the president.

Perry may not think that Obama deserves some foreign policy credit, but the American public begs to differ. Gallup released a poll today showing that 63 percent of Americans give the president a thumbs up in handling of terrorism. And more Americans approve than disapprove of his handling of Iraq, Afghanistan, and foreign policy more generally.

Those numbers have to make the White House happy. But the fact that French journalists inadvertently overheard Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu probably didn’t. GOP presidential candidates have been quick to wave a finger. Michele Bachmann called on Obama to apologize to Netanyahu:

Today we learned in word what we have already seen from President Obama through his actions, his lack of commitment to the nation of Israel. When the president complains about his relationship derisively with the prime minister as ‘Having to deal with him every day,’ it is apparent that he is not committed to our ally Israel.

I call on the president to immediately apologize to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he should demonstrate leadership and demand that the French president do the same.

Bachmann also tied the incident to new reports about Iran’s nuclear weapons activity:

President Obama has been leading from behind in the Middle East and has put daylight between the United States and Israel in asking them to retreat to their 1967 indefensible borders. And now he has put Israel further at risk, but allowing Iran the time to get closer to obtaining nuclear weapons as we learned from the IAEA just yesterday. The President shouldn’t be complaining about ‘dealing’ with the Israeli’s every day, he should be fostering our relationship with the country that has been our longstanding ally and the one true democracy in the region. From the day I am elected president, I will stand with Israel and will make it clear that the United States will have Israel’s back.

In an opinion piece for CNBC, Jon Huntsman argues that economic policy and foreign policy are interdependent:

We need a 21st Century foreign policy that expands our economic engagement in the world through free trade agreements.

As a former governor and 3-time U.S. Ambassador, I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous opportunities of free trade.

95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and with the U.S. party to only 17 of more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, opening more markets for American businesses will be a priority of my administration.

We will pursue new trade opportunities, particularly across the Pacific, with Japan, India, Taiwan and Brazil. We will make completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership a priority, as well as support the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization Negotiations, which will benefit both developed and developing nations.

Tonight, the GOP presidential candidates meet at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan at 8 p.m. to discuss economic policy. In advance of the debate, Bloomberg News discusses the impact of the debates so far in this primary season.

Congress’s super committee now has precisely two weeks to strike a deal on a long-term deficit reduction plan. The Wall Street Journal offers some reason for optimism, the New York Times offers some reason for pessimism, and the Washington Post offers both.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of James Lindsay.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Paul J.

    Rick Perry is the last great hope for the GOP. We are in a mess (socially, economically, morally) , we need to regroup under a Perry tent and push thru to the primary season.

    Please consider RICK PERRY 2012!

    A family man, unwavering social-conservative and fiscal hawk. He balanced the budget and knows how to CUT state agencies!

    November 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Rick Perry might be good for the State of Texas. I doubt if he would make his way to D.C. and be taken seriously on the international arena.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:48 am | Reply
  2. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Just think. When the republicans regain power, they will start a war with Iran (totally unfunded of course). Then we can draft all the Poor people to fight (die) in the war (just like republicans want) and we can give "no bid" contracts to the rich people. Killing two birds with one stone!! We can use Iran's oil to pay for the war. And when the war is over, Iran will sell us cheap oil!! Just like Iraq!!!!.........Oh wait......Never mind.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Matt

      Very well said, GOP... Thank you.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:35 am | Reply
  3. Marie

    Rick Perry has been treated unfairly by some conservatives. He is not perfect, but is anyone running in the GOP perfect? I should think not!

    I take issue with Perry on some things, but Heaven knows he is the best person running. As far as Perry being far back in the polls (really, he is only trailing by ten points on average), does anyone remember where McCain was at this time in 2007? He was running forth or fifth in most states and third nationally. And Perry is far more conservative then McCain.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  4. In Seattle

    I can't believe you people that are defending Rick Perry and wanting US to go to war with Iran are so dense. Did you watch your man in the debate tonight? Do you really want a man that can't even remember his own points? Having Israel's back may be the right thing to do but at what price? What has this relationship brought to the US? I love the US and we have so many problems here at home that it woudl seem to me we should concentrate a little bit more here at home.

    November 10, 2011 at 3:38 am | Reply
  5. Timon

    Rick Perry is a joke....just like the rest of the conservatives. They have no chance. This country is tired of class war against the middle class, and of sending troops to kill or be killed. Enough is enough! The revolution is here!

    November 10, 2011 at 4:37 am | Reply
  6. Onesmallvoice

    All we need is another worthless warmonger in office. Give these creeps a chance and they'll have us all lavishing in a honey of a depression plus people getting killed off in yet another useless war of theirs!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
  7. dr saad- calgary- alberta- IRAN MUST GO

    WE MUST CHOICE A LEADER WHO CAN TAKE IRAN, SYRIA AND HEZBOLLAH OUT OF THIS WORLD AND SEND THEM BACK TO THE 70 VIRGINS SEND THEM TO HELL . OBAMA IS TOO WEAK ON IRAN, HE RUNNING AWAY FROM IRAQ LEAVING THE SHIIA IRANIANS THUGS CONTROLLING IRAQ , IF OBAMA ATTACK SYRIA AND ISRAEL FINISH HEZBOLLAH THEN IT WILL BE EASY TO GET RED OF IRAN

    November 12, 2011 at 1:50 am | Reply
    • Dave

      Really? Not enough dead Americans and unpaid wars for you? We must choose a leader that will work with the rest of the world to do what is needed, in a way that allows for us to keep our costs down, and our casulties low... oh wait. We already have.

      November 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  8. dr saad- calgary- alberta- IRAN MUST GO

    USA SHOULD START KIDNAPPING SOME OF THOSE SHIIA MULLAHS FROM NOW AND HIDE THEM IN PRISONS SO WHEN THEY CAPTURES SOME OF OUR USA SOLDIERS WE CAN EXCHANGE WITH THEM.

    November 12, 2011 at 1:52 am | Reply
  9. dr saad- calgary- alberta- IRAN MUST GO

    THE RECENT SHIIA MULLAH WHO WENT TO HAJJ AND START SWEARING ON AISHA AND ATTACKING SAUDI POLICE BY HIS FOWL SHIIA LANGUAGE IS ONE OF THOSE SHIIA BRAIN WASHER IMAM WHO LIVE IN EDMONTON, ALL THOSE SO CALLED MULLAHS ARE IRAN SUPPORTERS AND DONATE MONEY TO HEZBOLLAH, THESE ARE TERRORISTS ORGANIZATIONS AND WE MUST NOT ALLOW THEM TO SUPPORT TERRORISTS HERE SEND THEM BACK HOME , WE DON'T CARE IF THEY ARE HERE DOING RESEARCH. THIS IS ALL COVER UP

    November 12, 2011 at 1:57 am | Reply
  10. Dave

    dr saad- calgary- alberta- IRAN MUST GO
    clearly a GOP paid, war mongering TROLL.

    November 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Reply

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