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. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Jim Lindsay.
By James M. Lindsay
Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate was primarily about the domestic economy. But it started off on a foreign policy note when lead moderator Maria Bartiromo asked what the United States should do to ensure that Italy’s mounting economic woes “do not take down the U.S. financial system.” The responses were dismaying. Herman Cain said “we must grow the economy,” Mitt Romney said Europeans should “take care of their own problems,” Ron Paul talked about the need to “liquidate” debt, and Jon Huntsman worried that the United States has six banks that are “too big to fail.”
Why are these answers dismaying? Because they suggest that the GOP candidates are either hankering for a past that no longer exists, don’t understand the severity of the eurozone crisis, or don’t have any answers (at least ones they would share with voters) for addressing the crisis. There once was a day when things over there didn’t matter to life over here. But that day is long gone.
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.
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. FULL POST
Michele Bachmann gave The Street a video interview on foreign policy. She says that her ultimate foreign policy goal is “to see peace in the world.” Her strategy for achieving that end is a “peace through strength policy.” She criticized the New Start Treaty, called Iran a “third-world basket case,” and speculated that Tehran would share its nuclear weapons technology with nations like Sudan and “state sponsors of terror.” Bachmann also condemned President Obama’s decision to send U.S. troops to central Africa:
We don’t know where that will go…Once we get involved in a foreign entanglement, if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last twelve years it’s that it’s very difficult to extricate once we get involved. FULL POST
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