With Barack Obama having what most Americans call “success” in regards to foreign policy, it’s no wonder the Republican candidates for president have largely ignored this important aspect of presidential responsibility. This changed, at least a little, this past Saturday night when CBS co-sponsored a debate on foreign policy.
America still being the world’s only superpower, I find it vaguely important to know where the potential leaders of the free world stand on international issues. It turns out CBS felt the same way, the television network cut out the last half hour of the debate in favor of a NCIS rerun.
Only a few of the Republican candidates have practical international experience and it showed. While there were no “oops” moments or other traditional Republican gaffes in the eyes of the media, it seemed that the stage was filled with five or six little George W. Bush impersonators.
Bush was one of the worst presidents in history when it came to American foreign policy (or domestic policy for that matter); a truth that still lingers in the minds of most American voters. Yet, the majority of candidates on Saturday called for military strikes on Iran and a return of waterboarding. Why they would intentionally try and go down that same road of failure is beyond my understanding.
Herman Cain, one of the front running candidates, said he did “not agree with torture, period,” but instead supported “enhanced interrogation,” which of course includes waterboarding. Both Representative Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry agreed with Cain. Only Representative Ron Paul and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman challenged the logic and legality of the cruel tactic.
On the subject of Iran, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said “this is of course President Obama’s greatest failing from a foreign standpoint.” While none of the candidates were calling for an all-out invasion, a couple of them, most notably former Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Santorum who has taken the strongest stance on Iran, proposed that the U.S. support an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, an action that would inevitably lead to all-out war. Without proof that the Iranians are developing weapons with their nuclear program, attacking them would be the equivalent of attacking Iraq because of their WMDs. We all know how that went.
Most of these Republican Candidates have the inept ability not to learn from history, even recent history. As these debates roll on into the election year, it is becoming more and more clear that the world would still be a safer place without a Republican in office.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana
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