Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Foreign Policy Election

First it was Jeb Bush. Now it's Marco Rubio. For other Republicans, it's all about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. Meanwhile, Scott Walker has tripped over his own feet while discussing the world and Chris Christie, who has something to say about everything, has little to say yet on foreign affairs.

Why is this important? Because 2016 is shaping up to be a foreign policy election. Yes, there will be talk about taxing the wealthy, cutting taxes to the wealthy, what to do about entitlements and the middle class, abortion, immigration and health care, but right now, the world seems to be blowing up and countries are looking to the United States to help fix what ails them.

President Obama has wisely not gotten us involved in a foreign adventure despite calls by the hawkish neocon crowd over on the right to send troops to Syria. And Lebanon. And Iraq. And other places. Which sounds like the good-old-fashioned response that George W. Bush followed and that was a terrible mistake. And it all sounds heroic and noble until the body bags start coming back and the soldiers return with severe damage to their bodies and minds.

What 2016 presents for the country is an opportunity to be creative with our foreign policy. The Cold War has been over for more than 20 years, but the mentality remains, this time with China as the Soviets and North Korea as the Cubans. ISIS is a tremendous threat to Middle East stability, but they are alienating other countries in the region, who are showing more of a propensity to fight on their own. We can support our friends, but right now there is little reason for us to get more soldiers involved.

It will be interesting to see where the debate goes from here. Rand Paul has been championing a more isolationist foreign policy as a basic belief. Hillary Clinton certainly has the experience, but she hasn't enunciated a specific policy yet. Can Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders come up with credible ideas? Perhaps, but I've come to a conclusion that's even more true now than it was in 2004.

We should have elected John Kerry as president when we had the chance.

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