Although several presidential primary debates have been held by Republicans and Democrats, little light has been thrown on the issues, particularly in the key area of foreign policy. This shallowness is not particularly the fault of the candidates but of the formats and the moderators who often seem more bent on generating food fights than on illuminating issues. Nevertheless, recent events in Paris have only served to reiterate that 2016 is, above all, a foreign policy election and that the next president had better be ready to assume the role of commander-in-chief “on day one.”
To add some depth to the discussion, PJ Media (via this Mad Voter) submitted four foreign policy questions to a few of the leading Republican candidates. The first response is from Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Please note that we formulated these questions (and Senator Cruz received them) before the ISIS attack in Paris, although the senator refers to those horrific events in one of his answers. Look for more responses to the questions from leading candidates at the Diary of a Mad Voter in the days to come.
PJM: An October 21 letter from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to its president Hassan Rouhani details nine new Iranian demands for fundamental changes to the supposedly agreed-upon Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) already unpopular with the American public. Alterations would include the immediate permanent lifting of all sanctions with no possibility of “snapback“ and abandonment of any investigation into Iran’s past nuclear activities by the IAEA, making it impossible to understand what they have done previously, rendering present inspections moot. Further, the JCPOA called for a whole series of reductions of Iran’s nuclear stockpiles by December 15 (centrifuges, enriched uranium, etc.), none of which appears to have even started. Does Obama’s vaunted Iran Deal actually exist and, if not, what should Congress do now and how would your administration deal with Iran on your election?
SENATOR CRUZ: It is increasingly clear President Obama’s nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran is illegal and non-binding on future presidents. It does, however, exist. And its existence, given Tehran’s track record of clandestinely pursuing nuclear weapons, cheating on United Nations Security Council Resolutions (most recently #1929 when they tested a ballistic missile last month) and 36-year track record of implacable and violent hostility to America and our allies, especially Israel, is the single greatest national security threat faced by the United States.
Congress should make it very clear that the “clock” triggered by the Corker-Cardin legislation has not even started to tick because we have yet to see the side deals regarding inspections—notably of Parchin. And anyone running for president owes it to the American people to clarify that any deal that has not been ratified as a treaty by the Senate or passed into law by both Houses of Congress is not binding on any future administration.
PJM: According to a New York Times article of November 2, as many as 10,000 migrants a day are entering Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, among other countries. What the Times not surprisingly omits is that the vast majority of these migrants are single Muslim males between 15 and 30, the prime recruitment cohort for ISIS and similar groups. The president of the Bavarian Association of Municipalities reports Germany is on track to bring in “20 million Muslims by 2020.” The character of Europe is changing rapidly, endangering the Enlightenment and democratic values. How should America deal with this migration on our own soil and in our relations with Europe?
SENATOR CRUZ: This issue has obviously escalated significantly over this past weekend in terms of media attention, but it’s been something I’ve been dealing with since I came to the Senate. I understand the humanitarian disaster that has happened in Syria, and we have considered ways to try to assist the millions of refugees. I have tried to look for ways to help the refugees who are the least well served by the United Nations and other NGOs—first and foremost Christians—but have not had success getting bi-partisan support.
Given the reports that elements in the Paris attacks had infiltrated France as refugees, I think we need a full stop on bringing refugees from north Africa or the Middle East to the United States. It is simply too dangerous, and the Obama administration must reconsider their policy. We don’t have to make the same mistakes Europe has.
PJM: Despite Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” with Russia, Vladimir Putin has taken over the Crimea and parts of Ukraine, threatened the Baltic states, and inserted Russian presence as never before in the Middle East through his alliance with Iran in Syria. How do we stop Putin — now widely regarded as a stronger leader than our president — from reconstituting a yet more powerful Soviet Union?
SENATOR CRUZ: The fact of the matter is that our relationship with Russia is now dysfunctional. And this is not entirely Vladimir Putin’s fault. Certainly, he’s not a friend to the United States. He thinks the fall of the Soviet Union is the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. He wants to undermine NATO. I understand that.
But there we should be able to co-exist with Russia without the disaster that is the current state of our relationship. Putin took the measure of President Obama and Secretary Clinton when they offered the “reset” in 2009, and acted accordingly. He seized Crimea without so much as a whimper out of the Obama administration. He has moved into Syria to prop up Bashir al-Assad. President Obama has done nothing in response, and now we have far fewer options. It’s hard to see how we can work together when Putin is openly disdainful of the American president. We may need a new one to get back to something other than a new Cold War.
PJM: Since the Vietnam War, much of our mainstream media, the academy and the entertainment industry has portrayed America as more the problem than the solution in global affairs. They have succeeded to the degree that large portions of our public, including our youth, believe them. The result has seen the undermining of the Pax Americana and a world virtually coming apart under Obama’s so-called “leading from behind.” How would you as commander-in-chief communicate with the public to reeducate it about the necessity of America taking the lead in international affairs?
SENATOR CRUZ: It’s disgraceful that President Obama has revitalized the “Blame America First” crowd that President Reagan encountered in 1980. America is not what is wrong with the world—and I don’t think the American people need much help to understand this. The United States has been the greatest force for good in the history of the planet. The best interests of America have been in the best interests of our allies. This isn’t complicated.
The next American commander in chief will need to be ready on day one to reassure our allies that the United States is a reliable partner. And to make clear to hostile nations that the Obama era is over. That’s one thing I want to make clear as a presidential candidate so both our friends and our enemies will know what a Cruz administration will entail.
(Artwork created via multiple Shutterstock.com and AP elements.)