Will 2016 be the “biggest foreign policy election” since Reagan’s ill-fated 1976 run for the GOP nod? That’s what Marc Thiessen says, if Hillary runs:
But Republicans can’t simply criticize Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi debacle. They will have to present a broad critique of her foreign policy leadership — from her failed “reset” with Russia, to her calling Syrian dictator Bashar Assad a “reformer,” to the Obama administration’s failure to impose meaningful sanctions on Iran, to its general inability to grasp significance of Arab uprisings in the Middle East, and to its more than $1 trillion in defense cuts that are decimating our military.
To deliver that critique, Republicans will have to explain what they would do differently. And that means, before Republicans can pick a foreign policy fight with Clinton, they will first have to have an intra-Republican foreign policy fight — potentially the biggest since 1976, when a conservative insurgent named Ronald Reagan took on the Ford-Kissinger policy of “détente.”
I read a story recently that the Soviets really woke up and took notice of Reagan early in his first term when he fired the striking PATCO air traffic controllers. More than anything he had said or done in foreign policy, that one domestic decision told the Kremlin that Reagan was tough, decisive, and meant what he said. One shudders to think what message Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s domestic policy dalliances have sent to the rest of the world.
A hypothetical GOP President in 2017 will find his biggest challenge will be to restore American credibility around the world. Not to make us loved, not to bolster NATO, not to fix the Middle East — but simply to restore our credibility as a serious nation with a serious leader. The best way to do that might be to take decisive action to roll back eight disastrous years of Obamanomics, rather than to undertake some big new foreign policy initiative which frankly the American people aren’t in the mood for right now.