Cruz on Foreign Policy

 

jeanekirkpatrickMuch to the chagrin of a media that had been enjoying an almost entirely content-free election, Senator Ted Cruz has had occasion to speak and write about foreign policy. He has also announced, rather than an adviser or two, a vast “National Security Coalition” of almost two dozen names (immediately denounced by the media as neocons, Islamaphobes, and Likudniks). I don’t know enough about the Kremlinology of the foreign policy establishment to draw any conclusions from this array of names, but I trust other Ricochetti will be able to shine some light.

One influence Cruz has mentioned explicitly is Jeane Kirkpatrick, and, in particular, her (in)famous 1979 “Dictatorships and Double Standards” essay in Commentary. The lesson he appears to draw from it is that the US does not win by replacing dictators with terrorists. He views with favour, for example, Netanyahu’s stance on the civil war in Syria: i.e., don’t support either side.

When Cruz can restrain himself, he refuses to be drawn on the specifics of military intervention: being Commander-in-Chief is not a game of Risk, but a matter of setting an objective (“kill the terrorists and come home”) and letting the relevant folks suggest whatever is necessary and required. When he can’t restrain himself, he talks of arming the Pershmerga, including Jordanian and Egyptian military in operations, ordering “non-photo-op airstrikes” (or even the notorious “carpet-bombing”), and giving South Korea missile defences. Additionally, he says Putin is a KGB thug with a simple goal of re-establishing the Soviet Union (geographically rather than ideologically), and embarrassing the US whenever opportunity presents.

Generally, Cruz sees the present moment as being as dangerous for the world as the one the it faced after Munich in 1938. Cruz’s formula for a “truly conservative foreign policy” is:

  • Preserve the country by exerting leadership on the global stage, not withdraw from it.
  • Fiercely defend allies and interests.
  • Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

I could speculate on what all this might mean for a “Cruz Doctrine” — and I encourage you to do so — but I think this gives a flavour of an approach somewhere between Obama, George W. Bush, and Ron Paul. I look forward to the experts enlightening me on where I am horribly wrong.

Published in Foreign Policy, Politics
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  1. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I think this is a good analysis.

    Regardless of the carpet bombing comment (we can’t settle on what that means on Ricochet, let a lone the world stage) he has been measured in his approach to foreign policy.

    Anyone pressing a Presidential candidate for specifics in foreign policy is fishing for sound bites. The world is too dynamic and candidates do not have quite the resources available to make decisions they will as President.

    My take is that he hopes a strong, well equipped and trained military will serve first as a deterrent much like Reagan’s doctrine and motivate potential adversaries to the negotiating table rather than the battlefield.

    I think his reluctance to get into every conflict all the time shows his qualities as a good listener in touch with what the majority of the country feels about foreign policy. Additionally, he is realistic about the resources available.

    • #1
  2. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    I know only some of the names on Cruz’s list, but those names—Andy McCarthy, Mary Habeck, Elliott Abrams, Michael Ledeen, Jerry Boykin, Frank Gaffney—give me confidence. The media’s response is, in its way, accurate, since these are serious, steady-minded people who have, when it made sense,  argued like “neocons, Islamophobes, and Likudniks,” each of these terms a not-very-covert description of (conservative) Jews, of course.  This makes it easier than ever to support Cruz.

    • #2
  3. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Sandy:I know only some of the names on Cruz’s list, but those names—Andy McCarthy, Mary Habeck, Elliott Abrams, Michael Ledeen, Jerry Boykin, Frank Gaffney—give me confidence. The media’s response is, in its way, accurate, since these are serious, steady-minded people who have, when it made sense, argued like “neocons, Islamophobes, and Likudniks,” each of these terms a not-very-covert description of (conservative) Jews, of course. This makes it easier than ever to support Cruz.

    I spent a week getting briefed by Frank Gaffney and dinner with General Boykin. I think they are wise choices for his team.

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    One of the Councillors, Daniel P. Vajdich, seems tailor-made to appeal to Claire: EU must halt spread of illiberal democracy, he writes, retailing the usual story about Hungary.

    • #4
  5. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    genferei [quoting Ted Cruz’s site]:

    • Preserve the country by exerting leadership on the global stage, not withdraw from it.
    • Fiercely defend allies and interests.
    • Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

    Well, though are certainly the right words as far as I’m concerned.

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    BrentB67: I think his reluctance to get into every conflict all the time shows his qualities as a good listener in touch with what the majority of the country feels about foreign policy.

    George W. Bush campaigned on almost the exact same thing. Situations change the calculations.

    • #6
  7. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    The King Prawn:

    BrentB67: I think his reluctance to get into every conflict all the time shows his qualities as a good listener in touch with what the majority of the country feels about foreign policy.

    George W. Bush campaigned on almost the exact same thing. Situations change the calculations.

    Fair enough. I wonder how this Council differs in philosophy from the Vulcans, GWB’s pre-election foreign policy team? Perhaps some (potentially self-serving) answers in Dov Zakheim’s Confessions of a Vulcan.

    • #7
  8. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    The King Prawn:

    BrentB67: I think his reluctance to get into every conflict all the time shows his qualities as a good listener in touch with what the majority of the country feels about foreign policy.

    George W. Bush campaigned on almost the exact same thing. Situations change the calculations.

    Situations may changes tactics and priorities, but should not shake core principles.

    Bush didn’t have to go on a global nation building exercise in the middle of Islam to defend us against another 9/11.

    Additionally, I think history bears out that his conduct post 9/11 was consistent with the team of advisors he surrounded himself with.

    • #8
  9. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I very much want Cruz to adopt the Cities of Refuge proposals I have shared here. It is a superb way to grow Freedom around the world at low cost and low risk, while reducing refugee issues and risks to the US.

    • #9
  10. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Ted Cruz, Mister Establishment!  My dispute with Cruz were never over his policy positions but his lack of team play and over the top gamesmanship to promote himself.

    Now that he’s promoted himself to the position of the only viable conservative alternative, he has become the standard bearer for the establishment!  I applaud it, and I will happily vote for him on Tuesday’s NY primary.

    • #10
  11. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    iWe:I very much want Cruz to adopt the Cities of Refuge proposals I have shared here. It is a superb way to grow Freedom around the world at low cost and low risk, while reducing refugee issues and risks to the US.

    Other than banning Islam, what are you going to do to keep isis out of your cities of refuge?

    • #11
  12. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I attended a lecture of Jeanne Kirkpatrick in the mid 1990’s with my soon to be wife (‘high-brow date’) – she was terrific, couple of protesters, even then, which she dispatched with virtually no effort.

    It’s a good sign that a candidate would take in her wisdom.

    • #12
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    genferei:The lesson he appears to draw from it is that the US does not win by replacing dictators with terrorists.

    I hope he realises that the US does not win by replacing terrorists with dictators either.

    And the Devil is in the details.  Some broad inoffensive motherhood statements cannot be enough to convince you that the man has a reasonable actual foreign policy in mind.

    • #13
  14. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Zafar:

    genferei:The lesson he appears to draw from it is that the US does not win by replacing dictators with terrorists.

    I hope he realises that the US does not win by replacing terrorists with dictators either.

    And the Devil is in the details. Some broad inoffensive motherhood statements cannot be enough to convince you that the man has a reasonable actual foreign policy in mind.

    Please read his positions, his sponsored bills, his op eds.  Then tell me that Ted Cruz is engaging in “motherhood statements” and that he lacks a “reasonable actual foreign policy.”

    • #14
  15. Topher Inactive
    Topher
    @Topher

    I love Ted Cruz’s foreign policy: clearly outlined positions, and a specific list of excellent people.

    I am inclined towards a “hot stove” approach to foreign policy: we’ll leave you alone, but mess with American citizens, or our allies, and very bad things happen very quickly.

    • #15
  16. Topher Inactive
    Topher
    @Topher

    Initially sceptical, I’m approaching the point where I’ll crawl over broken glass to have Ted Cruz elected.

    • #16
  17. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Topher:Initially sceptical, I’m approaching the point where I’ll crawl over broken glass to have Ted Cruz elected.

    With that spirit we will defeat Hillary Clinton in November and Reignite the Promise of America.

    • #17
  18. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    It appears that there will be no middle ground on Cruz’s foreign policy, and that’s a good thing.  Libertarians may disagree, but the electorate has generally responded to candidates who clearly want to remove the “Kick Me” sign from the State Dept. door.

    Oh, and thanks for posting that picture of Ambassador Kirkpatrick.  As a former student, I seem to remember that same look when seeking forgiveness for a late paper.

    • #18
  19. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    Topher:I love Ted Cruz’s foreign policy: clearly outlined positions, and a specific list of excellent people.

    I am inclined towards a “hot stove” approach to foreign policy: we’ll leave you alone, but mess with American citizens, or our allies, and very bad things happen very quickly.

    A friend of mine refers to this as the mad bull policy: we’ll leave you alone, but if you mess with the bull you will get the horn.

    • #19
  20. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    ctlaw:

    iWe:I very much want Cruz to adopt the Cities of Refuge proposals I have shared here. It is a superb way to grow Freedom around the world at low cost and low risk, while reducing refugee issues and risks to the US.

    Other than banning Islam, what are you going to do to keep isis out of your cities of refuge?

    An interview process and swift expulsion of all violators of the City’s Code. That Code will not enshrine democracy – it is much more like a Singapore or pre-1994 Hong Kong-style autocracy that ensures religious and economic freedoms.

    • #20
  21. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    iWe:

    ctlaw:

    iWe:I very much want Cruz to adopt the Cities of Refuge proposals I have shared here. It is a superb way to grow Freedom around the world at low cost and low risk, while reducing refugee issues and risks to the US.

    Other than banning Islam, what are you going to do to keep isis out of your cities of refuge?

    An interview process and swift expulsion of all violators of the City’s Code. That Code will not enshrine democracy – it is much more like a Singapore or pre-1994 Hong Kong-style autocracy that ensures religious and economic freedoms.

    That’s nice and vague.  What will you do when there is a massacre of Christians? Collective punishment of the Moslems?

    • #21
  22. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    ctlaw:

    iWe:

    ctlaw:

    iWe:I very much want Cruz to adopt the Cities of Refuge proposals I have shared here. It is a superb way to grow Freedom around the world at low cost and low risk, while reducing refugee issues and risks to the US.

    Other than banning Islam, what are you going to do to keep isis out of your cities of refuge?

    An interview process and swift expulsion of all violators of the City’s Code. That Code will not enshrine democracy – it is much more like a Singapore or pre-1994 Hong Kong-style autocracy that ensures religious and economic freedoms.

    That’s nice and vague. What will you do when there is a massacre of Christians? Collective punishment of the Moslems?

    These cities would not be unpoliced – on the contrary. And residents have a  very strong incentive to keep it safe. Christians are not massacred in any place with a functional municipal government.

    The proposal is hardly vague – it is building a society from the bottom up instead of the top-down, which is why the US Government never thinks of it. But this approach is how civil societies have built themselves since the beginning of time. In this case, the “government” is a military-backed municipality (UK-style civil service) with draconian powers.  Hong Kong and Singapore are great models to follow.

    • #22
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Richard Harvester (whose idea it is) adds:

    There will be some ISIS, but minimal  – but ISIS flourishes in two situations:

    1) When they are protecting their ethnic group. e.g. the only viable people standing up to the Shiite Axis.

    2) In a fundamentally non-productive Sunni culture (read welfare weanies)

    ISIS in Israel is a non-factor. There is more of it in the territories (see non-productive Sunni culture) but it is bottled up. ISIS in the U.S. is feared, but close to impotent given our awareness.

    Hong Kong had some Communists and many many attempted bombings – but they never had the mass to kill it. Now it is Chinese fascists, not Communists, who are in the process of taking control.

    The key in the city is to focus on this productive ethos and to break-down ethnic identifications perhaps by flooding the place with a broad spectrum of ethnicities rather than the pre-existing local tribes.

    • #23
  24. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    iWe: These cities would not be unpoliced – on the contrary. And residents have a very strong incentive to keep it safe. Christians are not massacred in any place with a functional municipal government.

    Brussels?

    • #24
  25. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    ctlaw:

    iWe: These cities would not be unpoliced – on the contrary. And residents have a very strong incentive to keep it safe. Christians are not massacred in any place with a functional municipal government.

    Brussels?

    You do realize that you just made my point, right?

    • #25
  26. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    iWe:

    ctlaw:

    iWe: These cities would not be unpoliced – on the contrary. And residents have a very strong incentive to keep it safe. Christians are not massacred in any place with a functional municipal government.

    Brussels?

    You do realize that you just made my point, right?

    You are making my point. There would have to be a level of policing, lack of due process, etc. that would be unobtainable.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Josh Farnsworth (Bucky Boz): Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

    Fair call, I’ll go have a look.  Though I was responding to:

    Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

    What does that even mean?

    Is what’s best for the world therefore best for America?

    It seems like a motherhood statement, it really does.

    • #27
  28. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Zafar: It seems like a motherhood statement, it really does.

    Yes and no. It is a different approach from “what’s good for America must be morally suspect and probably deserves an apology” on the one hand, and “do what’s good for America and screw the rest of the world” hard-core ‘realism’ on the other.

    But what would a non-motherhood statement of foreign policy look like? “Don’t do stupid s#%t”? “Smart power”? I don’t even know what a book-length ‘foreign policy’ would look like. How could it be anything but the broadest of statements. Can you say anything more about the Truman Doctrine than “the United States will actively offer assistance to preserve the political integrity of democratic nations when such an offer is in the best interest of the United States”?

    • #28
  29. Josh Farnsworth (Bucky Boz) Member
    Josh Farnsworth (Bucky Boz)
    @

    Zafar:

    Josh Farnsworth (Bucky Boz): Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

    Fair call, I’ll go have a look. Though I was responding to:

    Judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.

    What does that even mean?

    Is what’s best for the world therefore best for America?

    It seems like a motherhood statement, it really does.

    I think it is another way of saying “pursue American interests”  which is what officials in Republican and Democrat administrations have said for years.

    • #29
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    genferei:But what would a non-motherhood statement of foreign policy look like? “Don’t do stupid s#%t”? “Smart power”? I don’t even know what a book-length ‘foreign policy’ would look like. How could it be anything but the broadest of statements. Can you say anything more about the Truman Doctrine than “the United States will actively offer assistance to preserve the political integrity of democratic nations when such an offer is in the best interest of the United States”?

    How about:

    The US will actively offer assistance to preserve the political integrity of democratic nations because the political integrity of democratic nations is in the long term best interest of the US and the world.

    I actually believe that this is both true and moral. Am I wrong?

    • #30
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