Foreign policy of the final four
The remaining candidates in the GOP race at a debate in South Carolina.
January 26th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Foreign policy of the final four

By Jamie Crawford

Foreign policy still lags far behind the discussion of domestic issues as the Republican candidates continue debating each other. But when it does arise, the final four candidates in the race seem to divide into two camps - intervene big time on one side, stay out of it on the other side.

"We have one candidate, Ron Paul, whose a principled noninterventionist, and then we have three candidates - Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum - that are all activist internationalists who want to use American power aggressively overseas to contest the perils they see," James Lindsay with the Council on Foreign Relations told CNN.

The race to the nomination for Romney, Gingrich and Santorum is not likely to turn on foreign policy Lindsay told CNN. "They may not be in the same ZIP Code on all issues, but they are in the same city," he said.

But despite the broad similarities, some more subtle differences over policy and criticism of the Obama administration's handling of foreign policy still play out. Here is a look at how the remaining White House hopefuls view some of the toughest international issues likely to take a prominent role over the next year.

Iran

Perhaps no issue is as geopolitically challenging in the near term than the international standoff with Iran over the country's nuclear program. Likewise, no other foreign policy topic has generated as much heated rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Santorum, who has labeled President Barack Obama's handling of the situation a "colossal failure," does not mince words over the possible use of U.S. military power to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. "I will make a clear declaration to the Iranian government," he said at a rally in Coral Springs, Florida, this week, "that you either open your facilities, you begin to dismantle this nuclear program, or we will dismantle it for you."

For the former Pennsylvania senator, the Islamic Republic is a regime "just as radical as the people who run al Qaeda." Allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon would enable it to "spread a reign of terror around not just the Middle East, but here in America, here in Florida, here across Western civilization," he said at the same rally.

When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer last month how a President Gingrich would respond to a call from the Israeli government advising on an imminent strike on Iran's nuclear complex, the former speaker of the House said his reply would be "How can we help you?" Gingrich went on to say, "All the world can decide is whether they help us peacefully stop it or they force us to use violence, but Iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon."

At Monday's debate in Tampa, Gingrich said the recent decision to postpone large-scale joint military exercises with Israel showed great "weakness" on the part of the Obama administration.

The exercises were to come at a time when Iran threatens to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which one fifth of the global oil trade passes through.

"I think there's a very grave danger that the Iranians think that in fact this president is so weak," they could close the Strait if Hormuz without consequence after cancellation of the military exercises, Gingrich said.

Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said the decision to postpone the exercises was made jointly with the United States and "stemmed solely from technical issues." He went on to call the announcement "routine."

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is also on the record as saying it is unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and would pursue a policy to stop its advancement.

Recent Iranian provocations over the Strait of Hormuz have also laid bear weaknesses in the U.S. Navy that must be addressed Romney says. "It is appropriate and essential for our military, for our Navy to maintain open seas," he said. "We want [Iran] to see that we're so strong," the regime would not contemplate closing the Strait he said.

Paul has taken a sharply different tack and distanced himself from his competitors when it comes to handling Iraq's nuclear program. "You know what I really fear?" the U.S. representative from Texas asked at a debate last month. "It's another Iraq coming. It's war propaganda going on," he said.

For Paul, the current atmosphere is somewhat analogous to the 2003 lead up to the Iraq war that eventually revealed Iraq was not pursuing a weapons of mass destruction program. "To me, the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact," he said.

He has also referred to the tightening of sanctions against Iran an "act of war" that could damage the global economy by diminishing the flow of oil.

Afghanistan and Pakistan

With the war in Iraq over, and the military component of the war in Afghanistan on track to finish in 2014, the gloves have come off when the GOP candidates discuss Obama's handling of Afghanistan.

Part of the administration's strategy has been to pursue a dialog with certain members of the Taliban, maintaining military force alone cannot end the war. In Monday's debate, Romney disagreed and said the war can be won without talking to the Taliban by "beating them" instead. Making certain the Afghan Army is trained to hold off the Taliban is the answer he said.

Romney says the administration has made victory in Afghanistan difficult by announcing a withdraw date for troops, drawing down surge troops this past year and not having greater oversight over presidential elections in Afghanistan that many saw as somewhat fraudulent.

Obama has "failed in executing a policy in Afghanistan that would optimize our prospects of success," he said.

While supporting also supporting a robust U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, Gingrich says a more muscular approach toward Pakistan is necessary. With Osama bin Laden having lived in Pakistan for years, along with the presence of Islamic militants in the border regions near Afghanistan, Pakistan must come to grips with the reality, Gingrich said.

During CNN's national security debate in November, Gingrich said the rules of engagement should change, with U.S. troops in Afghanistan granted permission to conduct hot pursuit of militants running into Pakistan.

"You tell the Pakistanis," he said, "help us or get out of the way, but don't complain if we kill people you're not willing to go after on your territory where you have been protecting them."

Santorum, also a critic of the decision to draw down troops in Afghanistan, has said the policy is costing American lives.

"I think this is part of the consequences," Santorum said last fall of a suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed 12 Americans. "This is a dangerous enemy that has something no enemy of the United States should have," he said at a fundraising dinner for Rep. Steve King of Iowa. "And it was given to them be President Obama. And that is hope," to simply survive and maintain some activity until U.S. forces eventually pull out.

If elected, Santorum has said he would reverse the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

The U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been a far too costly proposition in Paul's mind, with U.S. investment there in need of a different direction.

In CNN's debate in November, Paul said he was tired of "all the money spent and lives lost worrying about the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan and forgetting about our borders between the United States and Mexico."

"We should think more about, you know, what we do at home," he said.

Defense spending

While Paul champions a reduction on military spending in the current fiscal environment, he does not seem to have much company with his fellow competitors.

"I really stand apart from some of our candidates in believing that we need a strong defense," Gingrich said in a likely attack on Paul in Iowa last month. Gingrich also called for a "thoroughly modernized intelligence community," in the same set of remarks.

Santorum told an audience in Iowa last month that even in leaner times, defense spending would not be cut in his administration. Although adjustments would be made with certain programs becoming obsolete, the overall defense budget would be spared, Santorum told the crowd. "The number one responsibility of the federal government is national security," he said.

For his part, Romney also calls for an increase in military spending, particularly through a robust naval presence in East Asia.

"Under this president, under prior presidents, we keep shrinking our Navy," Romney said Monday evening in the Tampa debate. In his first 100 days in office, Romney said he would put the Navy on a path to increase its shipbuilding rate per year.

Romney has also said it would also be a priority to modernize and replace aging inventories of the Army, Air Force and Marines.

China

The rise of China, and its relationship with the United States and the world, has emerged as another centerpiece of Romney's foreign policy.

"China is almost on every dimension cheating. And we have got to recognize that," Romney said in November. "They're manipulating their currency and, by doing so, holding down the price of Chinese goods and making sure their products are artificially low-priced. It's predatory pricing. It's killing jobs in America."

If elected, Romney said he would direct the Treasury Department to label China a "currency manipulator," which could trigger possible sanctions under U.S. law. The Obama administration has been reluctant to support legislation in the Senate for fear of provoking a trade war with China.

"If they cheat, there is a price to pay," Romney has said. "I don't want a trade war, but I don't want a trade surrender either."

Romney says China, as the world's No. 2 economy, needs to pull more of its weight and should not expect as much foreign assistance from the United States.

"This galls me, we give 10 million dollars in foreign aid a year to China," he said in October in Exeter, New Hampshire. "Its not that they're bad people, but the idea that a nation that is as large and robust and economically viable as theirs is getting money from us just makes no sense at all."

Gingrich sees China through the prism of an economic challenge as well. The United States will need to find ways "to dramatically raise the pain level for Chinese cheating both on the hacking side, but also on the stealing and intellectual property side," he said at a debate in November, adding that he had not seen any country come forward with a strategy to do so yet.

But he has also been critical of China's human rights record through its suppression of dissidents. The United States should engage more fully with the people of China, rather than the government, Gingrich says, through student exchanges and tourism.

Gingrich has said increased contacts with the Chinese people is an effective way to expose them to Western freedoms and eventually bring change to the Chinese system.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Foreign Policy
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Leokadbhc

    I love to buy i beats by dr dre on dre beats Monster Beats along Dr Dre Headphones am

    July 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  2. Mikeonthemike

    Santorum said: "when I'm fired upon, I shoot back!"...We need to fight our enemies on their soil, and cost them their families' lives...First, hurt 'em where it hurts worst -in their wallets...'phone them up and say we're napalming your opium fields tomorrow,get your "innocent farmers" out of the way -or else...no compromises... and they don't get paid for burned up opium...got an underground nuclear complex under Tehran? Same deal -costs money to build another one, and the people aren't going to like their govt. using them as human sheilds... wear a rag across your face to disguise yourself an carry an AK-47 ? -you are a terrorist -BANG!- you're dead...pretty soon no more "anonymous" terrorists...Chinese hacker stealing secrets -BOOM!- a drone just blew up your building... These guys lie to our faces, be they muslim or chinese...they don't have western judeo-christian belief that lying is wrong...eastern belief systems teach it's OK to lie, if you can get away with it, or as long as it serves the greater moral good... kind of self justifying...like the moral relativisms foisted on us by the liberals these days...We gotta defend ourselves, or we don't deserve to be the Greatest Nation On Earth...VOTE! or the commie liberal school teacher types will ruin our country...VOTE!! before it's too late and we're charged for breathing... OOPS -TOO LATE!...they already tax the air "CO2/CARBON EMISSIONS" (bullspit hogwash) VOTE EARLY-VOTE OFTEN- VOTE!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • A-Pissin'-on-the-dead-kinda-guy

      Seriously, buddy.......pot WILL help.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  3. Fletchmaster

    People don't hate us because of our freedoms. They hate us because their leaders have pitted them against us. We are the enemy in everyones eyes because of each president of the last 60 years. Yes some consider us a bully, but we aren't really a bully as much as an over-protective uncle, the kind that kicks all of his nephew's enemies asses. We can no longer afford to fight everyone elses war, we can no longer afford to maintain world peace. The world has become accustom to the US taking care of all the fights, they speak against our wars, but that is only because they are too afraid to get involved.

    Where would the world be without the assistance of the US in WWII, in the Persian Gulf War, in Vietnam, Korea, etc. All of these wars have had negative effects, some more necessary than others, but each of them had an agenda. We came out isolationism in reaction from the World Wars, but there are no longer world conflicts. Let the rest of the world worry about themselves for a couple of years, then, when they see that they're incapable of doing so they will be much more receptive to our interventions.

    I am not anti-war, or pro-war. I believe the US as the free-est nation has a duty to stand for human rights and democratic governments throughout the world. Democratic countries in theory do not occupy nations, they may invade and "occupy" while they are at war, but the US did not occupy Iraq, we had every intention of turning the government over to the people as soon as possible. Are people really this ignorant? How could we leave Iraq when there are constant suicide bombings and killings from insurgents...they claim it is in response to the US' occupation, but that makes no sense, you don't kill your brother to piss off your neighbor. We were used, we went to Iraq because (I believe) we were legitimately concerned that Iraq was involved in the creation of WMDs. We discovered there were never, or were no longer any of these in Iraq, but we were already stuck, people yell and scream for our immediate withdrawl, not realizing that such a withdraw can have just as devastating consequences as its invasion.

    While I am on it, how could no one believe that Iraq wasn't producing weapons? They continually taunted the IAEA (sound familiar) not allowing them to inspect sites, or constantly changing the dates. They could have easily moved any weapons to say Syria? Al-Assad had worked with Hussein before when it was mutually beneficial, they most certainly could have worked something out, but regardless of the WMDs, Hussein was a murderer of his own people, he should have been removed after the first Gulf War, instead he was allowed to reign in terror. The only good thing he provided was keeping the extremist in check.

    It is extremely frustrating to advocate these wars, because although I feel each one has some justification, there are sooooooooo many more that the US should have became involved with much earlier. For instances, the many conflicts in Africa which have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the Yugoslavian wars, and many others.

    However, it is 2012. Many of these conflicts have been resolved and generally speaking I would say the world is a more peaceful place, except for Africa and a few spots in the Middle East.

    We can afford to take a backseat for the next few years. I don't think Iran is stupid enough to make a nuclear weapon, they know Israel would erradicate them without hesistation. What they want is for Israel or the US to preemptively strike so they can show the world HEY! We told you we were just exploring energy solutions! Why did you bomb us? Then they will have a legitimate war with Israel which they will hope and pray that the Muslim world, the Middle Eastern world, will stand up and fight against. Iran has been trying to destroy Israel since its creation, very rarely have they been able to get the ME governments to participate. No one has come close since Egypt and Syria in 67, and if it wasn't for Nasser pulling back to the Sinai instead of rendezvouing with Syria, who knows if Israel would still be around.

    Stop blaming the past, stop blaming Obama, stop blaming republicans. The TRUTH is it is everyone's fault. It's the worlds fault for ignoring these situations, its the US' fault for allowing our agencies to become involved in conflicts (military training and such), and it is our fault for not holding our elected officials accountable.

    America, wake up. We have created system for you. If you do not use the system, you can't complain about the system. Stand up
    Speak out
    and most importantly VOTE!

    Coming from someone who works in government for the legislature, I can assure you not enough people take their government seriously. Don't just vote for the President, and don't just vote republican or democrat because your friends or parents are. Think, read about the candidates and NEVER trust the media (on both sides). This is extremely vital to having an effective democracy. It is so simple, but so difficult apparently.

    If anyone would like to discuss anything involving foreign affairs please email me at fletchmaster03@yahoo.com
    I loveeeee to talk about this stuff, even when no one agrees with me. I don't overreact, I don't attack personal beliefs, and I listen to everyone's opinion, can you do the same? I challenge everyone to be a better democrat and debate your beliefs without fear of retribution.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  4. Andrew

    War mongers all except Paul who anti-interventionalist stance is unreasonable on many levels. I agree we should not be the police force of the world however we need to honor our committments to our allies. I would personally like to see the end of American occupationalism and for us to usher in an era of peaceful coexistance. Ideologies don't work, in the end people just want to be free, work and live decently leaving a better life for their children all the rest of this vitrol is stupidity. Just plain theater for the nut jobs out there.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  5. TheTrueAmerican

    I am uncertain who said America had to be the greatest world power by way of force, but regardless, it will not assist us to build better relations and enhance worldwide trade. Rather than fight the world because they don't follow our procedures, we need to look to remain isolationist/foster peaceful relations. We are now perceived as a country who still follows imperialistic ideals because we must enter other nations and change their government styles and foreign policy rather than work through a smarter medium. We have the United Nations, NATO, and other world organizations that are more effective strategies for dealing with international issues than the ones we have proposed. At this point, our allies (or so we call them) even express doubts in our actions because they do not follow reasonable standards.

    I enjoy listening to Ron Paul's beliefs (as I am a Libertarian), but I feel he is a wrong choice for a figure such as the president. Vice President? Perhaps, but not the head of what is now the strongest organization in the United States due to increased socialistic legislation. Paul's comment on the need to worry about what we're doing at home is genius. Why on earth are we more obsessed with nations other than ourselves? We are in a situation of monetary concern. Why? It costs so much to produce materials in the United States in comparison to China. China isn't cheating us, they're cheating their country and defeating us in the process. Their country is going through hyperinflation due to the American market but the businesses there are thriving. I don't support the sweat shops and money standard control, but we must find a way to make production in the United States efficient.

    The path to success is still alive for the United States, and the foreign policy will be a critical component of this journey. However, it takes recognition by the leaders of the United States of the key points and strategies that must be utilized in order to start this. Stop complaining about Obama, Bush or Cheney. The present and future are what we have. Work with that, and learn from the past. Don't blame it.

    January 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  6. WTHMANG

    RON PAUL 2012

    January 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  7. Emmy Skaddittle

    typical republican response, WAR! WAR!! WAR! (paul is really a republican)

    January 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • Emmy Skaddittle

      Paul isn't really a republican

      January 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  8. Gomenasai

    I only see Paul as the good guy for the job – the rest is just talking, and generally talking about the same Obama did in 2008.

    Paul 2012.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  9. mipolitic

    i do not see any of the four republicans here that can lead wisely through the bit falls of the worlds gloomy future , but neither do i see pres obama being the answer to iran and russia's support to syria. i have served and have lived many years and have watched the sadest time of usa history in last 19 years. under clinton north korea was allowed to acquire a nuke program while many cried aloud NO. and then the iraq lie with bush and cheney. and now pres obama wiggling out of confronting iran with useless sanctions and now with media reports that iran is backing away from the bomb. these reports that claim iran is reconsidering the nuke is not supported by facts or names of usa officials that support these claims. this is now clear to me that pres obama is focused on re-election and not the real threats of iran. wow , not good. russia is strong because nobody is standing up to them and iran is quickly becoming another north korea. pray.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Reason Prevails

      Praying won't help you. Reading will. Start with the unclassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate, which will dispel any notion of Iran being 6 months away from acquiring the bomb. And stop with the "I'm a vet..." nonsense as if it gives you some special insight into foreign policy. It doesn't. I'm a vet too, I've deployed to warzones in support of my country, and what I know of foreign policy comes from books and articles.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
  10. Mark

    While I like Obama on some things, I cannot stand his weakness on Foreign Policy BUT I am not exactly seeing anything on the menu I like here either. These four just cater to the extremes. Paul goes too far for all the wrong reasons and the other three? Active intervention is just a pretty word for war monger, and Iran is their new bad guy.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • ShawnDH

      Weakness? We are far better regarded, our alliances are stronger, the most wanted terrorist leaders have been killed and terrorist attacks worldwide have been reduced dramatically. Obama has kept us safe and made us safer while rebuilding US credibility. I'm not sure what you imagine "strength" in foreign policy looks like, but I'm sure it's terrible for the country and the world.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  11. iowa mary

    I am amazed that three of these clowns still think we need to bomb a country to show our strength. As proven with the previous republican idiots – Bush/Cheney – the only people that get hurt in these bombings are the innocent citizens of the country we are bombing and the economy of the bomber (thats us). I don't agree with Ron Paul on everything, but he has the right idea on military waste and drug war waste. I will still be voting for the guy with common sense – Obama.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Dick Cheney

      I always love when I hear someone say that they agree with Ron Paul on foreign policy or the drug wars, but that they are going to vote for Obama because he'd make be (or continue to be) a better president. Do people not understand the role of the executive branch? It's all about law enforcement and who we bomb. Not passing health care legislation or all these other things that Obama had aspired to do. If you don't like the fact that we've dropped cluster bombs on women and children in Yemen or that we deny civilian casualties in Pakistan and that the federal government is arresting people for legal involvement with medical marijuana because their state allows its use, are you sure that Obama is the right guy to be voting for?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  12. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    There is doubt about it – policy is foreign to these RepubicCunt morons.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  13. Lacey O'Rourke

    Santorum failed to make ballot in 4 states. It is a waste of time to read or write anything about him unless it is for the late night comedy TV shows. People should know this, so they won't waste their vote on him.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  14. Puddin

    Looking at this picture, I suggest Gingrich ask Christy to be his VP (God forbid he should win). That way his "tubbiness" may not be noticed so much. Newt and Christy need to contact "Weight Watchers" and do some serious exercise so they can make it through four years.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
  15. Phil in KC

    P.S. I was amazed at Romney's comment indicating he would go after Castro. Pretty bold going after an old infirm man who has already retired. Once upon a time I would have agreed with him, but that ship has now sailed.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • Mark

      Oh it makes sense, its part of our new US Defense Doctrine.....we only attack small, insignificant countries, old. men, and tiny skifs of pirates. The US have gone from decent to bullies – we have not had a big fight on our hands since WW2

      January 26, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
      • Bob from Iowa

        Mark are you lusting in your heart for a big fight like WWII? You've never been in combat have you.

        January 26, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • ShawnDH

        Why would we attack countries for no reason? Are you insane or just evil?

        January 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • ARD NewYork

      Where the f*** does Romney think we have the money to afford all of this? It's time to end the wars (ALL OF THEM) and bring the troops home. We need to take care of our own country before we go play police men of the world.

      January 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  16. Phil in KC

    And then there are the Democrats who believe that we should try diplomacy first, economic pressures second and force when all else fails. But maybe that's just too common sense for the Republicans.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ah, yes, a foreign policy debate in Florida. Let me guess. They need to finish pandering to both the Cuban and Jewish communities. Those two groups tend to care more about Cuba and Israel than they do about the country they live in and are citizens in.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:06 am | Reply
  18. chrism

    Your all brainwashed! War is a barbaric act that has no place in a modern civilized society. The only reason anybody advocates war is to sell bullts and bombs. War is a business and an extremely immoral business that we should be absolutely opposed to as principled civilized individuals. "Peace and free trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none" ~Thomas Jefferson

    January 26, 2012 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • mipolitic

      perhaps we should have applied your wisdom to hitler and the nazis before going to war that would have save lives?
      weak people promote weak solutions to deadly actions and threats. iraq was a lie but iran is the real deal .

      January 26, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
      • sterilng

        and what about the million fillipenos that america slaughtered 40 years before ww2 who just wanted to be able to rule and decide what happens in their own country.

        January 26, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • ShawnDH

        I don't like the Iranian regime, but when was the last time Iran invaded another country? It's amazing how many Americans (almost always Republicans) are so pants-pooping TERRIFIED all the time and buy into obviously hyperbolic propaganda. Besides how do you imagine we should pay for another totally unnecessary war? People power will take its course in Iran and its regime will collapse. No need to bomb more brown people because you're xenophobic.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  19. ShawnDH

    Listening to right-wing wackos talk foreign policy is always terrifying. These deranged, ignorant nutballs endanger the USA and the whole world. But, at least they give more reasons to vote for Obama.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:31 am | Reply
  20. michaelfury

    "or they force us to use violence"

    Yes, the targets of empire always bring the attack upon themselves.

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/the-ones-who-attacked-us/

    January 26, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
  21. michaelfury

    "It's another Iraq coming. It's war propaganda going on"

    Paul speaks truth.

    "when it comes to handling Iraq's nuclear program"

    Paging Dr. Freud... Old propaganda dies hard, doesn't it?

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/talking-head-like-a-hole/

    January 26, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
  22. Airman

    I am for Santorum. If Obama doesnt let us go in and bonb the fuck out of the Iranians, then Santorum will surely authorize it. Then we can go in and eradicate some more of this muslim cancer on the world. Sharia will be defeated.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:33 am | Reply
    • sterilng

      then we would only have to worry about the nuts like santorum who want to install a warped version of leviticus law across the united states.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • steven harnack

      I'll tell you what, why don't you just find the most violent video game on the market and try to satisfy your lust for blood and death that way. Let the rest of us live in peace. There are only a handful of people on the whole earth who want to march over to someone else's country and kill them. Some of them seem to be running for the Rebuplikan nomination.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • ShawnDH

      Sure. Mass murdering Iranians because you are annoyed with their government is obviously the solution! You people are deranged.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  23. Sayan Majumdar

    A strong and stable Afghanistan will prove to be a far more reliable ally of United States than Pakistan (irrespective of being run by civil or military establishment).

    Rather than withdrawing troops United States should maintain extended presence in Afghan soil and also persuade the major regional power, India, to play more active role in development of requisite infrastructure and training of Afghan security personnel till the inherently tough Afghans can tackle their complex problems on their own.

    In any case if the reports of $ 1-trillion worth lithium deposits in Afghanistan are true, Afghanistan will be a self sufficient economy in the long run, protection from malefic power centres is what it needs presently.

    Sayan.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:01 am | Reply
    • SteveTX

      You are kidding right? Afghanistan is tribal and very rural. They don't even get along with their cousin's across the creek! That's why regime's like the Taliban (and current Iran leadership) works – whether the locals like it or not. Under Taliban rule the poppy crop output has DECREASED. That's good. I agree with RP on this.. Let them at it. Why DO we need 180 military bases around the world. Cut it back to 100, save the budget. After all 50% of Federal budget goes to military/industrial complex.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
      • ARD NewYork

        Completely agree with SteveTX. We do not have the money to stay in all of these foreign countries. We are constantly playing policemen of the world when our country back home is collapsing to pieces. What most people don't think about is that we were attacked in 9/11 because of our overseas intervention in wars that didn't involve us. Did we deserve the attacks of 9/11? Of course not, but intervening with a terrorist group will only create more tension and make our country more susceptible to attacks and war (such as 9/11). It's such an American ideal to believe that we are constantly being attacked because "Everyone hates our freedoms!" No one hates our freedoms, thousands of countries are just as free as we are. Everyone hates us because we play the policemen of the world and get involved with everyone's business. The founding fathers told us to stay out of foreign affairs, yet we did anyway, and look where it got us? We need to stop useless and endless wars and bring the troops home to take care of our own country.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Sayan Majumdar

        @SteveTX and & ARD NewYork, with due respect to your personal views, I still differ.

        Pulling out of foreign bases will be highly destabilising factor and only endanger United States homeland in the long run, as foreign basing does enhance the security bubble.

        And never expect peace against isolation, the United States already paid a heavy price on December 07, 1941, and will never repeat the same mistake again.

        Sayan.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:17 am |

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