Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is the GOP the Party of Nation Building?

Herman Cain is a long shot to win the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. While his name may not register on polls of average voters, he is a serious candidate and many close observers of the GOP know who he is and like much of what they see.

Cain is identified with the Tea Party movement, a movement not typically associated with foreign policy. In a recent interview with Slate's Dave Weigel, Cain would have been well advised to stick to spending and debt and just pass on international issues. Instead he offers us this:
I support the surge in Afghanistan but I would have sent those troops earlier than the president sent them," said Cain. "I don't know, because I'm not privy to all of the intelligence, if we can win in Afghanistan. If we can, then I would have never announced a withdrawal date. And so the first thing that I'd do [if elected] is summon the experts to find out can we win. If the answer is yes, what is it going to take? And I'm not going to broadcast it to our enemies as to when we're going to get out of there."...

Cain spent some more time explaining his view of the war on terror—"we're going to be in this war forever" —and the Iraq War. "The people of Iraq, they wanted to become a democracy," he said. "If they did not want to become a democracy, I do not think President Bush forced it upon them. Once it was clear that they wanted to become a democracy, President Bush pledged to help them do that. I know enough from the reports that I've read that this is something the Iraqi people wanted."

In a similar vein, here's Dad29 calling out Wisconsin's new Senator, Ron Johnson, for some wishful thinking on Afghanistan:
The Senator proposes that a US presence (and lots of literacy, training, money, and lives) will transform a country of poppy-growing/goat-herding Muslims into a functional Western-law based society.

Good luck with that, Senator
It's almost enough to make me wish for candidate George W. Bush circa 2000, but we all know how that turned out.

I don't know how to break it to these guys, but a successful transition to a smaller federal government will mean less of everything at the federal level, including foreign interventions.

I have never voted for a major party presidential candidate. If the GOP stays true to form and nominates "the guy whose turn it is" which, I guess, this time around is Mitt Romney, I expect my streak to be intact at least until 2016.

With the buzz around an outsider candidate like Cain, I thought maybe this time around the GOP would instead opt for "the guy with the best ideas." If Cain's foreign policy represents that model, it makes me wonder just how serious the GOP is about reducing the size of the federal government.


D said...

I completely agree. However, foreign policy is better placed in the context of legitimate power, rather than mere 'size.'

Wars are not wrong because they make the government bigger (though this is the second best reason to oppose them) - they are wrong because our government does not have the authority to be the judge, jury, and most of all executioner of 6 billion people.

Luckily there are 2 candidates for President in 2012 that are NOT carbon copies of Mitt "we'll ask the lawyers if undeclared wars are unconstitutional or not" Romney.

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