Republicans and Foreign Policy

Republican presidential candidates (L-R), Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, September 22, 2011

From the Editors of the New York Times:  Recently, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. have delivered foreign policy speeches and issued white papers. But they are pretty thin, with few new ideas and many unanswered questions. Among Mr. Romney’s more specific proposals: increase defense spending to 4 percent of gross domestic product. Even if that were good policy, we’d like to know where Mr. Romney plans to get the money to pay for it.

Mr. Huntsman wants the troops out of Afghanistan quickly, and former Senator Rick Santorum advocates an aggressive push to win — whatever that means. Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry are somewhere in the muddled middle, with ambiguous statements that, so far, make it impossible to know when or even if they might withdraw troops.

Mr. Romney said proudly that he would consult the military commanders on Afghanistan — which is exactly what Mr. Obama did. Most Republican candidates support Israel and oppose Iran getting a nuclear weapon — without any good ideas for how to save the first and prevent the second. As for the use of military force, in a speech in August, Mr. Perry called for “taking the fight to the enemy, wherever they are, before they strike at home.” He also rejected “military adventurism.” So when exactly would he use military force? No one knows.

Would these candidates work with China or confront it? What must the United States do to ensure the Arab Spring leads to democratic change? Can relations with Pakistan be made productive? American voters deserve thoughtful answers. They’re not getting them.   (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%2010%2018%2011%20Republican%20candidates.jpg