Blogs » Politcs Plus » Saturday's GOP Foreign Policy Debate



I watched an hour of Saturday's GOP presidential debate on foreign policy, which was enough for me to say, “they don't have a clue." I'm used to bellicose, in a presidential campaign but Mitt Romney took it a step too far, when he defined his foreign policy as being " If you reelect President Obama, Iran will get a nuclear weapon, if you elect me, they will not." Mitt Romney's foreign policies advisers come from the George W. Bush administration, not one of them voted with former vice president Dick Cheney, when he wanted to bomb Iran. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney was not the only one pandering to the South Carolina crowd.

Last week the U.N.'s nuclear agency confirmed that Iran is going ahead with a bomb-making program. Iran still doesn't know how to arm a ballistic missile warhead. Rick Santorum suggested that we follow the Iraq and Syrian model by allowing Israel to take out the nuclear threat in Iran. Iraq and Syria had their crude nuclear systems above ground, whereas Iran's are below ground and scattered. Israel knows that it cannot effectively take out Iran's capability, unless they get to their scientists, centrifuges, and fuel. They can sabotage the system, but that's about it. I didn't hear a single candidate mention how we would persuade Russia to go along. This morning we learned that North Korea may have been helping Iran.

There were some funny moments, such as Governor Rick Perry's “zero based foreign policy." Under his plan, every country would start at $0.00 and would then have to make their case for their dollars. Foreign aid is a necessary component of our foreign policy, and it only amounts to less than 1% of the budget. Herman Cain stuck with his non responsive answers by saying that he would surround himself with competent people. You would think that by now, those competent people would have supplied him with some answers. Herman Cain could've use their help because he said that he was against torture but for water boarding, in the same answer. Not to be outdone, Michelle Bachmann said the ACLU was running our CIA and we're stuck using the Army field manual which is posted online, thereby letting the enemy know our methods of interrogation. When David Gregory of Meet the Press confronted her the next day about her statement saying, "Colin Powell and all our generals believe water boarding is torture" she said,” I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue, and others as well. "

Newt Gingrich has finally crawled up the “anyone but Romney" ladder and is flirting with second place in some polls. He came up with what he thought was brilliant, by saying," first of all, we need to be using maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, including, taking out their scientists. All of it covertly, all of it deniable." By definition, a covert operation is secretive. It is widely believed that the Obama administration is heavily involved in covert operations in Iran. Newt Gingrich also said that" we don't have a reliable intelligence service. We don't have an independent intelligence in places like Pakistan. We rely on our supposed friends for intelligence." Newt is not one to let facts get in the way of his talking points. We could not have killed as many al Qaida leaders in Pakistan without intelligence, including Osama bin Laden.

Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul had the most sensible views on foreign policies, but they didn't get that many questions. Mitt Romney made another "day one" promise of going to the WTO to bring action against China for currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property. Jon Huntsman correctly stated that the WTO does not have the authority to hear the allegations, nor they could they address the theft of U.S. intellectual property issue. The WTO only deals with treaties. I have to guess that Mitt Romney was pandering because he must know the functions of the WTO. Mr. Romney's claim to fame is his international business expertise.

In a moment of desperation, Michelle Bachmann said “If you look at China, they don't have food stamps. If you look at China, they're in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don't have the modern welfare state and China's growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they'd be gone." China is technically a communist country that suppresses its people. How does this woman have the gall to call Obama a socialist? She wants to repeal all the social programs, but she has benefited from government subsidies.

The Republican candidates are fortunate that this election will be about the economy and not about foreign policy, where President Obama has a distinct advantage. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee, which will essentially take healthcare off the table. The Supreme Court has decided to take up the issue in the spring. Mitt Romney is sure to change his mind since a new CNN poll shows support for an individual mandate.

In the new poll, support for the individual mandate — requiring people to get health insurance — has climbed to 52%, with 47% opposed. When the last survey was taken in June, that a majority of 54% opposed it, with 44% in support.

The Republicans have been saying that “uncertainty about taxes and government regulations" are the reasons companies are not hiring. According to banking data compiled by economic research firm Moebs Services, the uncertainty plaguing the American economy has nothing to do with government regulations or taxes on millionaires. It's an uncertainty driven squarely by consumers and small-businesses who are worried about their short-term financial prospects. And it's been going on since well before Obama took up residence in the White House.

In about 6 more weeks, the Iowa Primary will decide the faith of the pretenders and give hope to the survivors but if Romney wins Iowa, he will be the GOP nominee, unless something drastic happens at the GOP nominating convention