This discussion was led by Colin Hanna, the President of Let Freedom Ring and included The Honorable Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the CATO Institute and former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; Donald Devine, Second Vice Chairman of the American Conservative Union; James Carafano, Ph.D., the Deputy Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director of the Douglas And Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies of the Heritage Foundation; the Honorable Joseph A. Morris, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan.
The difference between the two administrations is a vast one, and not only due to the fact that Reagan was our president in the 80′s.
Obama’s foreign policy has proven to be a disaster, whereas Reagan held to his principles and was able to get things done.
Hanna pointed out correctly that Foreign Policy is the one area where Obama gets favorable polling.
Doug Bandow: What should a Conservative Foreign Policy look like?
- Reagan’s foreign policy showed strength; but limited government; those two things can conflict.
- The dangers we face today are not the same as during the cold war.
- Today we are focused on Nation Building instead of minmizing and/or eliminating threats, separating us from our real and fundamental interests.
- Syria is bad, but US interests are involved. Reagan’s mistake was Lebanon.
- We should not be in the business of Social Engineering overseas, it’s hard enough and problematic enough to do it at home.
- The election should not be about foreign policy.
- It should be about the economy: Economic freedom, recovery, and how to get on a path to prosperity.
- American Conservative movement has always diverged FP.
- We should never neglect readiness regardless how we disagree on FP and Defense.
- We’ve been living off Reagan’s rearmament for thirty years.
- Obama’s going to cut defense, we need to rearm and strengthen our forces.
- What are the principles of American FP?
- Unfortunately, Obama’s FP is not what our founders intended.
- FP ought to be what we started with, originally.
- The Universality of our principles is problematic.
- The United States never picked the Soviet Union or Islamic Extremists as our enemy. They picked us.
- We see ourselves being a “City on a Hill”, staying home, mind our own business, and influencing the world most powerfully by being an example. We think that by doing so we are offending no one. But it is precisely because we are a “City on a Hill”, precisely because our example is so attractive, particularly to the people whom tyrants feel entitled to rule, that they deem us their enemy.
- Our enemies hate us because we are who we are, free, successful, and attractive.
Obama is running with a policy of strength through weakness; unlike Reagan.
When Devine said the election should not be about foreign policy and should focus on the economy, Joseph A. Morris said:
- The last thing we need is a testosterone-fueled fight [between President Obama and Governor Romney] over who is the tougher guy.
- The American people are patriotic.
- On national security, they always want to support the President of the Unied States.
- And this President bagged Osama bin Laden. He probably doesn’t have a lot to prove.
- But if Mr. Obama tries to divert the eyes of the American people away from the economy and to, say, foreign policy, then the American people need to be reminded of his shameful “Apology Tour”.
- Nothing would speak louder that a string of five, ten, twenty videos of Mr. Obama, like a long-stemmed duck, bowing and scraping before foreign potentates.
- In the early decades of the life of our Republic, brave American diplomats risked life and limb to establish the proposition that representatives of the American people bow to no one.