Paul, Cruz and Trump say U.S. should use power sparingly; Rubio, Bush and Christie argue for more-muscular approach
For years, Republican presidential contenders debated foreign policy largely within a narrow band of how, rather than whether to deploy American military power overseas.
A number of 2016 GOP contenders have ditched a foreign-policy playbook that has guided the party for years, advocating a narrower use of military force rather than the muscular use of American power and democracy building.
The rhetoric on the campaign trail shows a party grappling with an anti-interventionism mood fanned by the George W. Bush administration’s operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his championing of democratic values and confronting autocratic regimes.
On one end of the spectrum lies Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and businessman Donald Trump, who to varying degrees say the U.S. should use its military might narrowly, focused on U.S. interests rather than human rights and democracy promotion. On the other are Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who argue for a more muscular projection of military power and the advancement of democratic values.
Complicating matters is Islamic State and its role in terrorist attacks abroad. Both GOP wings have used its rise to justify their prior positions.
... Mr. Cruz’s campaign said he advocates targeted use of American power. “Cruz is trying to bring our foreign policy back to conservative principles,” said Victoria Coates, Mr. Cruz’s senior adviser for foreign policy.
“Cruz is clearly trying to draw a distinction between himself and what you might call Republican mainstream foreign policy,” said Elliott Abrams, a former George W. Bush and Reagan administration official who isn’t backing any of the candidates but has advised several. “His formula is to say we’re going to need to use American power…and we need to use it only to defend American interests, not to promote democracy and human rights and not for nation-building.” ...Read the full story HERE.
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