Anticipating Herman Cain's Foreign Policy
Posted by James Lamond
There has been great speculation and fun guessing games throughout the 2012 GOP primaries about what a Tea Party foreign policy would look like. Ideological consistency would, of course, lead to an isolationist-leaning approach. A movement claiming to have been founded out of concern over the growing role of the government and deficit issues would naturally oppose excessive defense spending, "global war on terror" policies and an overall less aggressive and expensive foreign policy. But as has been outlined before, with the possible exception of Ron Paul, that has not been the case.
Josh Rogin's peice today about Herman Cain, the current Tea Party favorite, and his foreign policy team is the latest in the trend. Cain's chief adviser, J.D. Gordon who previously worked on detainee affairs in the Bush administration and later at Frank Gaffney's neoconservative think tank, the Center for National Security, appears to be a defender of the very policies that a libertarian would likely reject.
Last year he wrote this defense of why Guantanamo Bay prison should remain open:
Ironically, the "mess" at Guantanamo that Mr. Obama cited was caused to a great extent by the damaging, yet disingenuous, characterizations continuously repeated by those who supported him on the campaign trail. Wildly exaggerated claims of detainee abuse, factual misrepresentations regarding conditions of confinement and interrogations (for instance, waterboarding was never used there) and false portrayals of most detainees as innocent goat herders sold for bounties helped create such an internationally controversial symbol.
As Mr. Cheney recounted in his American Enterprise Institute speech, the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 was an extraordinarily challenging time in which the George W. Bush administration made tough choices from the bunker that kept the country safe from a repeat attack on American soil.
Some of those tough choices proved difficult to sustain over the years. Such was the case of sending al Qaeda- and Taliban-linked detainees to Guantanamo and holding them under the international-law-of-war context similar to prisoners of war - though technically without the same rights, as they were unlawful enemy combatants, along with a lack of meaningful transparency that undermined public accountability.
I admittedly do not know the details of Mr. Gordon or the rest of the team's intellectual foundations. However this combined with Mitt Romney's getting the PNAC band back together, it appears neocons and hawks are not out for the count, despite the Tea Party rhetoric. I do look forward to Herman Cain's expected foreign policy address, and how much it looks like Mitt Romney's recent speech, which was clearly influenced by the PNAC crowd, verses George W. Bush's "humble" plans for foreign policy in 2000.