The Incredible GOP Flying Circus
Posted by Heather Hurlburt
Last night in Florida, again we saw the GOP candidates for president advocate foreign policies that defy facts, Americans’ wallets and top security experts.
Fact defying: The candidates’ unchallenged misstatements included a US-Israeli joint exercise which Israel’s defense minister has said he, not the U.S., cancelled; misleading comparisons of the 2012 and 1917 US Navies that previously earned a “pants on fire” rating from nonpartisan Politifact; and an apparent lack of awareness that Fidel Castro has transferred many powers to his brother Raul and others, and experts generally don’t expect a mass exodus on his death.
Security-defying: Perhaps more surprising was the candidates’ hurry to call for using all means necessary to effect regime change in Cuba and – counter to advice from military and political leaders – in Iran; and to go against the advice of top commanders and stop talks with the Taliban.
If the rhetoric sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Each of the top three contenders’ camps is filled with architects of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld Iraq War approach – people like John Bolton and Dan Senor.
Lacking leadership: The test of a president is whether he will be a commander or a manager; a buck-stops-here decision-maker or a follower of ideologues. The candidates’ eagerness to “listen to the military” has drawn critiques from top military leaders like Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey who calls total deference to the military ‘offensive.’ Last night, though, the candidates took positions from war with Iran to expanded Navy shipbuilding that the military in fact does not support. With an incumbent who has taken the tough decisions to use force and to talk to our adversaries, Americans have the right to expect more about how an alternate path would work.