Rick Perry, the “hawk internationalist” | The Cable
“He will distinguish himself from other Republicans as a hawk internationalist, embracing American exceptionalism and the unique role we must play in confronting the many threats we face,” one foreign policy advisor with knowledge of Perry’s thinking told The Cable. “He has no sympathy for the neo-isolationist impulses emanating from some quarters of the Republican Party.”
If that sounds like the foreign policy stance of Tim Pawlenty, that’s because it is. Pawlenty also supports an unapologetic and assertive foreign policy that rejects calls for retrenchment. But Perry is also planning to add his record on international trade to that set of ideas.
“He is a free market, free investment, free trade governor who has had tremendous success as governor of Texas attracting investment into Texas from all over the world,” the foreign policy hand said, pointing out that Perry has traveled to China, Mexico, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, France, and Sweden as governor.
As for Middle East politics, during his 2009 race against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Perry told a group of journalists, “My faith requires me to support Israel.” He also said that the Obama administration is “out of tune with America” on the question of Israel.
Perry also talked about his time working with the Israel Defense Forces when he was in the Air Force. In August 2009, he traveled to Israel to receive the “Defender of Jerusalem Award.”
Back in 2009, Perry also was forced to defend his decision to entice Citgo, Venezuela’s state-controlled oil firm, to relocate its U.S. headquarters from Oklahoma to Texas. “Dictators come and dictators go,” Perry said at the time, but “Citgo will be around long after Chavez is gone.”
As FP’s Passport blog pointed out, Perry recently disparaged President Barack Obama‘s speech on the Middle East, called for higher defense budgets, warned about the rise of China, criticized the effort to reset relations with Russia, and said that North Korea and Iran represent “an imminent threat with their nuclear ambitions.”
For Republicans outside the Perryverse, his approach to foreign policy and national security appear to be a natural extension of his personality: aggressive, unapologetic, and instinctive… all of the traits Republicans see as lacking in the Obama’s foreign policy.
“He’s a cowboy,” said Michael Goldfarb, former senior staffer on John McCain‘s presidential campaign. “You have to assume he’d shoot first and ask questions later — which would be nice after four years of a leading from behind, too little too late foreign policy.”