Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) looks back at the 2012 election and says, “We were right.”
Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee alongside presidential nominee Mitt Romney, thinks the pair was right about the Obama adminstration’s foreign policy leading to the kinds of crises popping up in the Middle East with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
He thinks Romney was right when he declared Russia the U.S.’s greatest geopolitical foe, as evidenced by the current crisis in Ukraine.
“Uh, yes. We did predict these problems in the campaign. And that’s because, if America chooses not to lead, if America chooses to withdraw and lose its standing in the world, then bad things are going to happen,” Ryan said in an interview with Business Insider on Saturday.
“The vacuum is created and is going to be filled by those who do not share our interests. And that, ultimately, makes America less prosperous and less secure. And I think that is why we’re seeing the foreign policy crises pop up around the world.”
It is clear that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is reactionary, which Ryan said is one of the main problems with its strategy.
Ryan cited the events of last Friday as an example. One minute, the White House was warning of the threat posed by ISIS to the broader Middle East and said it was considering expanding the campaign against ISIS to Syria. The next, it was warning Russia of additional “costs” after it said Russia had painted military vehicles to look like civilian trucks and enter into Ukraine.
Ryan said he favours a comprehensive strategy to deal with threats like ISIS. He said the goal should not be to simply “contain them,” as the administration has said, but rather to “finish them off.” Containing a group that already controls a vast amount of territory won’t stop the fundamental problem.
“The problem is, they’re reacting always. They’re reacting on a day-by-day basis and making decisions without an overall fundamental policy, strategy, or philosophy,” Ryan said. “That is dangerous.”
Ryan went on to bring up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has recently begun to distance herself from the administration’s foreign policy as she mulls a potential 2016 presidential bid.
“I mean, even Hillary Clinton has said they don’t have organising principles,” Ryan said. “So when you act without an organising principle, without a grand strategy on foreign policy, this sort of thing happens. And it seems to me that they’re making it up as they go.”
Ryan was quick to add that though he’s taken notice of Clinton’s move away from the administration’s foreign policy, she can’t hide from a strategy she guided for more than four years.
In doing so, Ryan — who is considering a run for the White House himself — previewed a potential attack line against Clinton in 2016.
“She was the architect of their foreign policy. And I think she’s going to have a hard time,” Ryan said. “A Clinton presidency is an Obama third term. And it’s very difficult for them to get away from it.”
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