Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attacked what he described as “the Obama-Clinton foreign policy” in a wide-ranging speech on Tuesday.
“It’s almost as if the whole world is on fire right now,” Cruz said at a Washington event hosted by Concerned Veterans for America. “Leading from behind doesn’t work.”
As an alternative, Cruz presented his own three-part plan for “reasserting American leadership in the world.” The first step, Cruz said, was making sure the US government again becomes a voice for freedom.
“We should be a clarion voice for freedom. Never underestimate the power of the bully pulpit of America,” Cruz said, citing former President Ronald Reagan’s speech urging the Soviet Union to tear down the Berlin Wall. “One of the most striking and inexplicable aspects of the last six years is the almost complete absence of American leadership speaking out for freedom.”
The second step of the Cruz foreign policy plan is presenting a clear vision for the deployment of US military force. Cruz accused Obama and Hillary Clinton — the president’s former secretary of state and likely Democratic front-runner in 2016 — of being focused on press releases, photo-ops, and “international norms” rather than national security.
“The second critical element is resolutely defending US national security. The singular failure of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has been the failure to focus on the vital national security interests of the United States,” Cruz said. “If and when we have to [use force], it should be with a clear, stated objective up front. We should go in with overwhelming force and we should get the heck out. It is not the job of our military to produce democratic utopias across the world.”
Throughout the speech, Cruz took Obama to task for having a lackluster approach to a whole host of issues including; nuclear negotiations with Iran, the military operations against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), and backing democratic activists in despotic regimes. He also critiqued Obama’s handling of his own administration. Cruz noted Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel just announced his resignation — the third such departure of Obama’s last six years in office.
“What a failure of leadership at a time the world is on fire,” said Cruz. “It seems what the administration is looking for is a defence secretary who will follow the orders of a political White House.”