By: Benjamin Weingarten
With the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination officially under way, I thought it apt to share a set of questions on foreign policy — an area in which it is vital that each candidate distinguish himself given the size and scope of the threats we face.
Below are 20 questions the next commander-in-chief will likely be grappling with, and should be able to answer cogently, consistently and comprehensively.
The responses to these queries would serve to elucidate the first principles of each of the potential nominees, and create a clear contrast in terms of their goals, strategies and tactics with respect to protecting and furthering America’s interests both at home and abroad.
1) Define your general foreign policy doctrine, and explain how it will differ from that of President George W. Bush.
2) How should America respond to the metastasization of Sunni and Shiite jihadists in the Middle East?
3) What do you believe would be the consequences of a hegemonic Iran in the region, and what steps might you take to counter her?
4) In the event of a nuclear arms race triggered by Iran, what if anything would you do as president?
5) Will you stand in the way if Israel acts unilaterally to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?
6) What is in America’s national interest with respect to Syria, and how do you intend to achieve it?
7) Do you believe it a sound policy to arm Muslim groups in the Middle East given the historically negative consequences for the West?
8) What is/are the key lesson(s) of the Iraq War?
9) What is/are the key lesson(s) of Libya?
10) Do you believe the Muslim Brotherhood and its violent and non-violent proxies both in the Middle East and the West pose a direct threat to the United States and her interests, and how will you counter the group’s growing influence?
11) What do you believe Vladimir Putin ultimately wants to achieve, and how do you intend to counter him?
12) Will you install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe?
13) Do you view Russia as a partner against jihadism, an opportunist playing both sides against the middle, or something else?
14) In a Western Europe seeing a dramatic increase in its jihadist population – which is being countered by the rise of anti-Islamization groups, many of which are favorably disposed to Russia — how should America respond?
15) Should Europe be required to fund NATO to a much more significant degree?
16) How will you counter the inroads made in South America by Russia, Iran and other American foes?
17) Is China an ally or an enemy, and do you believe she seeks peaceful co-existence with the US ultimately?
18) What measures would you take, if any, to counter China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, and stealing of intellectual property, among other actions against America and her allies?
19) Does the United States have a national security interest in undermining Communist nations such as China, Cuba and North Korea or should we take a live-and-let-live approach?
20) Should the United States withdraw troops from South Korea, Western Europe or any other nation/region?
Feature Image: AP Photo/The Elkhart Truth, Jon Garcia