- State Department: ‘No American is proud’ of certain CIA tactics
- Drug-filled drone crash outside S.C. prison sends police on alert
- GOP to Obama: Take your ‘golf cap off’ and get down to coal country
- Hamas cleric tells Jews: ‘We will exterminate you’
- San Diego Costco, Target shoppers shocked by plane crash in parking lot
- George W. Bush penning biography of father
- Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels
- Spain evacuates staff from embassy in Libya
- Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola fears; 2 volunteers isolated
- House overwhelmingly approves $16 billion cash infusion for VA overhaul
Elections not likely to affect statecraft
Foreign policy set, Clinton says
Question of the Day
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that the midterm election results would not change the Obama administration’s policies abroad.
“The political winds blow back and forth, but I think you will find that President Obama is a pretty steady captain of the ship,” Mrs. Clinton said in Malaysia, the sixth stop on her 13-day Asia-Pacific tour. “No matter what happens in our election, you will see him … continuing to promote his agenda, which I think is right for America and right for the world.”
But back in the U.S., where a Republican takeover of the House seemed likely at press time, foreign policy analysts agreed that it would be a matter of how, not if, the election would change U.S. foreign policy.
“I don’t think we know where a lot of those who are likely to be elected stand on a lot of national security issues because national security issues have been completely absent from this election,” said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “There have been a lot of people who have wanted to ascribe their views to those who are about to be elected based on nothing more than hope.”
The electoral Rorschach test that the hawkish Ms. Pletka spoke of revolves around the “tea party.”
“When we have seen straws in the wind from those in the tea party talking about national security questions, they have taken a very robust position,” she said.
“It’s possible that the center of gravity of the new right will be 1930s-style Republican Party policy,” Ms. Pletka said. “But I don’t think we have any reason to believe that.”
Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies for the libertarian Cato Institute, said he thinks the tea party-influenced crop of Republican candidates presented a mixed bag.
“Some are very hawkish and basically have a small-government attitude here in the United States but a big-government attitude abroad,” he said. “And then I think you have others who disagree a bit and think that, if we’re going to cut down the size of government here in the United States, we need to also rethink our objectives abroad.”
Mr. Preble, a vocal nation-building opponent, added that he had been “encouraged by the level of candor [by Republican candidates] and the willingness to ask hard questions about U.S. foreign policy,” specifically about the war in Afghanistan.
Among Republican Senate hopefuls, he cited Kentucky’s Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, as well as Alaska’s Joe Miller, Colorado’s Ken Buck and Nevada’s Sharron Angle.
This year the House and the Senate passed supplementals to fund Mr. Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama repeatedly has said he intends to begin a drawdown of U.S. troops next summer, though he has left the scope vague.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is to provide a review of the troop situation to Congress in December.
Steven Clemons, founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and a skeptic of the Afghanistan effort, said that while he foresees “no real change in the December review,” he thinks it is only a matter of time before “skirmishes” erupt in both parties.
“I think when you get into March and April of next year, I think you’re going to see a lot more interservice rivalry between the Air Force and Navy and the Army, with the Air Force and Navy more skeptical of the Petraeus plan,” he said. “And I think you will find some Republicans line up behind them.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world