- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2019

Former Colorado Gov. and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper on Monday outlined details of the foreign policy he would pursue in the White House, saying he would not retreat from the world stage if elected president and that an isolated America is a weak America.

Mr. Hickenlooper criticized President Trump for his policies in areas like the Middle East and Russia, but also chided some in his own party for calling for the U.S. to pull back from the global stage.

“Some Democrats are recoiling from past American foreign policy mistakes by looking to withdraw from our global leadership role,” he said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “I refuse to join that retreat.”

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Mr. Hickenlooper emphasized the importance of long-running partnerships, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said he would push to rejoin the Paris climate accords if elected president, and rejected the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement.

He said it would be a “tragic and costly mistake” to wind down the U.S. military presence in the Middle East if it meant the return of groups like the Islamic State terrorist group.

“I will wind down our involvement in these conflicts deliberately but not prematurely, always based on conditions, and only in close consultation with America’s military leadership and all the countries who have borne these difficult and deadly battles by our side,” he said.

He also said he would create a new position — director of national cybersecurity — in order to protect against future cyberattacks, and that he wants to reconnect national security to economic security.

He criticized politicians in both parties for pushing to “restrict” U.S trading opportunities.

“Mr. Trump launched tariff wars,” he said. “Protectionists on the left seek to block new trade agreements. This belligerence toward trade is self-destructive.”

Unlike some on the left, Mr. Hickenlooper also said he has no desire to “slash” the U.S. military but allowed that there is room to cut out “waste.”

He also said he wanted to prioritize supporting human rights.

“Some on the left and right today shy away from supporting democracy and human rights abroad — they believe other major powers should have spheres of influence nearby areas where they can impose their will, deny basic rights, and suppress the natural desire for self-rule,” he said. “I could not disagree more.”

He said he wants to marshal “all our powers” to “protect our people and our interests abroad.”

“Diplomacy, alliances, military, intelligence, cyber, climate, trade, democracy, human rights — all of it,” he said. “That is what full security means and that is the national security policy I will bring to the Oval Office.”

Thus far, Mr. Hickenlooper has failed to break through in a big way in polling on the 2020 Democratic presidential field.

He could use foreign policy to try to stand out from a crowded field in a race where much of the focus has been on domestic priorities like health care, though other candidates like Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts have also emphasized the issue in their respective campaigns.

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