Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: The No-Decline President

Pawlenty set to take on all comers regarding foreign policy

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Republican Party Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty auditioned a new mode for the primary election: the combative Tim Pawlenty.

In a speech on his foreign policy vision, Pawlenty took no prisoners. He relentlessly pursued the foreign policy missteps of President Barack Obama, and fellow Presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and John Huntsman.

“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment and withdrawal,” he declared. “It does not need a second one.”

Pawlenty excoriated Obama for not being prepared to support the famed "Arab spring" uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. (Only in the case of Libya did the US offer any significant amount of support.) He scathed Obama for failing to support an Iranian protest against a rigged Presidential election that could have brought a pro-democracy revolution (if that is, indeed, what the Arab Spring is) to the Middle East and Africa.

He teed off on fellow Republicans Paul, Huntsman, and Romney -- especially Romney. For a lack of commitment to the war in Afghanistan. Romney recently declared that the US has no business fighting another country's war of independence, seemingly forgetting that the United States and NATO invaded Afghanistan in a bid to dislodge a government that tolerated the operation of terrorist groups within its borders and eventually replace it with a stable, international-law-abiding, government.

That may not fit in with Ron Paul's "fiscally conservative at any cost" agenda, or Mitt Romney's "say anything to become President" agenda. It's what Pawlenty promised when he launched his bid to be President: the truth.

Pawlenty spoke strongly about the need for a US foreign policy that focuses on bringing democracy, and refuses to spare un-democratic US allies like Saudi Arabis is or Egypt was.

Ron Paul will inevitably confront Pawlenty with questions about how the costs of a strong interventionist will be controlled. He will be absolutely right to do so, and Pawlenty will need good answers.

But there is one thing the GOP can depend on: the Democrats are not having these kinds of debates as they roll toward the 2012 election. If the Republicans choose the right candidate, they can turn these debates into occupancy in the White House, and Tim Pawelenty -- whether he's President or not -- will have been key to it.

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