March 8, 2016
John Kasich is surging in most polls, with one even showing him leading in Michigan [Michigan, March 4-5, American Research Group] Though this is most likely an outlier, with just about every other poll showing Trump in the lead, Kasich is unquestionably in the strongest position he’s been in throughout the entire campaign. And while every other candidate’s favorable ratings are plunging, Kasich’s are increasing as he tries to stay above the fray.
But while Kasich was interpreted as having a strong debate showing on Thursday, it’s hard to see how some his comments will help him in a general election, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Kasich not only came out for re-invading Iraq, but for interventions in Syria and Libya.
Kasich noted Gaddafi should not have been overthrown. But then he said:
Fortunately in Libya, there’s only a few cities on the coast, because most of Libya is a desert. The fact of the matter is, we absolutely have to be [involvled], and not just with special forces. I mean, that’s not going to work. Come on. You’ve got to go back to the invasion when we pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that, and we have to be in the air, and we, it should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you’ve got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq.[The Fox News GOP debate transcript, annotated, Washington Post, March 3, 2016]
Who exactly are our “Muslim Arab friends?” Everywhere we go, they seem to stick around just long enough to accept aid and weapons and then turn on us.
In contrast, Trump has appointed Jeff Sessions to be his chief national security advisor advisor. And the first thing Sessions did is pour cold water on any new crusade to remake the Middle East.
“We need to understand the limits of our ability to intervene successfully in other nations,” Sessions said in a statement. “It is time for a healthy dose of foreign policy realism. In the Middle East, this means forming partnerships based on shared interests, not merely overthrowing regimes in the dangerous attempt to plant democracies.”[Trump Taps Jeff Sessions As Chief National Security Advisor, by Jonah Shepp, New York, March 3, 2016]
In the current American political climate, vowing new wars and interventions that will kill thousands makes you a sensible “moderate,” supported by people of good will. In contrast, if you are a foreign policy realist and believe the best way to stop terrorism is by controlling immigration, you are a crazy lunatic.
Do GOP voters still believe this nonsense? We’ll find out in Michigan tomorrow.