Will 2016 be the year of the foreign policy presidential cycle?

It might be, if President Obama keeps up his march to mediocrity. The President’s time in the White House has been plagued with an apparent desire to make America look as weak (I’m sure he would say “humbled”) as possible. Challenges to the idea that the U.S. should be taking a backseat are met with borderline frenzied opposition. Blame for vulnerabilities on the international stage is quickly placed on other players. Questions about goals and direction are shuffled to the side in favor of domestic pop culture outreach.

If we know what’s good for us, we’ll encourage the brave fools throwing their hats in for the 2016 Republican primary to do something different—focus on foreign policy. Normally, this isn’t something we like our candidates to focus on because the knowledge base required to speak intelligently about international relations is significantly broader and more nuanced than that required for domestic issues.

Still it won’t be that hard to at the very least start a conversation about America’s role in the world. On a recent episode of the Hugh Hewitt show, former Vice President Dick Cheney managed it in a 30 second soundbite:


“I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing,” Cheney said when asked whether he thought the president is naïve or something else.

“I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had,” he said.

Boom. Done. The worst.

Fortunately, key Republican players have already begun to establish foreign policy credibility. It’s a high learning curve, but making their instruction as hands-on and public as possible will help our candidates distinguish themselves from the disastrous policies that Democrats in Washington have chosen to support.

That being said, it will become increasingly important for Republicans to not beat around the bush when it comes to criticizing foreign policy. General election voters may not understand the ins and outs of tribal feuds in the Middle East, but they do understand things like alliances, wars, and nuclear weapons.

Our greatest advantage will come at the expense of Obama’s most foolish, dangerous, and reckless decisions. It’s time to seize it.


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