Well, it looks like Rand Paul will have a fight on his hands to earn the Republican presidential nomination. An adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told National Journal, “At this point it’s 90/10 he’s in. And honestly, 90 is lowballing it.”
Cruz’s camp expects an end-of-the-year announcement from the senator. Reportedly, his strategy is to focus his campaign on foreign policy, something for which Paul has come up against a lot of criticism:
Cruz’s foreign policy approach starts with soft power—pushing tougher sanctions on Iran and Russia, for instance, and using fierce rhetoric to undermine the legitimacy of unfriendly governments. Cruz, whose office features an enormous painting of Ronald Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate, says rhetoric should be paramount in American foreign policy. “It’s a critical responsibility of the president of the United States to speak out as a clarion voice for freedom,” Cruz said.
As for the conditions for use of force, Cruz appears ready to deploy the U.S. military, but not in a nation-building or occupation capacity, a position his team likely calculates as a poll winner, considering Americans’ dissatisfaction with unsuccessful efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“If and when military action is called for, it should be A) with a clearly defined military objective, B) executed with overwhelming force, and C) when we’re done we should get the heck out,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the job of our military to engage in nation-building. It is the job of our military to protect America and to hunt down and kill those who would threaten to murder Americans. It is not the job of our military to occupy countries across the globe and try to turn them into democratic utopias.”
While Cruz and Paul may differ on their opinions of the use of sanctions, they both agree that the U.S. should not become forcefully involved in foreign affairs unless absolutely necessary, and not without first defining a clear plan. No matter who gets the GOP nod in 2016, they will be sure to distance themselves from Obama’s often careless and haphazard foreign policy.