SANDERS: I did give a speech at Georgetown where I talked about democratic socialism and foreign policy. Maybe I shouldn't have combined the two in the same speech. While it is true that the secretary and I voted differently on the war in Iraq, what is important is that we learn the lesson of the war in Iraq. And that lesson is intrinsic to my foreign policy if elected president, is the United States cannot do it alone. We cannot be the policeman of the world. We are now spending more I believe than the next eight countries on defense. We have got to work in strong coalition with the major powers of the world and with those Muslim countries that are prepared to stand up and take on terrorism. So I would say that the key doctrine of the Sanders administration would be no, we cannot continue to do it alone; we need to work in coalition.
SANDERS: I concede that Secretary Clinton, who was secretary of State for four years, has more experience in foreign affairs. But experience is not the only point, judgment is. In terms of Iran and in terms of Saudi Arabia, of course they hate each other. That's no great secret. But John Kerry, who is I think doing a very good job, has tried to at least get these people in the room together because both of them are being threatened by ISIS.
CLINTON: Absolutely. We have to figure out how to deal with Iran as the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world. They are destabilizing governments in the region. They continue to support Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon against Israel. If we were to normalize relations right now, we would remove one of the biggest pieces of leverage we have to try to influence and change Iranian behaviour. The president doesn't think we should. I certainly don't think we should. I believe we have to take this step by step to try to reign in Iranian aggression.
SANDERS: I never said that. I think we should move forward as quickly as we can. They are a sponsor of terrorism around the world and we have to address that. A number of years ago, people were saying, "normal relationship with Cuba, what a bad and silly idea." Well, change has come.
SANDERS: No I don't. I worry about Putin and his military adventurism in the Crimea, but I worry more about an isolated country. Russia lives in the world. China lives in the world. North Korea is a strange country because it is so isolated, and I do feel that a nation with nuclear weapons, they have got to be dealt with.
CLINTON: The president decided to leave more troops than he had originally planned in Afghanistan. We have a cooperative government there. The Afghan army is fighting and taking heavy losses defending Afghan territory. I would have to make an evaluation based on the circumstances at the time I took office as to how much help they continue to need. It's not just the Taliban. We are seeing, fighters claiming to be affiliated with ISIS. We've got an arc of instability from North Africa to South Asia, and we have to pay close attention to it. We have to build coalitions, something I did to take on the Iranian nuclear program, and what I will do as president.
CLINTON: What Secretary Carter is looking at is the constant pressure that Russia's putting on our European allies. I think what Secretary Carter is seeing is that we got to get NATO back working for the common defense. We've got to do more to support our partners in NATO, and we have to send a clear message to Putin that this kind of belligerence will have to be responded to.
"What we need is for people to work together to address these issues. They are serious issues, and what's not helpful is political grandstanding and fear-mongering about the issues we face," Shaheen said.
Smith then pointed out, as did Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, that Shaheen voted with President Obama "99 percent" of the time. "So she deserves part of the blame," Smith said.
Smith said Obama doesn't have a foreign policy and argued that the US is making it harder on our soldiers in the Middle East because of the rules of engagement they operate under. "We cannot win there by tying the hands behind our backs of our military people and then sending them there," he said.
Smith also worried that the US would be "sucked into another war" and said before the government sends our soldiers into harm's way, "then have the guts to vote on a declaration of war."
Brown pointed to the murder of Foley in Syria and said he considers it a "direct threat" when someone "who lives right down the street" is killed by terrorists. "Absolutely we're being spread too thin," he said. "Our allies don't trust us, our foes don't fear us or respect us."
One area where the candidates differed is Rubens' statement that he believes global warming and climate change are man-made while Smith and Brown do not. "I can be independent in my thinking ...; because I don't take special-interest money," Rubens said.
SANTORUM: They're a theocracy. They're a theocracy that has deeply embedded beliefs that the afterlife is better than this life. President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said the principal virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran is martyrdom. So when your principal virtue is to die for Allah, then it's not a deterrent to have a nuclear threat if they would use a nuclear weapon. It is, in fact, an encouragement for them to use their nuclear weapon, and that's why there's a difference between the Soviet Union and China and others and Iran.
Q: What about Pakistan? They are in indifferent ally at best.
SANTORUM: They are not a theocracy. And we're very hopeful of maintaining a more secular state than is in place today. We've had some real serious problems with the Pakistani military. The reason is we have a president that's just very weak in that region of the world and is not respected.
PAUL: We're still running a foreign policy of Woodrow Wilson, trying to make the world safe for democracy. And, look, we have elections overseas, and we don't even accept the elections. Change in foreign policy is significant. But that's where a nation will come down if they keep doing this. We can't stay in 130 countries, get involved in nation building. We cannot have 900 bases overseas. We have to change policy.
HUNTSMAN: We have the most important relationship of the 21st Century with China. We've got to make it work. Of course we have challenges with them. But it's nonsense to think you can slap a tariff on China the first day that you're in office, as Gov. Romney would like to do. You've got to sit down and sort through the issues of trade. They're all interrelated. And to have a president who actually understands how that relationship works would serve the interest of the people in this country, from an economics standpoint and from a security standpoint.
ROMNEY: I'm sorry, Governor, you were, the last two years, implementing the policies of this administration in China.
HUNTSMAN: I think it's important to note, as they would say in China, that he doesn't quite understand this situation. What he is calling for would lead to a trade war. It makes for a nice applause line but it's far different from the reality in the US-China relationship.
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