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Tim Pawlenty on Foreign Policy

Republican MN Governor


Sanctions for Iran nukes; regime change for Syria

Q: You say we have to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. You also recently said that Syrian President Assad must go. Would you rely on the same idea of international sanctions that Pres. Obama has been using?

A: We need to use a increasing number of tools and measures. As to Iran, I believe we should undertake every plausible step to deny their intentions and their plans to get a nuclear weapon. That will include sanctions. That will include some of the good work that you saw with the computer virus. But in the end, we should take every plausible step to deny that intention. As to Syria, Bashar al-Assad is mowing down and killing his people, up to 2,000 right now. Pres. Obama will not say he should go. Until recently, he and Hillary Clinton suggested that Bashar Assad was a reformer. He's not a reformer; he's a killer. This is another example of naive foreign policy by this president.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Never subordinate US decisions to UN, as Obama did in Libya

Q: You faulted Obama for saying US policy is to depose Libyan dictator Gadhafi, but failing to send Special Forces to do the job.

A: In Libya, Obama made a decision to subordinate our decision-making to the United Nations. I don't agree with that. If he says Gadhafi must go he needs to maintain the options to make Gadhafi go and he didn't do that.

Q: Wouldn't your policy result in either chaos or prolonged US involvement?

A: Gadhafi is someone who has American blood on his hands. I called for the establishment or at least the threat of the no-fly zone one of the first national voices to do so on March 7th. Obama waited for the United Nations to pass a resolution. Then he made the mistake of saying, by the way, American policy is to make Gadhafi go. Now he has his hands tied by the United Nations, subordinated our decision-making options to that pathetic organization in many respects. I would never put the United States in that position. If the president says Gadhafi must go, he must go.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in South Carolina , May 5, 2011

America's rightful place is not lagging behind China

The policies of the left encroach every day on the very freedom that has made this country great. We will never, ever, ever stop fighting for our freedom.

If we bend, if we compromise, on this bedrock issue we are in danger of losing our edge. But there's a real concern that we're losing our edge already. Did you know that a recent survey asked Americans which country they thought would be the dominant country in the world in just twenty years? Guess what the answer was? China!

You know wha I say to that: No way! No how! Not the America we know. Not the America we love! America's rightful place is not lagging behind China. America's place is leading the world!

My friends, we need to restore American confidence, American optimism, and America's hope for the future. We need to restore the American Dream by restoring American common sense.

Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

More leverage, not more conversation, against Iran's nukes

In 2008, then-Sen. Obama led people to believe that if he could only TALK to Iran, things would get better; if we could only TALK to North Korea, the situation would improve. The premise underneath his comments was a belief that between his personality & his communication skills, major problems could be negotiated away through diplomacy. Of course there's a role for diplomacy, but just how large that role is depends on the type of negotiation and who's on the other side of the table. Talking sometimes works. But more often there are difficult philosophical gaps underneath the hood that discussion alone can't resolve. While Pres. Obama wants to talk, Iran has played us like a fiddle. The UN sanctions against Iran's nuclear ambitions are watered down and do not represent sufficient leverage to change Iranian behavior. Iran is biding its time. It's not that we don't understand their intentions. We do, and they are thumbing their noses at us. More leverage, not more conversation, is what's needed most.
Source: Courage to Stand, by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, p.168 , Jan 11, 2011

2009 Tehran protests: Obama demoralized them with silence

Pres. Obama's appeasement of Iran's ayatollahs cannot alter the fact of America's greatness. And even if our President fails to understand America's role in the world, our people do not. The American people know we're still at war, and why, and against whom. They know the difference between the peaceful religion of Islam and radical Islam. They know who our friends are, even in countries ruled by hostile regimes. When democratic protesters stand up in Tehran, Americans know which side they're on. Regrettably, that formulation has been reversed by Pres. Obama. One example in particular stands out. During the 2009 demonstrations in Tehran against the murderous Ahmadinejad regime, Obama's voice was nowhere to be found--a silence so demoralizing that demonstrators held up signs in English asking whether Obama was with them or with Ahmadinejad. The leader of the US should NEVER leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering whether America stands.
Source: Courage to Stand, by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, p.277-278 , Jan 11, 2011

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