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Topics in the News: Arab Spring


Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Sep 22, 2013
Benghazi: Figure out what happened to prevent repeating

The NATO intervention in Libya was the most important foreign intervention of her tenure, and a seemingly successful one, but the lack of security in Benghazi and the confusion over how the incident occurred set off a heated Republican attack on Clinton's handling of the disaster, and she was roasted on the cable-news spit for weeks. In January, she took responsibility for the deaths of the four Americans before Congress--while also questioning her inquisition, snapping at a Republican congressman, "What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."

Benghazi will be the go-to bludgeon for Republicans if and when Clinton tries using her experience at State to run for president. Republicans are liable to use Benghazi as a wedge to pry back her stately exterior, goading her into an outburst, once again revealing the polarizing figure who saw vast right-wing conspiracies.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: New York Magazine interview, "Hillary in Midair"

Peter King on Foreign Policy : Sep 9, 2013
No military aid to Egypt until freedom is re-established

The United States agreed to supply military equipment to Egypt, including F-16 jets, in 2009 when former President Hosni Mubarak was in power. Given the radical and inconsistent policies of Egyptian President Morsi, I have strong concerns over providing such military assistance. That is why I supported legislation to restrict military aid until the Obama Administration certified that Egypt's government was protecting freedom of expression, religion and due process of law. Unfortunately, the Administration chose to waive those requirements.

This denial of reality by the Administration must stop. To continue to receive American aid, Egypt must, at a minimum, adhere to its peace agreement with Israel and address the ongoing security situation in the Sinai.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Congressional website, peteking.house.gov, "Issues"

Peter King on War & Peace : Sep 9, 2013
Steadfastly support Israeli defense against Syria

As unrest continues to rock the Middle East, it is more important than ever that the United States steadfastly support the Jewish State's right to defend itself. The volatility in Syria presents substantial security risks to Israel and the world, particularly in terms of the power vacuum and the country's weapons stockpiles. On the Egyptian border, there is instability in the Sinai and a stream of weapons smuggling into Gaza. Moreover, President Morsi has made disgusting comments about Jews. I will remain vigilant in monitoring the various regime changes in the Middle East and their impact on Israel.
Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Congressional website, peteking.house.gov, "Issues"

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
2012: Red line on use of chemical weapons by Syria

President Obama declared that Syria's use of chemical weapons would cross a red line: "We have been very clear...that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said on Aug. 20, 2012.

Few disagreed with Obama's red line back then. Indeed, during the V.P. debate, Paul Ryan said that the GOP ticket agreed with Obama's red line on Syria's use of chemical weapons. Here's the exchange:

Q: What happens if Assad does not fall?

A: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He'll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this.

Q: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

A: We agree with the same red line they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria."

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Mark Murray on NBC News

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
Don't allow Syria to give WMD to terrorists

Looking back to 2012 is instructive: There was little disagreement--from Democrats or Republicans--about the potential consequences of Syria's use of chemical weapons.˙Obama declared: "We have been very clear...that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," on Aug. 20, 2012.

On Aug. 24, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that the US could send troops into Syria to secure lose chemical weapons: "I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies."

When asked about the threat that Syria's chemical weapons posed, Romney added: "There's a wide array of potential threats, but clearly the concern would be that some terrorist group would receive the capacity to carry out a mass destruction event."

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Mark Murray on NBC News

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Syria chemical attack violates essential international norm

Joe Biden said there is "no doubt" that Bashar al-Assad's regime is responsible for the chemical weapons attack earlier this month on Syrian civilians. "There is no doubt that an essential international norm has been violated--violated. Chemical weapons have been used," the vice president told the American Legion National Convention. "And there is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime."

"We know that the Syrian regime are the only ones who have the weapons--have used chemical weapons multiple times in the past, have the means of delivering those weapons, have been determined to wipe out exactly the places that were attacked by chemical weapons," he continued. "And instead of allowing U.N. inspectors immediate access, the government has repeatedly shelled the sites of the attack and blocked the investigation for five days."

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Obama rejected her 2012 plan to arm the Syrian rebels

Although Hillary Clinton hasn't weighed in on possible military intervention in the days since the latest chemical attack in Syria, she discussed the conflict in Syria in January, when asked what it would take for "America to intervene."

Clinton answered that while she thinks "we have been very actively involved," there needed to be a "credible opposition coalition," saying, "You cannot even attempt a political solution if you don't have a recognized force to counter the Assad regime."

"I think I've done what was possible to do over the last two years in trying to create or help stand up an opposition that was credible and could be an interlocutor in any kind of political negotiation," Clinton said.

In February it was revealed that the president rebuffed a plan last summer by Clinton, the CIA Director & Defense Secretary to arm the Syrian rebels.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Equip and train non-jihadist Syrians to topple Assad

Rubio released a statement noting that the nation has "significant national interests at stake in the conflict in Syria" and accused the president of "leading from behind."

Over two years ago, Rubio said, he urged the U.S. to "identify non-jihadist groups in Syria and help train and equip them so that they could not only topple Assad, but also be the best organized, trained and armed group on the ground in a post-Assad Syria." But failure to act means that "we are now left with no good options."

"Military action, taken simply to save face, is not a wise use of force," Rubio said. "My advice is to either lay out a comprehensive plan using all of the tools at our disposal that stands a reasonable chance of allowing the moderate opposition to remove Assad and replace him with a stable secular government. Or, at this point, simply focus our resources on helping our allies in the region protect themselves from the threat they and we will increasingly face from an unstable Syria."

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

John Bolton on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Military force in Syria is counterproductive

Bolton said that while the civil war in Syria does involve American national security interests, action at this stage--more than two years into the bloody conflict--would be counterproductive. "It is a mess largely of the president's own creation," Bolton charged. "I think our credibility has been damaged, I think the president's credibility has been. But feckless use of military force would damage the country's credibility more."

Bolton said the Syrian opposition contains factions that are deeply hostile to the U.S., and there's no indication that propping them up would be any better for American interests. The U.S. would be better off focusing on threats emanating from Iran, he said. "If you use massive military force against Assad, then that will tip the balance, which I think would be a mistake," Bolton said, acknowledging that the situation is complicated. "If you use minimal force, you won't make the point about deterrence."

Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: Politico.com "Bush vets split"

John Bolton on Foreign Policy : Aug 21, 2013
Help Egyptian Army over Muslim Brotherhood, even if elected

Bolton said it's time for the US to step up to the plate and choose sides in the Egyptian conflict--and that side should be the military. "Like it or not," he said, the US ought to back Egypt's government and military, not the Muslim Brotherhood or ousted Pres. Mohammed Morsi, despite the fact that US supported Morsi a year ago and helped his elected rise to power.

But Bolton said his view is the only one that works for the long term. "If the Muslim Brotherhood wins, say good-bye to the peace treaty with Israel and stability in Sinai," Bolton said. "Egypt has not yet succumbed to civil war, as Syria has, but it's getting close."

Bolton wrote: "The Muslim Brotherhood is not a normal political party as Westerners understand that term. It is an armed ideology--a militia that fires on its opponents and burns down churches. The Brotherhood, therefore, shares full blame for the continuing carnage. Should it ever regain power, whether through free elections or otherwise, it will never let go."

Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: Cheryl K. Chumley in the Washington Times

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jun 16, 2013
Syria: arm rebels last year; now just work with some

Q: You pushed for a long time for the US to arm the rebels. Is this going to make a difference?

RUBIO: In foreign policy, timing matters. These were options for us a year and a half ago, before this became this chaotic. It behooved us to identify whether there were any elements there within Syria fighting against Assad that we could work with, reasonable people that wouldn't carry out human rights violations, and could be part of building a new Syria. We failed to do that. So now our options are quite limited. Now the strongest groups fighting against Assad, unfortunately, are al Qaeda-linked elements.

Q: So here, now, what would President Rubio do? Would you commit US forces to a no-fly zone?

RUBIO: If I was in charge of this issue, we never would have gotten to this point. That being said, I think we need to continue to search for elements on the ground that we can work with, so that if & when Assad falls, they will manage a future, hopefully democratic Syria, and peaceful Syria.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2013
Syria's Assad crossed "red line" by using chemical weapons

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a Washington audience Saturday that the U.S. should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Palin argued that the U.S. should not intervene in any Middle East conflict as long as President Obama remains in office.

"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.

This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Erik Wasson on TheHill.com

Sarah Palin on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2013
No military intervention in Syria: 'Let Allah sort it out'

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a Washington audience Saturday that the U.S. should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Palin argued that the U.S. should not intervene in any Middle East conflict as long as President Obama remains in office.

"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.

This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Erik Wasson on TheHill.com

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : May 9, 2013
Iraq's lesson: Be cautious on declaring Syrian WMDs

Q: Sen. John McCain has criticized the administration's foreign policy for not being tough enough, for issuing veiled threats, at best, and being overly cautious. Now that we know Syria is using chemical weapons on its own people, how does that change the administration's approach?

A: I disagree with the basic premise. When we came into office, there were two wars raging: one without any sense of how to end it and the other without any sense of how to manage it; Al Qaeda was on the ascendancy; all of that has changed. But with regard to Syria: we don't want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying "weapons of mass destruction." We know that there have been traces found of what are probably chemical weapons. The president is likely to use a proportional response in terms of meaningful action [inclusive internationally and within Syria]. The one lesson we learned from Iraq and the last administration is, in managing the affairs in Iraq, they destroyed every institution.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Douglas Brinkley in Rolling Stone Magazine

Peter King on War & Peace : May 5, 2013
Assad is evil, but arming rebels brings another dictator

Q: Is it time for the US to directly arm the Syrian rebels?

KING: I have real concerns. The reason I say that is that so much time has gone by, and unfortunately, to a large extent, al Qaeda elements have a lot of control within the rebel movements. My concern is that, by arming the rebels, we could be strengthening al Qaeda. So, whatever arming we do--and obviously, Assad is evil, and everyone is interested that he go--but if we are going to arm the rebels, we have to make sure that those arms are not going to end up in the possession of al Qaeda supporters nor at the end game is al Qaeda going to be in a position to take over this movement.

Q: That's a pretty high bar, right? I mean, we put weapons into countries a lot and don't know where they're going to end up.

KING: Until we have a better understanding of where the weapons will be going, I'm very concerned that we're just replacing one terrible dictator with a terrible ideological movement, which is aimed at our destruction.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : Mar 4, 2013
Arab Spring changed Mideast; commitment to Israel unchanged

The Arab Spring, at once full of both hope and uncertainty, has required Israel--and the United States--to reassess old and settled relationships. Iran's dangerous nuclear weapons program, and its continued support of terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah and Hamas, not only endanger Israel, but endanger the world.

All these pressures put enormous pressure on the State of Israel. We understand that. And we especially understand that if we make a mistake, it's not a threat to our existence. But if Israel makes a mistake, it could be a threat to its very existence. And that's why, from the moment the President took office, he has acted swiftly and decisively to make clear to the whole world and to Israel that even as circumstances have changed, one thing has not: our deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel. That has not changed. That will not change as long as I and he are President and Vice President. It's in our naked self-interest, beyond the moral imperative.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Mar 4, 2013
Syria's Assad must go, but carefully vet who gets aid

The US and Israel have a shared interest in Syria. Assad has shown his father's disregard for human life and dignity, engaging in brutal murder of his own citizens. Our position on that tragedy could not be clearer: Assad must go. But we are not signing up for one murderous gang replacing another in Damascus.

That's why our focus is on supporting a legitimate opposition not only committed to a peaceful Syria but to a peaceful region. We're carefully vetting those to whom we provide assistance. That's why, while putting relentless pressure on Assad and sanctioning the pro-regime, Iranian-backed militia, we've also designated al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.

And because we recognize the great danger Assad's chemical and biological arsenals pose to Israel and the US, to the whole world, we've set a clear red line against the use of the transfer of the those weapons. And we will work together to prevent this conflict and these horrific weapons from threatening Israel's security.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Feb 4, 2013
Assad is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people; he must go

I'll be meeting with the leaders of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. Pres. Obama and I and nearly all of our partners and allies are convinced that President Assad, a tyrant, hell-bent on clinging to power, is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people and he must go.

We can all agree on the increasingly desperate plight of the Syrian people and the responsibility of the international community to address that plight. Just this week the international community came together to pledge $1.5 billion for humanitarian support for the Syrian people and refugees fleeing the violence. As part of that effort, President Obama announced that we would be contributing $155 million.

In Libya, NATO acted quickly, effectively and decisively. And now we are working together to support Libya in building effective institutions of governance. We've joined forces in response to the unprecedented promise & unresolved turmoil of the Arab Spring--from Tunis to Tripoli to Sana'a--and it's going to be required to continue.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jan 29, 2013
Work toward Arab Spring not being hijacked by extremists

Q: What about the Arab Spring?

A: I think that post the Arab revolutions that took place in Egypt and Libya and Tunisia, and elsewhere in the region, there was always going to be a period of adjustment. What we have to work for, along with the international community, is not to see these revolutions hijacked by extremists, not to see the return of dictatorial rule. It's hard going from decades under one party or one man rule, as somebody said, "waking up from a political coma and understanding democracy."

Q: Is President Morsi with us or not? He's said that the Holocaust didn't exist.

A: You have to look at the fact that the people now in power in these countries have never been in government, never had a chance to really learn how to run agencies or to make decisions. We don't condone what a lot of these leaders are doing, or failing to do. But we also know how important it is that we try to avoid even more extreme elements taking control of territory, even threatening a regime.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren"

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 29, 2013
Congress' tight security money partly caused Benghazi

Q: On Benghazi: Are we moving to secure all our consulates and embassies for our diplomats overseas?

A: The accountability review board made a set of recommendations. We are embracing and implementing all of them. Now, it's not all a question of money. You have to have the right people making the right decisions. But money is a factor. And ever since the Bush administration, our requests for security monies from Congress have not been met. So you've had to make priority decisions. I am determined to leave the State Department safer and stronger.

Q: Do we go back to Benghazi?

A: This was the heart of the Libyan revolution. We knew that there were dangerous people in and around Benghazi. So there were very important reasons why we were there, not just the State Department, but other government agencies. Whether or when we go back will depend upon the security situation. But I hasten to add that I have dangerous posts all over the world. We have people in incredibly high-threat environments.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren"

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Benghazi was a tragedy, but we get it right 99% of the time

Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies. Of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right 99% of the time. That's why, like my predecessors, I trust them with my life.

Let's also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the Review Boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats. And it's what we are doing again now. I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, & more secure

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Benghazi Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Benghazi was a tragedy but we get security right 99% of time

The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of four Americans are part of a broader strategic challenge to the U.S. and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge, share what we've learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to not only honor our fallen colleagues, but continue to champion America's interest and values.

Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies for our department, for other agencies, and for America. Since 1977, 65 American diplomatic personnel have been killed by terrorists.

The list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security officials get it right more than 99% of the time against difficult odds around the world. That's why, like my predecessors, I literally trust them with my life.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Testimony at Senate Hearing on 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
We responded to Benghazi immediately, and for the long run

Let me share some of the lessons we learned [about Benghazi]. Let's start on the night of Sept. 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department, stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. No delays in decision making, no denials of support from Washington or from our military. The Review Board said the response saved American lives in real time and it did.

The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound. I vowed to bring them to justice, and I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.

It's also important to recall that in that same period, we were seeing violent attacks in our embassies, as well as large protests outside many other posts where our thousands of our diplomats serve. So, I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world with particularly scrutiny for high threat posts.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Testimony at Senate Hearing on 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Worked with Libya before Benghazi, but they had no capacity

Sen. RUBIO: Were there any interagency meetings--before this attack--with regard to deteriorating security situation in Libya?

CLINTON: I had no knowledge of specific security requests. With regard to the situation in Libya, there were a number of meetings about this transition to elections.

RUBIO: At the Oct. 2011 & March 2012 meetings, did this issue come up with regards to the inability of the Libyan government to protect our diplomatic institutions?

CLINTON: We talked a great deal about th deteriorating threat environment in Libya.

RUBIO: Was there a specific conversation with regards to the inability of Libya to meet their obligations to provide security?

CLINTON: Oh, absolutely--a constant conversation. And what I found with the Libyans was willingness, but not capacity.

RUBIO: Before the attack, what had we done to help them build their security capacity?

CLINTON: Well, there's a long list, filled with training, with equipment, with planning that they had not done before.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Testimony at Senate Hearing on 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack

Jeb Bush on Homeland Security : Oct 28, 2012
Conflicting accounts of Benghazi emboldens terrorists

Jeb Bush said that the administration's conflicting accounts of the tragic murders of four Americans in the Benghazi terrorist attack has "emboldened" America's enemies and puts the United States "in a more perilous position." Bush added that the Obama administration's handling of the tragedy "has created a cloud that doesn't serve us well."

Bush indicated the administration's mixed messaging makes America look weak. "When the world sees us as uncertain and not surefooted, they act," he said. "Our friends act by pulling away and nervously kind of not being assured that the United States is there to support them. And our enemies are emboldened. "So the tragedy of this is that four people lost their lives; great public servants. And then, because of the politics of this, the Obama administration sent such a confusing signal out that they did themselves no good. And they've put the United States in a more perilous position," he added.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: David Patten and Kathleen Walter, Newsmax TV

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
Libyans marching FOR America means we've been successful

Q: Your opinion on the Benghazi attack?

ROMNEY: With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation. But instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events.

OBAMA: With respect to Libya, [I said that] we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice. But I think it's important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to--without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq--liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans. And as a consequence, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying, "America's our friend. We stand with them." Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
I stand by "time for Mubarak to go" in Egyptian Revolution

Q: During the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go. Some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. Do you have any regrets about that?

OBAMA: No, I don't because I think that America has to stand with democracy. But now that you have a democratically elected government in Egypt, they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities--and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure they're doing that--to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. These countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need. They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us.

Q: [to Romney]: Would you have stuck with Mubarak?

ROMNEY: No, I supported the president's action there. I wish we'd have had a better vision of the future.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
With Arab Spring came hope; but we got disturbing events

Q: You said the Benghazi attack was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes.

ROMNEY: This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world and to America in particular, which is to see a complete change in the structure and the environment in the Middle East. With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women and public life and in economic life in the Middle East. But instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. Of course, we see in Syria 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in Libya an attack apparently by terrorists. Northern Mali has been taken over by al-Qaida-type individuals. We have in Egypt a Muslim Brotherhood president. So what we're seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
We organized world community to agree that Assad has to go

Q: It's been more than a year since you told Assad he had to go. Since then 30,000 Syrians have died. Should we reassess our policy?

OBAMA: What we've done is organize the international community, saying Assad has to go. We've mobilized sanctions against that government. We have made sure that they are isolated. We have provided humanitarian assistance, and we are helping the opposition organize. But ultimately, Syrians are going to have to determine their own future. Everything we're doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners, including Israel and Turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this. Now, what we're seeing taking place in Syria is heartbreaking, and that's why we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. I am confident that Assad's days are numbered, but we also have to recognize that for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step.

ROMNEY: Syria is a humanitarian disaster.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Supported "Iron Dome" defense shield for Israel

ROMNEY: The reason I call it an "apology tour" is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations, and they noticed that you skipped Israel.

OBAMA: When I went to Israel as a candidate, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles. So that's how I've used my travels when I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Syria is humanitarian disaster; arm the rebels

OBAMA: We have to help the [Syrian] opposition [in a way] that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us. But what we can't do is, as Gov. Romney has suggested, give heavy weapons to the Syrian opposition.

ROMNEY: First of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster. Secondly, Syria's an opportunity for us because Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens our ally Israel. And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. A replacement government is critical for us [but] we don't want to get drawn into a military conflict. And so the right course for us is to identify responsible parties within Syria, bring them together in a form of council that can take the lead in Syria, and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
No military involvement in Syria; work with our allies

ROMNEY: [In Syria], we should be playing the leadership role there, not on the ground with military--

OBAMA: We are playing the leadership role. We organized the "Friends of Syria." We are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition.

Q: Would you go beyond what the administration would do? Like, for example, would you put in no-fly zones over Syria?

ROMNEY: I don't want to have our military involved in Syria. I don't think there's a necessity to put our military in Syria at this stage. I don't anticipate that in the future. As I indicated, our objectives are to replace Assad and to have in place a new government which is friendly to us--a responsible government, if possible. And I want to make sure the get armed and they have the arms necessary to defend themselves but also to remove Assad. But I do not want to see a military involvement on the part of our troops.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on Foreign Policy : Oct 11, 2012
Apologize for bad acts, but don't apologize for our values

Q: The Romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. He has a book called "No Apology." Should the US have apologized for Americans burning Qurans in Afghanistan? Should the US apologize for US Marines urinating on Taliban corpses?

RYAN: Oh, gosh, yes. What we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values. What we should not be doing is saying to the Egyptian people, while Mubarak is cracking down on them, that he's a good guy and then the next week say he ought to go.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Joe Biden on Homeland Security : Oct 11, 2012
We should not cut embassy security funding

Q: One month ago, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?

RYAN: It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi?

BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey. The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for.

Q: What were you first told about the attack? Why were people talking about protests?

BIDEN: Because that's exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. You know, usually when there's a crisis, we pull together as a nation. But even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference. That's not presidential leadership.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
Syria not like Libya; intervention would ignite the region

Q: In March of last year, President Obama explained the military action taken in Libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. So why doesn't the same logic apply in Syria?

BIDEN: It's a different country. It's a different country. It is five times as large geographically. It has 1/5 the population that is Libya. It's in a part of the world where you're not going to see whatever would come from that war. If it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars. And all this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. But we would not be going through the UN.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
No boots on the ground in Syria, but stop acting thru UN

BIDEN: All this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. How would we do things differently? We wouldn't refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he's killing his own civilians. We wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the UN. After international pressure mounted, then President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It's been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country. So the longer this has gone on, the more groups like al-Qaida are going in.

BIDEN: What would you do differently?

RYAN: We would not be going through the UN. Things like embargoes and sanctions and overflights--those are things that don't put American troops on the ground.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
Why didn't we prepare for embassy attack in Libya?

Q: One month ago, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?

RYAN: We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered. [Initially, Obama] sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. Look, if we are hit by terrorists, we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms? This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself. But unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem, that we are watching the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more chaotic and us less safe.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy : Sep 30, 2012
Support Arab Spring gov't & individuals who share our values

The Arab Spring presented an opportunity to help move millions of people from oppression to freedom. But it also presented grave risks. We needed a strategy for success, but the president offered none.

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East--that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability--and the regional instability that comes with it--is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us. And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Romney's editorial in the Wall Street Journal

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Sep 19, 2012
Partner with Arab Spring countries to work toward democracy

[After the riots attacking American embassies], there is a larger issue, and that is what's going to be happening in the Arab Spring as these countries transition from dictatorship to democracy. And we cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob. And so my message to the Presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries is, we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you, and we stand on the side of democracy, but democracy is not just an election; it's also, are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly.

All these issues are ones that the region is going to wrestle with. The one thing we can't do is withdraw from the region, because the US continues to be the one indispensable nation. And even countries where the US is criticized, they still want our leadership. And so we're going to continue to work in these regions.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Sep 19, 2012
Remain vigilant & focus forcefully on groups like al Qaeda

Q: The White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Was Iran, or al Qaeda behind organizing the protests [which led to the American embassy attacks]?

A: Well, we're still doing an investigation. The natural protests that arose were used as an excuse by extremists to harm US interests. We have to remain vigilant. Look, when I came into office I said I would end the war in Iraq--and I did. I said that we would begin transitioning in Afghanistan. But what I also said was we're going to have to focus narrowly and forcefully on groups like al Qaeda. Those forces have not gone away. We've decimated al Qaeda's top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan, but in Yemen, in Libya--increasingly in places like Syria-- what you see is these elements that don't have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we've got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Sep 19, 2012
Libyan people appreciate that America liberated them

Q: [After the release of a movie preview perceived as mocking Muhammad], we have seen anti-American protests by thousands of Muslims in many countries. Why weren't our embassies better prepared with more security on September 11?

A: We mourn the loss of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi. But that's not representative of the attitudes of the Libyan people towards America, because they understand because of the incredible work that our diplomats did as well as our men and women in uniform, we liberated that country from a dictator who had terrorized them for 40 years. We've seen this in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is used as an excuse to carry out inexcusable violent acts. We told the [Libyan & other] leaders, that although we had nothing to do with the video, we find it offensive, it's not representative of America's views, but we will not tolerate violence, and we will bring those who carried out these events to justice.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Paul Ryan on Foreign Policy : Sep 14, 2012
Confident exercise of US leadership keeps peace in Mideast

Peace, freedom, and civilized values have enemies in this world, as we have been reminded by events in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. [Our enemies] are extremists who operate by violence and intimidation. And the least equivocation or mixed signal only makes them bolder. Look across that region today, and what do we see?Amid all these threats & dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership. In the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose. Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome. That is how we keep problems abroad from becoming crises. That is what keeps the peace. And that is what we will have in a Romney-Ryan administration.
Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2012 Values Voters Summit

Condoleezza Rice on War & Peace : Aug 29, 2012
We should support free people, including Syria

We have seen that the desire for liberty and freedom is, indeed, universal, as men and women in the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty, internal strife, and hostile neighbors our challenging the young, fragile democracy of Iraq. Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and threat to regional security. Russia and China prevent a response, and everyone asks, where does America stand?

Indeed, that is the question of the hour. Where does America stand? You see when the friends or foes alike don't know the answer to that question, unambiguously and clearly, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic place. Since world war II, the US has had an answer to that question. We stand for free peoples and free markets. We will defend and support them.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Aug 24, 2012
Troops to Syria if Assad spreads chemical weapons

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that he would send U.S. troops to Syria if needed to prevent the spread of chemical weapons.

"I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies," Romney said in an interview, specifically noting that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been involved in the region.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Steve Peoples on Huffington Post Politics

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Aug 21, 2012
Syrian use of chemical weapon is "red line" for intervention

Obama has declared the threat of chemical or biological warfare in Syria a "red line" for the US, outlining for the first time the point at which his administration could feel forced to intervene militarily in the Arab country's increasingly messy conflict. It is widely thought that Syria possesses extensive chemical and biological weapon stockpiles, and it has threatened to use them if the country comes under foreign attack.

"That's an issue that doesn't just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel," Obama said. "We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people."

The president said: "We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that's a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons." Obama reiterated his call for Assad to step down.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in Newsday

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2012
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan went on too long

Both candidates agreed that the U.S. should not commit to military action in Syria, and said that while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began for noble reasons, they went on too long. Only a bit of disagreement came when Dewhurst said the Obama administration pulled combat troops out of Iraq too soon and should have left some behind.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debates

Hillary Clinton on Technology : Jun 14, 2012
Condemned China's use of Internet to monitor dissidents

Hillary Clinton had already demonstrated that she was willing to confront China. In 2010, she delivered a speech on the increasingly important and contentious issue of Internet freedom around the world. She criticized various countries' barriers to the free flow of information and their detention of bloggers. In particular, she condemned the use of the Internet to monitor and silence the activities of political and religious dissidents.

She singled out Tunisia and Egypt, but the country to which Clinton devoted the most attention in her speech was China. Later, Google publicly threatened to pull out of China because of cyberattacks on its email system and the targeting of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists. Clinton's response was swift and pointed: She called on the Chinese government to investigate the attacks on Google. Countries that engage in such attacks "should face consequences and international condemnation," she said.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.245

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Apr 25, 2012
Military action should be on the table in Iran & Syria

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the U.S. should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

And Rubio made clear that military action should be on the table in Iran. "We should also be preparing our allies, and the world, for the reality that unfortunately, if all else fails, preventing a nuclear Iran may, tragically, require a military solution," he said.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Apr 25, 2012
America needs a foreign policy of engaging abroad

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the US should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken in Iran. "I disagree with voices in my own party who argue we should not engage at all. Who warn we should heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go 'abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,'" said Rubio. "I disagree, because all around us we see the human face of America's influence in the world."
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution

Ben Carson on Foreign Policy : Jan 24, 2012
Rome's decline began with immoral lifestyle; like in America

The US is still the pinnacle nation in the world today. It is not, however, the 1st pinnacle nation to face a decline. Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, France, and Spain all enjoyed their time at the top of the world, so to speak--in many cases, for several hundred years. Then, as they began to decline, they all experienced some peculiar similarities: an inordinate emphasis on sports and entertainment, a fixation with lifestyles of the rich and famous, political corruption, and the loss of a moral compass.

One certainly sees this pattern being repeated in American society today, and if we continue to follow the course of other pinnacle nations prior to us in history, we will suffer the same fate. The question is, "Can we learn from the experience of those nations that preceded us and take corrective action, or must we inexorably follow the same self-destructive course?"

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 9

Ben Carson on Foreign Policy : Jan 24, 2012
US poverty pales compared to billions in India & Africa

God has opened many doors of opportunity throughout my lifetime, but I believe the greatest of those doors was allowing me to be born in the USA.

Growing up, I heard many complaints from those around me about poverty, but visiting such places as India, Egypt, and Africa has provided me with perspective on what poverty really is. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people in the world live on less than $2 a day. Many of those living in poverty in this country, in fact, would be considered quite wealthy by poor people in other countries. Also, here in the US, there is no caste system to determine one's social status, so there are many opportunities for people to escape poverty without resorting to a life of crime. You are much more likely to be judged in this nation by your knowledge and the way you express yourself than you are by your pedigree. I'm not sure we realize how good we have it on this point.

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.180

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 22, 2011
Syrian brutality must end; Assad must step down

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatens to "fan the flames" of sectarian conflict not only in Syria but in the wider region, Biden said. "Assad and his regime are the source of instability in Syria now and pose the greatest danger to fanning flames of sectarian conflict not only in Syria but beyond," Biden told the Turkish president when they met Friday.

Biden said the "number one objective" was to get the Syrian regime to stop killing civilians and for Assad to quit power. "The US position on Syria is clear. The Syrian regime must end its brutality against its own people and President Assad must step down so a peaceful transition that respects the will of the people can take place," Biden said.

Biden called for a peaceful transition in Syria and broader global sanctions over the crackdown. "Syria's stability is important. That is exactly why we are insisting on change -- it is the current situation that is unstable," Biden said in response to emailed questions from a Turkish newspaper.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Agence France Presse on Naharnet Newsdesk (Lebanon)

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
We shared responsibility to bring democracy to Libya

The Iraq War really spiraled out of control pretty quickly. One of the lessons we`ve learned is that you can go into any dictatorship and try to impose democracy, but it`s going to take you $1 trillion, a decade, and you`re going to have to make a judgment whether or not you`d better spend your time and effort doing something else to make the world safer.

I would give Libya as an example. It was clear that Moammar Gadhafi was really not a good guy at all. But what did the president do? We spent several billion dollars, but we didn`t lose one American life. We didn`t put one boot on the ground. And we had a shared responsibility with the rest of the world, including Arab nations as well as NATO to deal with that issue.

And now, there`s a shared responsibility to the world to help them establish a democracy. That`s very different than going it alone. I hope we`ve learned the lesson that, unless our immediate vital national interest is at stake, going it alone should be the last option.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Interview in MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Donald Trump on Energy & Oil : Dec 5, 2011
Libya: No oil, no support; no exceptions

Qadaffi is dead and gone. So what? We have spent more than $1 billion on the Libya operation. And what are we getting in return? A huge bill, that's what. It's incredible how foolish the Obama administration is. Libya has enormous oil reserves. When the so-called "rebels" came to NATO (which is really the U.S.) and asked for help to defeat Qadaffi, we should have said, "Sure, we don't like the guy either. We will help you take out Qadaffi. But in exchange, you give us 50 percent of your oil for the next twenty-five years to pay for our military support and to say thank you for the United States doing what you could never have done on your own." The "rebels" would have jumped at the offer and said yes.

Imagine the amount of oil we could have secured for America. Our policy should be: no oil, no military support.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p.102

Condoleezza Rice on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2011
Channel Arab Spring into positive development

In the Middle East the Arab Spring has freed millions. American can help to channel the development there in a positive direction. We have influence with the militaries in Egypt and Tunisia; with civil society and political activists, many of whom we've helped train through America's nongovernmental institutions.

In other places, our friends--particularly the monarchs of the region--still have a chance to reform now before it's too late. The United States can coax these monarchies to adopt constitutions and reforms that give greater voice to their people. The changes will strengthen moderate voices across the region. And to our enemies, the Syrian and Iranian regimes, we should say, "Your time has come. Whatever follows you is unlikely to be worse, for your people and for the world, than who you have been."

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: No Higher Honor, by Condoleezza Rice, p.733

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Aug 21, 2011
No military threat from Iraq, Afghanistan, nor Libya

Q: You write that "maintaining a strong national defense is the most basic of the federal government's responsibilities. However, building schools, roads, and hospitals in other countries are not among those basic obligations. Yet that is exactly what we have been doing for much of the past 10 years." Do you oppose current US military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and, if so, on what moral grounds?

A: I do. In all three cases, I don't see a military threat. I initially thought the intervention in Afghanistan was warranted--we were attacked and we attacked back--but we've wiped out Al Qaeda and here we are; we're still there.

Q: Isn't there evidence that we merely drove Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan?

A: Sure.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2011
Wrong to intervene in Libya; covert action more effective

Q: As Pres. Obama was deciding what to do in Libya, you recommended, "exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone, and that sooner they switched sides the more likely they were to survive." After Obama launched military action a few days later you said, "I would not have intervened. I think there were other ways to affect Gadhafi." Which is it?

A: Let me suggest this is a good example of a "gotcha" question. Two weeks earlier, I said we should go in covertly, use Egyptian and other allies not use American forces.

Q: But Mr. Speaker, you said these two things.

A: That's right. I said [the first] after the president announced gloriously that Gadhafi has to go. And I said if the president is seriou about Gadhafi going, this is what we should do. The [second] came after the same president said, well, I really meant maybe we should have a humanitarian intervention. I was commenting about a president who changes his opinion every other day.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : Jul 21, 2011
No US conventional forces in Libya

Q: Would any of you have gone into Libya?

Cain: I've said many times before that US intervention in Libya is inappropriate and wrong. The US does not belong in this war.

Gingrich: Not with conventional forces.

Cain: Pres. Obama did not make it clear what our mission was in Libya, what the American interests were or what victory looks like. We cannot risk our treasury or national treasures (brave men & women in uniform) without knowing those answers.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Jul 21, 2011
Absolutely would not have gone into Libya; get out now

Q: Would any of you have gone into Libya?

Johnson: Absolutely not.

McCotter: The Administration shouldn't have commenced its ill-defined Libya mission; however once committed, we can't abruptly withdraw & further harm our diminishing credibility in the world. Now, in solely a support role to prevent further involvement--no US boots on ground.

Johnson: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya--Get out now!

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com

Jon Huntsman on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2011
Boots on the ground: expensive & not critical for security

Huntsman also commented on the military intervention in Libya, saying that if he had been president he would not have followed the same course of action. The benefits of the military action are outweighed by the need for serious cuts in the military's budget, he said; "We just can't afford it." Huntsman's comments are consistent with a shifting Republican view of the use of American military force. Past Republican candidates for president have had a nearly unanimous hawkish view on the use of the military. But that consensus is weakening in the face of the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In a recent interview with the Times, Huntsman noted that the US would "likely have 10,000 or 15,000 troops behind who are prepared to collect intelligence and fight an asymmetric war against terror." But he said that "the very expensive boots on the ground may be something that is not critical for our national security needs, nor is it something we can afford this point in our economic history."
Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: Michael Shear in New York Times "The Caucus"

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2011
No threat from Libya; so no authority to topple dictator

Q: What about Libya?

A: I went on record immediately saying, "Let's not do this." There was no congressional authorization, no military threat. Where in the constitution does it say that because we don't like a foreign country's leader we should go in and topple the dictator?

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone Magazine

Jon Huntsman on War & Peace : Jun 13, 2011
We can't afford the NATO operation in Libya

Q: Should the president have supported the NATO operation in Libya? Is that in the vital national interest of the US? I had a conversation with a soon-to-be candidate who is not here tonight, Governor Huntsman, recently, who said he didn't think when it came to vital national interest. And he also said we can't afford it right now. Should the price tag be a factor when you're the commander in chief?

GINGRICH: Sure. The price tag is always a factor, because that's part of the decision.

Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : Jun 13, 2011
Get out of Arab region rapidly; make new strategy

Q: Should the president have supported the NATO operation in Libya? Should the price tag be a factor when you're the commander in chief?

GINGRICH: Sure. The price tag is always a factor, because that's part of the decision. But ten years after 9/11, our intelligence is so inadequate that we have no idea what percent of the Libyan rebels are, in fact, al Qaeda. Libya was the second largest producer of people who wanted to kill Americans in Iraq. I think that we need to think fundamentally about reassessing our entire strategy in the region. I think that we should say to the generals we would like to figure out to get out as rapid as possible with the safety of the troops involved. And we had better find new and very different strategies because this is too big a problem for us to deal with the American ground forces in direct combat. We have got to have a totally new strategy for the region, because we don't today have the kind of intelligence we need to know even what we're doing.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Jun 8, 2011
OpEd: Failed promise to close Guantanamo loses left votes

Obama won a lot of the Left votes by promising to close Guantanamo and by claiming to be the anti-war candidate. But Guantanamo still operates and the American involvement in wars has escalated in Afghanistan and Libya. Some on the Left are so upset that they want someone with Left credibility to run against Obama in the primaries. If many on the Left abandon Obama, he will lose a lot of fundraising sources. And he might lose enough votes in the swing states and lose the general election.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 17

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 8, 2011
OpEd: Real Change? Still in Iraq; and now in Libya

Many independents who voted for Obama wanted real change. They were sick of Bush, sick of the war in Iraq, and sick of the poor state of the economy.

Instead of being an anti-war President, Obama has not removed troops from Iraq; has escalated the war in Afghanistan; and has involved the US in a civil war in Libya. Domestically, the unemployment situation is still high, the economy is in a questionable "recovery", and the dollar keeps losing value, and spending and the national debt gets worse.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 16

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 8, 2011
Intervene in Libya for humanitarian reasons

Obama does have some political cover for Afghanistan and Iraq because the US was already involved in those countries when he became President. But Libya is entirely Obama's war.

Michele Bachmann's position on Libya distinctly contrasts with Obama's position. Bachmann is against American involvement in the civil war in Libya. Her view is that no one really knows who the rebels in Libya are, nor how they intend to change Libya. She further explains that there are terrorist groups assisting the rebels. Obama's position is that the US must be involved in Libya for "humanitarian" reasons. As the Libya situation drags on, people will realize that if NATO and the U.S. had never intervened in Libya, the civil war would have been over in a few weeks. The rebels would have been driven out long ago, and thousands of deaths would have been prevented. Americans will demand that Obama answer "Why Libya?" just like they demanded that Bush answer "Why Iraq?"

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 24

Sarah Palin on Homeland Security : Feb 6, 2010
Question terrorists before they get lawyered up & Mirandized

We should acknowledge that, on Christmas day, the system did not work. This terrorist trained in Yemen with al Qaeda. His American visa was not revoked until after he tried to kill hundreds of passengers. On Christmas day, the only thing that stopped this terrorist is blind luck and brave passengers. It was a Christmas miracle. And that is not the way that the system is supposed to work.

What followed was equally disturbing after he was captured. He was questioned for only 50 minutes. We have a choice in how to do this. The choice was only question him for 50 minutes and then read his Miranda rights. The administration says then there are no downsides or upsides to treating terrorists like civilian criminal defendants. But a lot of us would beg to differ. For example, there are questions we would have liked this foreign terrorist to answer before he lawyered up and invoked our U.S. constitutional right to remain silent.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: 2010 Tea Party Convention speeches

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jul 22, 2008
Appropriate for Israel to take out Syrian nuclear reactor

Q: How likely do you think a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iran may be?

A: I will not hypothesize on that. I think Israel has a right to defend itself. But I will not speculate on the difficult judgment that they would have to make in a whole host of possible scenarios.

Q: This is not a speculative question then. Was it appropriate, in your view, for Israel to take out that suspected Syrian nuclear site last year?

A: Yes. I think that there was sufficient evidence that they were developing a site using a nuclear or using a blueprint that was similar to the North Korean model. There was some concern as to what the rationale for that site would be. And, again, ultimately, I think these are decisions that the Israelis have to make. But, you know, the Israelis live in a very tough neighborhood where a lot of folks, publicly proclaim Israel as an enemy and then act on those proclamations.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Feb 11, 2008
Humanitarian aid now for displaced Iraqis

Q: Will you use every tool in our country’s arsenal to prevent civil war in Iraq after troops are pulled out?

A: If we are doing this right, if we have a phased redeployment where we’re as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, then there’ not reason why we shouldn’t be able to prevent the wholesale slaughter some people have suggested might occur. And part of that means we are engaging in the diplomatic efforts that are required within Iraq, among friends, like Egypt, and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but also enemies like Iran and Syria. They have to have buy-in into that process. We have to have humanitarian aid now. We also have two-and-a-half million displaced people inside of Iraq and several million more outside of Iraq. We should be ramping up assistance to them right now. But I always reserve the right, in conjunction with a broader international effort, to prevent genocide or any wholesale slaughter than might happen inside of Iraq or anyplace else.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jan 31, 2008
Can’t let the Iraqis think the US will be there forever

We have to send several messages at once. We are withdrawing, and I believe that is the best message to send to the Iraqis. That they need to know that they have to get serious, because so far they have been under the illusion that the Bush administratio and the Republicans who have more of the same will be there indefinitely. It’s important to send that message to the region, because Iran, Syria, the other countries in the neighborhood, are going to find themselves in a very difficult position as we withdraw. Be careful what you wish for. They will be dragged into what is sectarian divisiveness with many different factions among the 3 main groups. Therefore, we need to start diplomatic efforts immediately, getting the Iranians, the Syrians, and others to the table. It’s in their interest, our interest, and certainly in the Iraqis’ interest. Bush has taken the view that I find absolutely indefensible, that he doesn’t have to bring any agreement about permanent bases and ongoing occupation.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday

Mike Huckabee on Homeland Security : Jan 1, 2008
Support moderate modern evil over Al-Qaeda’s medieval evil

The United States’ biggest challenge in the Arab and Muslim worlds is the lack of a viable moderate alternative to radicalism. On the one hand, there are radical Islamists willing to fight dictators with terrorist tactics that moderates are too humane to use. On the other, there are repressive regimes that stay in power by force and through the suppression of basic human rights--many of which we support by buying oil, such as the Saudi government, or with foreign aid, such as the Egyptian government.

Although we cannot export democracy as if it were Coca-Cola or KFC, we can nurture moderate forces in places where al Qaeda is seeking to replace modern evil with medieval evil. Such moderation may not look or function like our system--it may be a benevolent oligarchy or more tribal than individualistic--but both for us and for the peoples of those countries, it will be better than the dictatorships they have now or the theocracy they would have under radical Islamists.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: America’s Priorities in the War on Terror: Foreign Affairs

Barack Obama on Principles & Values : Nov 11, 2007
Gave away all Rezko “boneheaded” donations to charity

Obama’s longtime relationship with a Syrian-born realtor, Antoin Rezko, has dented his image. Rezko, now under federal indictment for favor-trading and fraud, was one of Obama’s first funders, and over the years he contributed about $150,000 to Obama’s various campaigns. Obama’s law firm represented Rezko, and as a state legislator he recommended the developer for state housing grants that netted Rezko and a partner $855,000 in fees. Obama didn’t seem to notice that a number of Rezko buildings in his low-income district failed.

Obama has given all the Rezko money currently in his larder to charity, and he has called the land deal [he made with Rezko for Obama’s personal home] “boneheaded,” putting it down to anxieties about purchasing a first home (though his family had previously lived in a Hyde Park condo). No one has alleged that Obama did anything illegal, but his slip-sliding response to questions about Rezko suggests that, should he succeed, he will not drive every pig from the trough.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 74-76

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jul 23, 2007
Meet with enemy leaders; it’s a disgrace that we have not

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them--which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration--is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jul 23, 2007
Diplomacy yes; propaganda no; when meeting enemy leaders

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba & N.Korea?

OBAMA: I would. The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous. I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort but not a high level meeting before you know what the intentions are. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro & Hugo Chavez & the president of North Korea, Iran & Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Mike Huckabee on War & Peace : Jun 10, 2007
Insist that Iraq’s neighbors assist military & financially

Q: The United Nations says there already have been two million refugees who have fled Iraq, mostly to Jordan and to Syria. Isn’t this a huge refugee crisis already?

A: It is a huge problem. But imagine if millions and millions more go to these countries, whose infrastructure simply can’t absorb them. Then you have a destabilized region. One of the things that the US must do is to more strongly insist to the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Turks, the Kuwaitis that their involvement militarily, their involvement financially, their involvement even theologically with the more radical wings of the Islamic faith are critical for us to solve this issue.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : May 20, 2007
Iraq & Syria are enemies--ok to talk if we understand that

GINGRICH [to Dodd]: The Baker-Hamilton Commission suggested that we engage Iran & Syria, who are our enemies in the region. The fact is the Iranians want us defeated. The Iranians are providing weapons, training and money to defeat us. This would be like saying, “Why don’t we turn to Nazi Germany to help us manage fascist Italy?”

DODD: The idea we don’t talk to the Syrians & Iranians in a moment like this, I think, is terribly naive and dangerous for the country, in my view.

GINGRICH: I’m perfectly happy to talk to Syrians and the Iranians. We’ve had a number of secretaries of state who’ve gone to Damascus, several of whom have been snubbed. Our secretary of state was snubbed the other day by the Iranians. I just want us to understand who we’re talking about. Reagan had no doubt that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. He had a clear vision of the Cold War. He said, “We win, they lose.” And he did what you’re calling for. They unraveled the Soviet empire, largely without firing a shot.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 12, 2004
Terrorists are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran

OBAMA: The Bush administration could not find a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. WMD are not found in Iraq. And so, it is absolutely true that we have a network of terrorists, but it takes a huge leap of logic to suddenly suggest that that means that we invade Iraq. Saudi Arabia has a whole bunch of terrorists, so have Syria and Iran, and all across the globe. To mount full-scale invasions as a consequence is a bad strategy. It makes more sense for us to focus on those terrorists who are active to try to roll them up where we have evidence that in fact these countries are being used as staging grounds that would potentially cause us eminent harm, and then we go in. The US has to reserve all military options in facing such an imminent threat- but we have to do it wisely.

KEYES: That’s the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bush’s hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: [Xref Obama] IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Nov 1, 2003
I despise terrorism and the nihilism it represents

On Oct. 11, the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists in Yemen. The explosion killed 17 US sailors and ripped a hole in the destroyer’s hull. This attack, like the embassy bombings, was later traced to al Qaeda.

I despise terrorism and the nihilism it represents, and I was incredulous when the NY Republican Party and Lazio campaign insinuated that I was somehow involved with the terrorists who blew up the Cole. They made this charge in a TV ad and an automatic telephone message directed to NY voters 12 days before the election. The story they concocted was that I had received a donation from somebody who belonged to a group that they said supported terrorists--“the same kind of terrorism that killed our sailors on the USS Cole.” The phone script told people to call me and tell me to “stop supporting terrorism.” This last-minute desperation tactic blew up, however, thanks to a vigorous response by my campaign and with help from former NYC mayor Ed Koch, who cut a TV commercial scolding Lazio.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Living History, by Hillary Clinton, p.521-522

Condoleezza Rice on War & Peace : Oct 16, 2001
Syria must decide: either for terrorism or against it

Q: How about Syria?

A: We do not believe that Syria can be against al Qaeda, but in favor of other terrorist groups. But we have had some discussions with Syria. President Bush invites countries to stop the practice of harboring terrorism.

Q: So if Syria does not cooperate against people who are from Jihad or Hamas, they should be targeted also?

A: We have ruled out at this point issues that draw distinctions between types of terrorism. We just don’t think that’s the right thing to do. You can’t say there are good terrorists and there are bad terrorists. But the means that we use with different countries to get them to stop harboring terrorists may be very broad. And there are many means at our disposal.

There are not a lot of discussions with Syria, but we have had discussions with Syria that suggest: get out of the business of sponsoring terrorism. We’re asking that of every state of the world. You cannot be neutral in this fight; you either are for terrorism or against it.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Nov 11, 1999
Extend peace treaties to Palestinians, Syrians & Lebanese

The message of Oslo [was]: How we can fulfill Rabin’s legacy by bidding farewell to generations of war and ushering in a new century of real and lasting peace? The same must be true on all of Israel’s borders so that the peace that now covers some will be a peace that extends to all-Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Remarks at Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center

  • Additional quotations related to Arab Spring issues can be found under Foreign Policy.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Foreign Policy.
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