Carly Fiorina on Foreign Policy
Republican primary challenger and former CEO
FIORINA: Well, let me tell you this: news flash, President Obama, news flash, Mrs. Clinton--climate change is not our most pressing national security threat. Actually, it is ISIS, followed closely by Iran. And those two things are linked, so that when our president cozies up to Iran, all of our allies in the Middle East, who are ready to help us defeat ISIS, wonder whose side we're on. And the truth is, under this president, we are on Iran's side, not our allies', who would help us defeat ISIS. You know, one of the things we have to start with is understanding that we must stand up to adversaries.
FIORINA: We need to be very clear-eyed now about who are our allies and who are our adversaries. In the fight against ISIS, Saudi Arabia is our ally. Iran is our adversary. And despite Donald Trump's bromance with Vladmir Putin, Vladmir Putin and Russia are our adversary. We cannot outsource leadership in the Middle East to Iran and Russia. We must stand and lead. The Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, the Saudis, Egyptians, Bahrainis, the Emirates, the Kurds--they have asked us for very specific kinds of support: bombs, material, arms, intelligence. We are not providing any of it today. I will provide all of it. And yes, we need a coalition. But only in the US can lead such a coalition. I will lead it. But we must be clear-eyed through this fight. Iran is our adversary. Russia is our adversary.
I have done business in China for 25 years, so I know that in order to get China to cooperate with us, we must first actually retaliate against their cyber-attacks so they know we're serious. We have to push back on their desire to control the trade route through the South China Sea through which flows $5 trillion worth of goods and services every year.
We cannot let them control the disputed islands, and we must work with the Australians, the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Filipinos to contain China. And then we must ask for their support and their help with North Korea. Because believe it or not, China is as concerned about Kim Jong-Un as we are.
FIORINA: Well, first, Kim Jong-Un is a dangerous leader, without a doubt. And both Republican and Democrat administrations have been completely ineffective in dealing with him. So we must continue to isolate him. We will need China as part of that strategy.
The Egyptians are asking us to share intelligence, we are not, I will. The Kurds have asked us to arm them for three years, we are not, I would. The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrainis, the Emirati, the Kurds--all of these understand ISIS is their fight, but they must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America. We have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.
FIORINA: Well, I do. But I think it's a bit too little, too late. Look, all of us who know anything about it have known that you cannot have a successful bombing campaign unless you have special operations troops on the ground helping to direct that campaign. President Obama hasn't been willing to do that for political purposes. It's also true that he has no strategy in Syria. He has no strategy for ISIS. And it's also true that when the United States of America fails to act, as he has failed to act, are options are diminished.
FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn't talk to him at all. We've talked way too much to him. What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I'd probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control.
The second, to the supreme leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not his, we, the United States of America, will make it as difficult as possible and move money around the global financial system.
We can do that, we don't need anyone's cooperation to do it. And every ally and every adversary we have in this world will know that the United States in America is back in the leadership business, which is how we must stand with our allies.
FIORINA: Well, I would have walked away because if you can't walk away from the negotiating table, the other side just keeps negotiating. And that's precisely what's happened. We have caved on every major goal that President Obama set, so I would walk away and I would tell the Iranians that until and unless they are prepared to open every nuclear facility, every uranium enrichment facility to full and unfettered inspections, that we will make it as difficult as possible for them to move money around the global financial system. We can do that. We don't need anyone's permission or collaboration to do that.
Soon afterward, several GOP candidates seized the opportunity to attack Obama while touting their own foreign policy platforms. In an appearance on Fox News, Carly Fiorina chimed in: "It's been clear that President Obama hasn't had a plan. It's been equally clear that the Pentagon has been giving him options, and of course our allies have been asking for very specific things to help us defeat ISIS."
Her response: Fiorina gave a strong speech that was enthusiastically received by the crowd. She focused on burnishing her foreign credentials, arguing that "I know Bibi Netanyahu," and "I know King Abdullah of Jordan," as a way to critique the Obama Administration's policies in the Middle East. She also repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton, telling her to "please, name an accomplishment," and arguing that traveling the world doesn't count as one. Essentially, Fiorina was arguing that a long political resume doesn't necessarily mean a candidate is qualified--and suggesting that her short one shouldn't disqualify her.
Fiorina has been talking up her Kremlin bona fides for the last year and referenced her meeting with Vladimir Putin at a 2001 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in China in a well-received speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit last month. "Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe," Fiorina said in Iowa. "But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment, it's an activity. I have met Vladimir Putin and know that it will take more to halt his ambitions than a gimmicky red 'Reset' button."
FIORINA: Yes, it is fair. Because American leadership matters in the world. American strength matters in the world. And it particularly matters when things are going wrong. I think President Obama has made two crucial errors. First, he confuses ending a war with securing the peace. And unfortunately, the way he ended the wars in Iraq and is attempting to end the war in Afghanistan are making both of those situations very, very troublesome. Secondly, he continues to believe that his words matter. And his words matter less and less because both our friends and our allies as well as our enemies have figured out that words do not signal intention. There is no execution behind them. And that creates a situation in which our allies believe they cannot count on us and our enemies believe they can ignore us.
Barbara Boxer and this Congress have so far refused to stand up to this administration and get serious about the threat from Iran."
We moved a lot because my father was working his way up the academic ladder. He taught at the University of Texas, Cornell, Yale, Stanford and Duke and took sabbaticals at the London School of Economics and the University of Ghana in Accra, West Africa. (Eventually he would become a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.) I went to elementary school in New York, Connecticut and California; to junior high in California and England; and to high school in Africa, California and North Carolina. In the course of all this moving around, I learned a lot about people and a lot about change. I was perpetually the new kid in class, and as the new kid, I wanted desperately to fit in, to be liked, to make friends.
My father was teaching the new Ghanaian constitution to law students. Ghana in 1969 was experimenting with democracy after the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah. I listened to great debates at our dinner table when my father's Ghanaian students would visit. I saw how difficult building a nation was when smaller but more powerful tribal loyalties conflicted with the larger but more abstract idea of a nation.
We lived in a shoe-box-sized apartment. I loved Italy, loved Italians and loved the whole crazy adventure that was our first year of marriage. I learned to drink coffee, learned to drink wine and learned to make Italian food. Todd was, in very real ways, my teacher. He had lived in Italy before, and I was following him as he pursued his studies and his career. While we were husband and wife, we were not peers.
Todd was studying full-time and we needed money. I didn't have a work permit, but I could work as a private language tutor. So I taught English to Italian businessmen and their families and built up a clientele by word of mouth. At ten dollars an hour, the teaching work supported us.
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