Ted Cruz on Foreign Policy

Republican Texas Senator


Transnational institutions chip away at US sovereignty

But over the past century, America's sovereignty has been chipped away at by the rise of transnational institutions that run roughshod over our own internal decision making. From the United Nations to the International Crime Court to the World Trade Organization, there has been a dangerous growth of institutions that make purportedly binding decisions over otherwise sovereign nation-states. To be sure, some of these institutions are better than ours. Some of them, perhaps, are better than others. But by design, all these transnational institutions are not democratically accountable--and certainly not to the American electorate--thus undermining our most basic conceptions of sovereignty in the Westphalian nation-state system.
Source: One Vote Away, by Ted Cruz, p.65 , Sep 20, 2020

Countries aspire to be like America, the exceptional nation

The United States of America is the exceptional nation, the nation other countries aspire to be like. We should stand as a shining beacon of what free people enjoying a free market & system of government can achieve. But while our intentions towards the rest of the world are peaceful, that does not mean we have no enemies, and the fact of the matter is our enemies are on the march.

Two terms of the disastrous Obama-Clinton foreign policy have had one useful effect: we now know what the world starts to look like without America. The next president will have to start on day one rebuilding what they have tried to tear down. A truly conservative foreign policy would have three simple principles:

  1. To preserve our country we need to exert leadership on the global stage, not withdraw from it.
  2. We need to fiercely defend our allies and interests.
  3. And we need to judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.
    Source: 2016 presidential campaign website TedCruz.org , Mar 15, 2016

    Break diplomatic relations with Cuba

    Q: On Cuba relations?

    Donald TRUMP: Every single aspect of this deal is in Cuba's favor. I would probably have the embassy closed until such time as a really good deal was struck.

    Q [to CRUZ]: Would you reverse course and once again break diplomatic relations with Cuba?

    CRUZ: Yes, I would. And this highlights a real choice for Republican primary voters. Do you want to continue on the same basic trajectory as the last 7 years of the Obama foreign policy? When it comes to Cuba, [a deal] negotiated b Hillary Clinton and John Kerry? There's a real difference between us. Donald supported Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. And what he said right now is that he agrees in principle with what they're doing. The only thing he thinks is that they should negotiate a little bit better deals, they should be more effective. I have a fundamental disagreement and I think most Republicans and most Americans do, that we shouldn't be allowing billions of dollars to go to nations that hate us, like Cuba.

    Source: 2016 GOP primary debate in Miami , Mar 10, 2016

    Neutrality on Israel is moral relativism

    TRUMP: I have a great relationship with Israel. If I could bring peace, that would be a fantastic. It would be one of my greatest achievements as president.

    KASICH: I've been a strong supporter of Israel longer than anybody on this stage.

    CRUZ: Donald and Hillary want to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. If I'm president, America will stand unapologetically with Israel. The notion of neutrality is based upon the left buying into moral relativism that is pitched in the media. It is not equivalent. When you have terrorists murdering innocent women and children, they are not equivalent to the IDF officers protecting Israel.

    Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

    Under Hillary's leadership, every region of world is worse

    She's got a lot of experience, but her policies have proven disastrous. If you look at foreign policy, every region in the world has gotten worse. Under her leadership, we abandon the nation of Israel. Under her leadership, radical Islamic terrorism has been on to the rise. Under her leadership, and Obama's leadership, Iran is getting $100 billion dollars, and on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon.
    Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

    Fighting ISIS is more important than fighting Assad

    Q: In Syria is the priority getting Assad out of power or ISIS?


    Q: So table the Assad discussion right now?

    CRUZ: We have no business sticking our nose in that civil war.

    Q: So you're a "no" on the no fly zones, none of that stuff, stick to just ISIS? Would you work with the Russians? If they are helping with ISIS, would you work with them?

    CRUZ: Of course, we shouldn't be partnering with the Russians. Look, this is a great example of the utter failure of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. This void in power has let Putin step in there. And anyone who believes Russia is fighting against terrorism, I got a bridge to sell them.

    Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 18, 2015

    If Mideast strongmen still in power, better for US interests

    Q: Would the Middle East be more stable today if you had the strongmen there?

    CRUZ: Of course, it would.

    Q: Gaddafi, Saddam, Assad, if they're strongmen, they keep stability?

    CRUZ: It wasn't even close that Libya under Gaddafi was better for US interests than the chaos now that is allowed jihadists to gain strength.

    Q: What about Iraq under Saddam?

    CRUZ: It wasn't even close.

    Q: Do you think Iraq would be more stable today under a strong man like Saddam?

    CRUZ: Based on what we know now, should we have gone into Iraq? No, of course not. It was based on the belief that they had weapons of mass destruction that they would use against us.

    Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 18, 2015

    US should not engage in nation building in Afghanistan

    Q: If you become President would you keep this policy of having troops in Afghanistan?

    CRUZ: It will depend on the mission. I don't believe we should be engaged in nation building. I don't believe we should be trying to transform foreign countries into democratic utopias. But I do think it is the job of our military to protect this country, to hunt down and kill jihadists who would murder us.

    Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 18, 2015

    Greatest threat facing America is nuclear Iran

    Source: 10th Annual Value Voters Summit - 2015 , Sep 27, 2015

    Don't let world courts bind American sovereignty

    Q: Governor Kasich accuses you of playing to the crowd and being inexperienced.

    CRUZ: Well, let's be clear when it comes to experience. What President Obama wants to do is he's run to the United Nations, and he wants to use the United Nations to bind the United States, and take away our sovereignty. Well, I spent five and a half years as a Solicitor General of Texas, the lead lawyer for the state, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and I went in front of the Supreme Court, and took on the World Court of the United Nations in a case called Medellin v. Texas, and we won a historic victory saying the World Court, and the U.N., has no power to bind the United States, and no President of the United States, Republican or Democrat, has the authority to give away our sovereignty.

    Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

    Move American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

    Q: How will the world look different once your Air Force One is parked in the hangar of your presidential library, like Reagan's here?

    A: If I'm elected president our friends and allies across the globe will know that we stand with them. The bust of Wi You want to know what I'll do as president? It is real simple. We'll kill the terrorists, we'll repeal Obamacare, and we will defend the Constitution, every single word of it. Ted Cruz

    Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

    Law of the Sea Treaty undermines US sovereignty

    [As a nominee for Secretary of State, John] Kerry came by my office to visit with me in what are labeled "courtesy calls" to the senators voting on their nominations. Kerry was surprisingly pleasant and gregarious. And yet he was oddly tone-deaf. His first request was to ask for my help ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty--a request that almost caused me to laugh out loud because of my decades-long opposition to treaties that undermine U.S. sovereignty and subject us to the extra-legal authority of foreign bodies. It would have been like my asking him to support the full-scale repeal of ObamaCare. For a man who prided himself on his foreign policy expertise and who was seeking to be America's chief diplomat, it was puzzling that he wouldn't have understood that a conservative would have serious qualms about the treaty.
    Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.230 , Jun 30, 2015

    Guide policy with true leadership of moral clarity

    When President Obama leaves the White House, he will leave behind a legacy of ashes in international affairs. The vacuum of leadership created by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will take a generation to restore by reversing the effects of massive defense budget cuts and reinstilling confidence in our friends and allies that American foreign policy is once again guided by moral clarity.

    It is not impossible, however. And in fact there is a parallel. When Jimmy Carter left the White House in 1981, America was in a similar state of paralysis, incoherence, and crisis. That all changed when a confident president, Ronald Reagan, willing to exert American leadership and defend American values, took the reins.

    Likewise, I believe with true leadership--and a president unafraid to face down tyranny and call evil by its name--we can see the restoration of America to its rightful place as the leader of the free world.

    Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.304-5 , Jun 30, 2015

    Liberal credulity coddles and excuses extremism

    Of all the national security threats facing America, none is greater than the continued efforts of Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability. And yet, instead of acting resolutely to ensure that can happen, President Obama has relaxed sanctions and entered extended negotiations that have dramatically increased the changes of a nuclear Iran.

    Obama has encouraged a "new beginning with Iran, where since 1979 Shiite mullahs have forged one of the world's most brutal, anti-American tyrannies.

    But the president was convinced he could reverse three decades of Iranian hostility with conciliation, understanding and a perceived indifference to Iranian atrocities. This is a načve worldview--the same liberal credulity espoused by Jimmy Carter and others, until they are awakened to the folly of coddling and excusing extremism. Sadly, President Obama hasn't learned that lesson.

    Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.290-1 , Jun 30, 2015

    Help the Cuban opposition, not the Castros

    Critics of the Cuban embargo argue, we are 50 years into the project and the Castros are still in power. But there are better options than what the Obama administration has proposed.
    Source: Time magazine article by Ted Cruz , Dec 18, 2014

    Cuba is oppressive but never misses chance to propagandize

    Q: I have one more Ebola question. And, believe it or not, it's about Cuba. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says that he is only too happy to join the US after our plea for other countries to step up and help fight Ebola. He said that Cuba will be sending 460 doctors and nurses. What do you make of that?

    CRUZ: Well, look, Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, they never miss a chance to push propaganda. You know, what I can tell is, the Castro brothers have put in place a brutal regime that oppresses their citizens, that murders their citizens, that tortures and imprisons their citizens. And the Castros are never shy to jump up and engage in some propaganda to criticize the United States.

    Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 19, 2014

    Vigorous sanctions against Putin; help eastern Ukraine

    Q: President Obama condemned the shoot down of the Malaysian Airliner over Ukraine, but he has not announced any new action against the Russians. How would President Cruz handle Putin?

    CRUZ: What we appear to know right now is it appears to have been a Buk Russian missile, and that kind of technology is not randomly found on the streets. That likely found its way into the hands of Russian rebels and Russian separatists in Ukraine because of Putin's direct involvement.

    Q: So, how would you get Putin to stop?

    CRUZ: We should do a number of things. One, we need vigorous sanctions. We need sanctions that target the Russian energy sector, the Russian financial sector that put serious consequences for what Putin is doing. Two, we should immediately reinstate the antiballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe that President Obama canceled in 2009 in an effort to appease Russia. And three, we need to open up the export of liquid natural gas, which will help liberate Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

    Source: Fox News Sunday 2014 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 20, 2014

    America is indispensable; our allies need our leadership

    Q: Ambassador Rice responded to your criticism--

    CRUZ: Well, you know, I just got back last week from traveling to Israel and Ukraine and Poland and Estonia. One of the things Ambassador Rice said that was absolutely correct is that American is the indispensable leader. But what our allies are expressing over and over again is that leadership is missing. And the most frequent thing you hear when you talk to an ambassador, a foreign minister of our friends and allies is they pull you aside quietly in hushed tones; they say, "Where is America?" When America's weak, when the American president is weak, it leaves our friends and allies vulnerable.

    Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 1, 2014

    Sanctions on Putin for Ukraine: tyrants respond to weakness

    Q: On Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

    CRUZ (VIDEO TAPE): A critical reason for Putin's aggression has been President Obama's weakness. That Putin fears no retribution. You better believe Putin sees in Benghazi four Americans are murdered and nothing happens. There is no retribution. You better believe that Putin sees that in Syria, Obama draws a red line and ignores the red line.

    Q: (ON CAMERA): So how would you stand up? What would you do? Military action?

    CRUZ: No. No, look, not at all.

    Q: Sanctions? Would you do sanctions?

    CRUZ: Absolutely, yes. There are a host of things we can do. Let's rewind the clock a little bit. #1, don't demonstrate weakness for five years. We have seen historically over and over again tyrants respond to weakness. We keep making that mistake with Putin. Putin is a KGB thug. When the protests began in Ukraine, the president should have stood unapologetically, emphatically for freedom. And when the US doesn't speak for freedom, tyrants notice.

    Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 9, 2014

    US has a responsibility to defend our values abroad

    Q: Ted Cruz's approach--tough sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine--stands in stark contrast with fellow tea partier Rand Paul. Just days before Putin invaded Crimea, Paul said: "I think we need to have a respectful, sometimes adversarial, but a respectful relationship with Russia. Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era, they want to tweak Russia all the time, and I don't think that's a good idea." What's your reaction to that?

    CRUZ: I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. I don't agree with him on foreign policy. I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force aboard. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did. When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire," when he stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate and said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," those words changed the course of history. The United States has a responsibility to defend our values.

    Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 9, 2014

    To make a deal, Iran must recognize Israel as Jewish state

    Echoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cruz slammed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and called on Iran to recognize Israel as 'Jewish state.' When Kerry stated that he may strike a deal to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for an agreement for that country to temporarily halt its uranium enrichment program, Cruz expressed grave concerns: "If the reports are correct, this is a terrible deal, and it is dangerous for America. We should have insisted on good-faith measures before meeting with the Iranians directly, such as the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and the acknowledgment of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken the extraordinary step of condemning what is happening in Geneva as a 'very, very bad deal.' President Obama should not abandon our friend and ally Israel, and he should not cut a deal that endangers the national security of the United States.
    Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 89 , Mar 7, 2014

    Abrogate treaties with Russia over Ukraine invasion

    The Ukraine crisis hit the headlines. Politico, obtained an exclusive interview with Cruz in which he stated that the preferred plan for Ukraine was to let the market fix the situation. He argued for the immediate passing a new free trade treaty with Ukraine and "looking at existing treaties between the United States and Russia, and considering abrogating those treaties."

    More important than aid is expanding economic trade expanding mutually beneficial commerce, helping open the door for energy to flow to Ukraine in the private market," Cruz said. He added Russia should be kicked out of the G-8, and that the United States shouldn't wait on its allied for further action which should include initiating plans to move forward with the missile defense system in Europe.

    Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 92-3 , Mar 7, 2014

    America should be voice of freedom, but not interventionist

    Cruz rejected the idea of choosing between interventionism and isolationism--the two sharply different positions within the Republican Party--as what he thinks is represented by U.S. senators John McCain and Rand Paul.

    "My foreign policy views are different from both of them, and I would suggest (those views) represent a third point on the triangle," Cruz said. "I agree with John McCain that we should be a voice for freedom, but I agree with Rand Paul that we should be exceedingly reluctant to employ U.S. military force. I don't think it's the job of the military to engage in nation building."

    Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 93 , Mar 7, 2014

    Deny visa for Iranian ambassador to visit the United Nations

    On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced Senate bill 2195, a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests. The bill was written in response to Iran's choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador to the UN in New York. Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis, in which of a number of American diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Tehran were held captive in 1979.

    In a letter published in the Politico on April 18, 2014, under the headline "A Bipartisan Message to Iran", Sen. Ted Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing his bill into law:

    Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 97-8 , Mar 7, 2014

    Those who hate Israel hate America

    In September 2014, Cruz was the keynote speaker at an event held by the watchdog group "In Defense of Christians", a conference dedicated to raising awareness about persecuted Christians in the Middle East. When Cruz argued that Christians have "no greater ally" than Israel, he was heckled.

    "Let me say this: Those who hate Israel hate America. And those who hate Jews hate Christians," Cruz said as the audience's heckling increased. "If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you," Cruz told the audience as he walked off the stage amid a mixed chorus of cheers and boos.

    Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. p.102-3 , Mar 7, 2014

    Appeasement historically leads to more violence

    Vladimir Putin running rampant in Ukraine showcases how the Obama administration's abdication of global leadership is making the world a more dangerous place.

    Instead of providing clarity, the Obama administration offers tortured semantics. The interim agreement over Iran's nuclear program is referred to as a display of "international unity." And now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was euphemistically designated "an uncontested arrival."

    This is the language of fools. Appeasement, historically, leads to more and more violence. Bullies and tyrants are only encouraged when the US uses words that willfully ignore the reality of the threats the US and our allies face.

    Ironically, this administration's effort to avoid conflict at all costs makes conflict all the more likely. Putin knows there will be no serious reprisals for aggression from an American president who was only waiting for his re-election to give him the "flexibility" to make additional concessions at the negotiating table.

    Source: Foreign Policy magazine article by Ted Cruz , Mar 4, 2014

    Disallow Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel.

    Cruz signed disallowing Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel

    Excerpts from Letter from 73 Senators to Secretary of State Kerry We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the Palestinian Authority is not a state and its express intent is to use this process to threaten Israel.

    Pres. Abbas` effort contravene the spirit of earlier agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and erodes the prospect for peace. Therefore, the US must make clear that joining the ICC is not a legitimate or viable path for Palestinians.

    Israel is a major strategic partner of the US and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimize its very existence. The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, `U.S. Should Not Join the ICC,` Aug. 18, 2009): The ICC prosecutor is exploring a request by the Palestinian National Authority to prosecute Israeli commanders for alleged war crimes committed during the recent actions in Gaza. Palestinian lawyers maintain that the Palestinian National Authority can request ICC jurisdiction as the de facto sovereign even though it is not an internationally recognized state. By countenancing Palestine`s claims, the ICC prosecutor has enabled pressure to be applied to Israel over alleged war crimes, while ignoring Hamas`s incitement of the military action and its commission of war crimes against Israeli civilians. Furthermore, by seemingly recognizing Palestine as a sovereign entity, the prosecutor`s action has created a pathway for Palestinian statehood without first reaching a comprehensive peace deal with Israel. This determination is an inherently political issue beyond the ICC`s authority.

    Source: Palestinian Bid to ICC 14LTR-ICC on Jan 29, 2015

    Move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; recognize as cap.

    Cruz co-sponsored H.R.114 & S.117

    Congressional Summary: States that it is US policy to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and that the US Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem by 2017.

    Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (Times of Israel ): Congressional legislation would force the Obama administration to change longstanding US policy and move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill challenges presidential authority on a key foreign policy question. The bill strikes the language in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that gave the president waiver authority to delay the move. Every president since Bill Clinton has signed a presidential waiver every six months in order to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, citing concerns that a move to Jerusalem would upset the prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1980, but the US, like all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

    Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (The Morning Call, April 16, 1984) The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) have begun a `multifaceted protest` opposing moving the US. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem from Jordan after capturing it in the 1967 war but assured free access to religious shrines. The nations of the Arab League argue that the Israelis are in Jerusalem as an `army of occupation` and they have never recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One compromise would be the placement of the American Consulate in Jerusalem with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Secretary of State George P. Shultz cautioned that a relocation `would fan Islamic extremism, possibly inciting a wave of violence against our citizens, diplomats and installations in the region.`

    Source: Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act 15_S117 on Jan 7, 2015

    Two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank.

    Cruz signed two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank

    Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.

    Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.

    Source: S.Res.6 & H.Res.11 17-SRes6 on Jan 3, 2017

    Sponsored bill to monitor forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang.

    Cruz co-sponsored Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

    Legislative summary: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act: