Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz condemned military action in Syria Wednesday while outlining his idea of a different U.S. foreign policy during his Jesse Helms lecture at the Heritage Foundation.
Cruz outlined his three pillars of foreign policy: direct focus on protecting America’s national security and American interests, speaking with moral clarity, and always fighting to win.
“Those are principles that when the United States has followed, [they] have protected the United States of America, and when we have deviated… Things haven’t worked out well,” Cruz said.
Cruz took issue with President Barack Obama’s approach to Syria, saying it did not put prioritize American security.
“The principle of U.S. national force should depend upon U.S. national security,” Cruz said. He criticized Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s reasoning behind a possible Syrian strike — enforcing international norms is not the job of the U.S. Armed Forces, he said.
“It isn’t their job to send statements,” Cruz said. “It is the job of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to kill our enemies and defend our national security.”
Cruz also questioned the merit of Kerry’s “incredibly small attack” statement, saying that one cannot expect to win with that mentality.
Cruz’s strategy would rectify errors committed by the Obama administration, whose foreign policy Cruz called “too hawkish and too dovish” at the same time.
Citing reports that Iraq has allowed Iranian forces to use Iraqi airspace to fly to Syria to resupply Assad’s forces, Cruz said that a good course of action to take would be to cut off all foreign aid to Iraq until they agreed to deny air rights to Iran.
He said that the U.S. should force a vote in the United Nations to condemn Assad, and that doing so would force Russia and China to speak on the issue on the world stage. The U.S. should then immediately reinstate the ballistic missile station that was shut down at the beginning of Obama’s administration, and re-approve the sale of F-16s to Taiwan that were cut in order to appease China, Cruz said, to protect American interests.
“Obama is too willing to use U.S. military might in defense of international norms in Syria in a way that is not in the interest of protecting our national security,” Cruz said. On the other hand, Cruz said, Obama is far too dovish when it comes to standing up and defending America’s interests.
Cruz is the latest Republican to outline a conservative foreign policy as the Syria crisis lengthens and the 2016 Republican primary approaches. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul spoke at the Heritage Foundation in February, calling for the U.S. to “avoid never-ending conflict and protracted commitments.” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, however, advocated for energetic U.S. involvement in international crisis in an April speech given at the Brookings Institute.