WASHINGTON — Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson thinks the threat of radical Islam is “overblown,” and refused to draw lines in the sand about how to respond to a nuclear Iran during a visit Tuesday to The Daily Caller.
Many neoconservatives who have traditionally supported Republican candidates feel they are left without someone to support in the 2016 election. When asked what he would say to convince these voters, the former New Mexico governor replied, “that we should have an invincible national defense and that if we’re attacked we should attack back.”
This is a stance similar to Donald Trump’s of having a military “so strong and so powerful” that “we won’t have to use it.” Johnson also holds a similar view to Trump when it comes to the threat of North Korea, which, in Johnson’s view, is the greatest threat facing the U.S.
“I reject that libertarians are isolationist. It should be diplomacy to the hilt and in this case it would be joining with China to deal with a threat that they also recognize,” Johnson said regarding the threat of a North Korea with functioning ICBMs.
He added, “the problem in the region is our 40,000 troops in South Korea. That is not a stabilizing force in the Koreas.” Johnson continued to say ideally the U.S would withdraw military personnel from South Korea and that China “should be dealing with North Korea.”
Trump has previously bemoaned the lack of payment from South Korea for our protection and has said there should be “pressure” placed on China to deal with North Korea.
Though the similarities largely end there between Johnson and Trump when it comes to foreign policy. The former governor told TheDC that radical Islam is an “overblown” threat.
“You can argue we’re at war with ISIS, I’ll concede that,” Johnson said. He added, “Do I have issue with wiping out ISIS? If it involves boots on the ground, if it involves dropping bombs, if it involves flying drones, I think that all those methods have the unintended consequence of making things worse not better.”
The Libertarian nominee said that he would not add any additional restrictions to immigration from the Middle East.
Johnson told TheDC that he’s a “skeptic” of the Iran deal because Iran “funds terrorism.” He also took issue with it on the grounds of transparency, saying, “no seems to know what’s in it.”
The former governor though wouldn’t get rid of the agreement if elected.
Johnson would not be fine with a nuclear armed Iran, but would not definitively say what measures he would take to stop that hypothetical situation.
“I think one of the big problems about running for political office when it comes to the military is that candidates draw lines in the sand and I think that’s a big mistake,” Johnson said. He continued, “If I draw a line in the sand and it gets crossed, count on the action that I promised.”
“You’re asking me a hypothetical question that I’m going to be drawing a line in the sand right here and I’m going to have to it stick to for the rest of the time that I’m running for office and take office,” the former governor added.
Gary Johnson will now likely be facing Hillary Clinton in the general election and said she “has been the architect of our foreign policy” that has left the U.S “less safe.”
When asked to compare the world views of the two presumptive major party candidates, Johnson said, “I think Trump scares me to death and with Hillary nothing really changes. Hillary is just treading water.”