Rick Santorum on Foreign Policy
Republican Jr Senator (PA); 2012 presidential frontrunner
SANTORUM: Well, really, there isn't anybody else who's looking [at the GOP primary] that has any kind of significant national security experience. I was eight years on the Armed Services Committee, where I was a subcommittee chairman, worked in a very strong bipartisan level, never had an amendment that I brought to the floor that was ever amended without bipartisan support. So we always did it in a way that was above politics. Secondly, I authored two major pieces of national security legislation, foreign policy legislation: one on Syria, a bill that was vehemently opposed by President Bush when I offered it. And within three years, he signed it, came around to the position that I had taken. The next one was on the Iranian nuclear program; it passed unanimously in the US Senate.
PAUL: Well, I think free trade is the answer. Free trade is an answer to a lot of conflicts around the world, so I'm always promoting free trade. And you might add Cuba, too. I think we would be a lot better off trading with Cuba.
SANTORUM: I'm not with Congressman Paul & I'm not with Barack Obama on this issue. Our policy in Central and South America under this administration has been abysmal: A consistent policy of siding with the leftists, siding with the Marxists, siding with those who don't support democracy. Not standing up for our friends who want to engage and support America, who want to be great trading partners and great allies for our country, to be able to form that kind of bond that is so essential in our own hemisphere. We not only have to come together as an economic unit, but against the threat of radical Islam growing in that region.
SANTORUM: I would oppose it. I've been 100% in support of the right to a free Cuba, and the US should stand on the side of the Cuban people against these despots who are not just reigning terror in Cuba, but now have their puppet, Chavez in Venezuela, and it keeps like a cancer growing. So the idea that a president would take the heart of the cancer that is in Central & South America, and begin to reward behavior that has spread this cancer because of our dilly-dallying and our inattentiveness there-- Now, we're going to reward this type of thuggery, this type of Marxism in our region. We're going to reward a country that is now working with these other countries bring in Iran and the Jihadists who want to set up missile sites and to set up training camps. And so we're going to reward this behavior by opening up and liberalizing. This is the exact wrong message at the exact wrong time.
SANTORUM: When I was a Senator, we did a lot of work with Puerto Rico. I was made aware of problems, for example, in the Medicaid program. We passed things to help with deplorably low reimbursement rates. We also worked on hurricane relief and a whole host of other things as a result of my relationship with many Puerto Ricans in PA.
I believe in self-determination: That the Puerto Rican people should have the opportunity to be able to be able to speak on this. I have supported that. I don't take a position one way or the other on statehood, commonwealth, or independence; that's for the people of Puerto Rico to decide.
But I also supported a lot of things to help the Puerto Rican economy. The poverty & unemployment rates are simply not something that we as Americans should allow to occur in our country. We need to make sure that there are pro-growth, supply side economics to make sure that Puerto Rico can succeed as an economy.
SANTORUM: They're a theocracy. They're a theocracy that has deeply embedded beliefs that the afterlife is better than this life. President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said the principal virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran is martyrdom. So when your principal virtue is to die for Allah, then it's not a deterrent to have a nuclear threat if they would use a nuclear weapon. It is, in fact, an encouragement for them to use their nuclear weapon, and that's why there's a difference between the Soviet Union and China and others and Iran.
Q: What about Pakistan? They are in indifferent ally at best.
SANTORUM: They are not a theocracy. And we're very hopeful of maintaining a more secular state than is in place today. We've had some real serious problems with the Pakistani military. The reason is we have a president that's just very weak in that region of the world and is not respected.
We must move beyond our 9/10 mentality--ignoring clear threats. We must broaden our 9/11 mentality--solely focusing on a shadowing terrorist network thousands of miles away. Instead, we must immediately understand that we are facing a new enemy and entering a new age of international threats to this country and her allies.
As President, I would exhaust every diplomatic option before exercising military might, but we cannot take military action against Iran off the table--because a nuclear Iran is gravely dangerous for American security and Israeli survival.
I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, or from North Korea or from Iran, and you're gonna work on a nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe.
And if people say, well you can't go out and assassinate people, well tell that to al-Awlaki. Okay, we've done it. We've done it for American citizens. We can certainly do it for someone whose producing a nuclear bomb that can be dropped in the state of Israel or provides a nuclear shield for country that will spread terrorism with impunity and change the face of the world."
SANTORUM: We should be establishing relationships in Pakistan with allies of ours, folks like Pres. Musharraf. So if in fact something like [a coup] would occur, we could work in concert to make sure that that coup could be overturned and make sure those nuclear weapon do not fall in those hands. But working with allies at that point is the last thing we want to do. We want to work in that country to make sure the problem is defused.
PAUL: The senator is wrong on his history. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the blowback came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem.
SANTORUM: Anyone that suggests that Iran is not a threat to this country or is not a threat to stability in the Middle East is obviously not seeing the world very clearly. He sees it exactly the way that Barack Obama sees it, that we have to go around and apologize for the fact that we've gone out and exerted our influence to create freedom around the world. I don't apologize for that. I don't apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they're under a mullacracy that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all throughout their society.
The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military.
For example, A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and that we imperiled our future in the process.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)51; N)49
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