John Kasich on Foreign Policy
Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President
Trump told members of the U.N. General Assembly that his administration "reject[s] the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism."
I choose cooperation and engagement. Only those who have forgotten the lessons of history can credibly contend that peace and prosperity await us inside "Fortress America." Yet the way forward is not to retreat but to renew our commitment to supporting those who share our values, to reboot our capacity to collaborate, and to forge a new consensus on how to adapt our policies and institutions to the new era.
On challenge after challenge, we are better off working together than going it alone. To secure our economic future, we must prepare our workers for the future rather than retreat into protectionism.
Beijing is already seeking to convert its economic power into regional influence through such projects as the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure venture, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a rival to Western-led development banks.
Confounding our hopes and expectations, China's regime has managed to deliver economic growth without being forced to democratize. But China is not 12 feet tall: its economy has serious structural flaws, including exceedingly high levels of debt, a cohort of retirees whose living expenses will be difficult to fund, and wages that are increasingly uncompetitive with those paid by China's neighbors. Nor is China a monolith: like the U.S., the country is riven by rival factions, leading to infighting that diverts productive resources.
Another difference between the rivalry with China today and that with the Soviet Union during the Cold War is that China and the United States are so economically intertwined. This means not only that the two countries will remain co-dependent for the foreseeable future but also that relations between them need not be a zero-sum game. There are ample opportunities to pursue strategies with China that can adapt the world system to reflect Beijing's growing international role while benefiting both sides. Those opportunities include reining in North Korea, addressing climate change, and promoting international investment and economic growth.
KASICH: The most important thing is that you have a national security team that can give you a diversity of opinions. When I run my government here in Ohio, I don't want everybody to think the same way. And we learned that all the way back when John Kennedy was president. It's a problem called groupthink. A decision-maker needs to hear a variety of opinions. And the most important thing we need to do is engage the world, not fight with them over trade, not yell and scream at them, not act unilaterally, not withdraw from the Paris accord, you know, like we did, not, you know, starting with the sanctions against China without having the rest of the world, to go unilaterally on Iran. All it does is isolate us. And America cannot build a wall around itself. The rest of the world in the Western part of the world depends on us and our values and being the strong leader.
Quick answer: Yes.
KASICH: What they are saying is, it is vital that the administration be on the same page. And there is a question that, in a time of crisis, where will America be? And I think it's just critically important that all the signals coming out of the administration are very solid and very consistent with the fact that we all stand together in the Western alliance, that we stand strong for NATO. The president's people have all said it, but, frankly, the president needs to be heard in a more clear, in a more passionate way. I have been meeting with all these folks from all over the world. They say: "We're just not sure" [what Trump thinks]. So it's really critical that they speak with one voice on all these critical matters of national security and supporting our Western alliance, which has kept the peace since World War II.
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.
Sen. Marco RUBIO: Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn't do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.
KASICH: I don't believe the United States should involve itself in civil wars. Civil wars are not in our direct are interest. The fact is, is that we should go to war when it is our direct interest. We should not be policemen of the world, but when we go, we mean business. We'll do our job. We'll tell our soldiers, our people in the service, take care of your job and then come home once we've accomplished our goals.
He acknowledged that as governor he does not have the ability to prevent refugees from moving to his state. "We don't have the authority; we can only express our concerns," Kasich said. "I'm criticized for having a big heart but I also have a big brain," he said.
He urged the federal government to "pause," and put in place stringent background checks before allowing Syrians to enter the US. He said refugees should be relocated to "safe zones" located on the borders of Turkey and Jordan and are protected by no fly zones.
KASICH: China doesn't own the South China Sea, and I give the president some credit for being able to move a naval force in there to let the Chinese know that we're not going to put up with it any more.
Kasich also sharply criticized President Barack Obama for what he said were years of inaction in the region that has allowed Assad to remain in power. "No more dickering, no more delaying, no more negotiations, he has to go," Kasich said of Assad. "The longer we look at the void that America has created in this world, the more chaos we have. The time has come for the United States to act."
KASICH: We don't know what's going to happen in 18 months. I've been on the Defense Committee for 18 years, and you got to be careful not to paint red lines that you can't keep. In addition to that, I think we ought to hold Iran totally accountable for what they do, if they break any part of this deal, if they fund the radicals like Hamas and Hezbollah. In that kind of case, we've got to slap the sanctions back on. We would then have the high moral ground to talk to our allies and get them to go along with us. But in addition to that, if we get to the point where we think that Iran may be developing a nuclear [bomb], well then I think military action would be warranted. But let's wait until we get there and let's stay calm because that's one of the most important things we need to do when it comes to foreign affairs.
KASICH: I support that. I think it's important that we don't let anybody infiltrate who's part of a radical group. But America needs to be part of this solution. It's fundamentally a European problem, but I think there are some things we can do. Beyond taking [in] these people, I think we can provide some logistical support so people aren't losing their lives. And in addition, maybe some humanitarian aid.
Q: And in the long run?
KASICH: We need to look at this as an opportunity to try to draw closer to our European friends. Finally, I think it's important that Europe and Western civilizations begin to stand up for their fundamental values, their primarily Jewish and Christian values, so that when these folks come, we can have assimilation. So they don't change us, but maybe in some way we either change them or live peacefully with them and we have full integration.
"Many of our states have divestment policies as well as restrictions against state contractors doing business with the government of Iran. We intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect."
KASICH: Well, I think maybe this is an opportunity for the United States and the western world to work together to solve what is an unbelievable crisis. And I think we do have a responsibility in terms of taking some more folks in, making sure they assimilate, and at the same time helping people to actually be safe as they move. That's logistical support. But this is fundamentally an issue that Europe has to come to grips with. We can provide some humanitarian aid to them. But the bottom line is we should have been supporting the Syrian rebels years ago. I pitched Boehner and McCain on it, the administration ignored it. This thing could be over by now. But when the United States draws red lines and walks away without a solid policy, we see human tragedy unfolding right before our eyes.
KASICH: Well, I think radical Islam really is number one. And, you know, I've said all along we should have a coalition. We should be there, including boots on the ground. And we need to degrade and destroy ISIS. Number one.
Q: You would be sending more troops?
KASICH: Well, I would have them in a role where they're going to be on the ground fighting. I mean, you've got the air power, but you can't solve anything just with air power. But I would be part of a coalition and I would take them down and begin to destroy the caliphate.
As Saudi Arabia has courted international controversy--by launching a bloody war in Yemen last year and embarking on a steep increase in executions for minor or political crimes-- the country has also ramped up its efforts to influence the American policy debate. Still, one of the main goals of Saudi outreach is to promote the idea that the country serves as a strong ally to U.S. efforts in Syria, a point referenced by Kasich. The truth, however, is that Saudi shifted much of its military from striking ISIS targets in Syria to focus on the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Q: Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Vietnam?
Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty?
Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Asia?
Q: Do you support the deployment of US troops to the former Yugoslavia?
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