John Kasich on Foreign Policy

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President


America First should not be America Alone

Kasich criticized President Trump over his rebuke of "globalism" during remarks at the United Nations, while taking a cue from Trump's 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Kasich warned Trump that his policy of "America First" could result in "America Alone." He added that the U.S. and other nations are "Stronger Together," a nod to Clinton's campaign slogan.

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."

Source: John Bowden in The Hill: 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Sep 26, 2018

Cooperation and engagement instead of "Fortress America"

Although American leaders should always put American interests first, that does not mean that we have to build walls, close off markets, or isolate the United States by acting in ways that alienate our allies. Continuing to do that will not insulate us from external challenges; it will simply turn us into bystanders with less and less influence.

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.

Source: 2020 presidential hopeful Kasich column in Foreign Affairs , Jun 6, 2018

China is converting economic power into regional influence

China wants to push the US out of the western Pacific, undermine our alliances in the region, and re-create a Sinocentric sphere of influence in Asia free from challenges to its authoritarian rule.

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.

Source: 2020 presidential hopeful Kasich column in Foreign Affairs , Jun 6, 2018

Opportunity to cooperate with China instead of containment

China does not need to be contained as the Soviet Union once did, since its provocative behavior is already driving some of its neighbors into our arms. Indeed, through its actions, Beijing can largely be counted on to contain itself.

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.

Source: 2020 presidential hopeful Kasich column in Foreign Affairs , Jun 6, 2018

Engage the world, instead of acting unilaterally

Q: Do you support John Bolton to be the president's national security adviser?

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.

Source: CNN 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Mar 25, 2018

FactCheck: Yes, U.S. economy bigger than next two combined

John Kasich claimed, regarding the size of the U.S. economy, that "We're bigger than the next two economies--China and Japan-combined," (p. 236 of his book, "Two Paths"). Is that true?

Quick answer: Yes.

Bottom line: Kasich's claim is accurate for when he wrote the book, and will certainly be accurate during the upcoming 2020 election, and likely for the 2024 election too.
Source: OnTheIssues Fact-Check on Two Paths, by John Kasich, p.236 , Apr 25, 2017

NATO & Western alliance has kept the peace since WWII

Q: What are world leaders saying to you about President Trump?

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.

Source: CNN "State of the Union" 2017 interview by Jim Sciutto , Feb 19, 2017

I have a longer track record with Israel than any candidate

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.

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.

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

Chinese are best way to calm down North Korea

We should be intercepting the ships that are leaving North Korea. Secondly, the same goes with the aircraft. Thirdly, we need to slap even tougher sanctions on North Korea. We ought to talk about arming South Korea and Japan with ballistic missile technology. The Chinese are the best way to calm that regime down and get them in a position of where they back off.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

US should not be world's police in places like Iraq

Dr. Ben CARSON: I was not particularly in favor of us going to war in Iraq, primarily because I have studied the Middle East, recognizing that those are nations that are ruled by dictators and have been for thousands of years. When you remove one of those dictators, unless you have an appropriate plan for replacing them, you're going to have chaos.

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.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Supports Saudi Arabia but knock it off with radical clerics

In terms of Saudi Arabia, look, my biggest problem with them is they're funding radical clerics. That is a bad deal and presidents have looked the other way. We better make it clear to the Saudis that we're going to support you, we're in relation with you just like we were in the first Gulf War, but you've got to knock off the funding of radical clerics who are the people who try to destroy us.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

We need coalition of Arab countries, like Bush-41 did

If we're going to have a coalition, we're going to have to have a coalition not just of people in the western part of the world, our European allies, but we need the Saudis, we need the Egyptians, we need the Jordanians, we need the Gulf states. We need Jordan. We need all of them to be part of exactly what the first George Bush put together in the first Gulf War. It was a coalition made up of Arabs and Americans and westerners and we're going to need it again.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Pause accepting Syrian refugees to create stringent checks

An issue that has sparked controversy is what to do about Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war there. The US has said it will accept 10,000 refugees but more than half of the country's governors, mostly Republicans, have expressed concern about refugees coming into their states. Kasich, who said just 2 months earlier that the US should accept refugees from Syria, sent a letter to Pres. Obama this week urging the federal government to not send any more Syrian refugees.

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.

Source: 2016 presidential hopefuls on Syrian Refugees by NBC News , Nov 17, 2015

China doesn't own the South China Sea; show US Navy there

Q: What about China claiming artificial islands in the South China Sea, and Obama's response?

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.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

No more dickering & delays: Syria's Assad has got to go

Kasich called out Russia, which this week began airstrikes in Syria. Moscow maintains the strikes are targeting Islamic State fighters but U.S. officials have disputed that claim, saying the areas hit were strongholds of rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. "We're not interested in military cooperation in Syria with Russia," Kasich said. "Their only interest is in propping up their puppet, Assad. They used the pretext of ISIS to go in and bomb rebels who are trying to remove Assad."

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."

Source: A.P./Yahoo News 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 2, 2015

Keep Iran accountable, WITHIN the existing Nuclear Deal

Q: A number of your rivals say they would rip up the Iran nuclear deal their first day in the White House. What do you mean when you say you "don't get that"?

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.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 13, 2015

Syrian refugee situation is fundamentally a European crisis

Q: What about the refugee crisis as a result of the Syrian war? Do you support taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees this year?

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.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 13, 2015

Against nuclear deal with Iran; keep state sanctions

Fifteen Republican governors wrote a letter to President Obama opposing the Iran nuclear deal: "If implemented, this agreement would lead to the lifting of United States nuclear-related sanctions on Iran without any guarantee that Iran's drive toward obtaining a nuclear weapon will be halted or even slowed. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, and it should not be permitted any pathway toward obtaining a nuclear weapon, now or ever. The lifting of federal sanctions that will result from this agreement will only result in Iran having more money available to fund terrorist groups and attacks. The people of our states will not be safer as a result of this agreement, much less citizens of countries like Israel which Iran has threatened to destroy.

"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."

Source: Letter to Pres. Obama from 15 Governors on Iran nuclear deal , Sep 8, 2015

Refugee crisis is on Europe, but US also has responsibility

Q: Many are now calling for the United States to take in more Syrian refugees. Should we?

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.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 6, 2015

Fight ISIS with a coalition including US ground troops

Q: Biggest, toughest foreign policy challenge for the next president?

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.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 26, 2015

Criticizes Saudis for extremism in Sunni-Shia split

During the Fox Business Network debate in Charleston, the moderator asked John Kasich about Saudi Arabia's recent execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The Ohio governor is nearly alone in discussing Saudi Arabian support to Sunni extremist groups in such a public forum.

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.

Source: Lee Fang in The Intercept on 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 15, 2015

Phase out economic aid to Russia & others

Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

No diplomatic relations with Cuba nor Vietnam

Q: Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba?

A: No.

Q: Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Vietnam?

A: No.

Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty?

A: No.

A: Yes.

Q: Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Asia?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the deployment of US troops to the former Yugoslavia?

A: No.

Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Heed the clear warning of the Cox Report

[Regarding the Cox Report,] “The espionage report sounds a clear warning,” said Rep. John Kasich of Ohio. “Only time will tell if we take heed.”
Source: Associated Press, “Republicans on China”, by K. Srinivasan , May 26, 1999

Engage internationally but choose missions carefully

Theodore Roosevelt understood when military action brought no advantage. When regional instability arose, like the war between Russia and Japan, his instinct was to be an “honest broker” and mediate peace. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for these efforts. The US should remain strongly engaged internationally, because regional instability will not solve itself. But we must choose our missions carefully. Power is a finite quantity; if we wantonly expend it, for any cause, we diminish ourselves.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999, on 2000 election , Apr 16, 1999

Focus on terrorism, oil, & nuclear development

The US needs to develop a clear, consistent foreign policy that places the country’s interests first, Kasich said. The US should stay out of the Kosovo conflict and concentrate on preventing terrorist bomb and biological weapons attacks. [US involvement should be based on] national interests. In the 1992 Gulf War, this country had a stake, he said: “Whether we like it or not, the US depends on oil.” [Other interests include] the development of nuclear weapons and whether there’s an achievable goal.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Kasich Taps In”, 3/22/99 , Mar 22, 1999

Voted YES on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction.

Vote on an amendment that would transfer $156 million from foreign military financing to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Trust Fund. The HIPC Trust fund is designed to help debtor countries pay off the money they owe to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Waters, D-CA; Bill HR 4811 ; vote number 2000-397 on Jul 13, 2000

Voted YES on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.

Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually. The measure contains provisions designed to protect the United States from Chinese import surges and the administration would have to report annually on China's compliance with the trade agreement. The bill establishes a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4444 ; vote number 2000-228 on May 24, 2000

Voted YES on $15.2 billion for foreign operations.

Vote on a bill to provide $15.2 billion for foreign operations in FY 2000. Among other provisions, the bill would provide $1.82 billion over three years for implementation of the Wye River peace accord in the Middle East. In addition, the measure would provide $123 million in multilateral debt relief and would contribute $25 million to the United National Population Fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Callahan, R-AL; Bill HR 3196 ; vote number 1999-572 on Nov 5, 1999

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