Scott Walker is applying for a new job: President of the United States. The Wisconsin governor's announcement Monday makes him the 15th Republican to enter the race to the White House. But make no mistake: Walker has been running long before candidates became rolling in for the Presidency. The governor has made a name for himself with his union-busting career, and by winning a recall election against the heavily-funded Tom Barrett — making him the first governor to survive a recall election and upping his chances for the big election. But Walker has a weakness that his Senate counterparts are using to their advantage: foreign policy experience. Or, in Walker's case, a lack of foreign policy experience.
Walker is vulnerable when it comes to foreign policy, and he knows it. Take, for instance, when the governor visited Israel, meeting with Israeli politicians on top of the Golan Heights, but shied away from talking to any press. Perhaps Walker's most cringeworthy moment was when he was asked about how he would handle the Islamic State at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and compared his experience with labor unions in his state to the terrorist network. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” said Walker after an extensive explanation.
To make matters worse, former Texas Governor Rick Perry — who once told a reporter that he thinks the next president would be a governor — criticized Walker’s statement as “inappropriate” and a “mistake.” The Wisconsin governor also told Face the Nation that he’s the “most qualified” candidate on foreign policy, since he visited six countries. Let’s assess Walker’s foreign policy experience and viewpoints, shall we?
When Walker spoke with ABC News’ Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on his “big bold idea” for Syria, he echoed sentiments familiar to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain: preemptive military action.
While Walker is gaining favorability by positioning himself as separate from the D.C. contenders, when it comes to the Islamic State, he fits right in with the hawkish Washington machine. When it comes to boots on the ground, “he wouldn’t rule anything out”. His strategy to defeat the extremist ideology is by going “beyond just aggressive air strikes” and being “prepared to put boots on the ground.”
“I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it's not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it's when,” Walker told Raddatz. “And we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we're willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical.”
Surgical. That’s not a word appealing to most Americans, and neither is the idea of placing “boots on the ground” for another conflict in the Middle East. Walker’s interview with Raddatz reaffirms that his beliefs are naïve. If U.S. troops were to invade Syria, it could cause more security threats, economic turmoil, and even more American lives lost. Let the aftermath of the Bush Administration’s Iraq and Afghanistan invasions serve as your example.
If Scott Walker becomes President, take diplomacy off the table when dealing with Iran. The primary groundwork for a nuclear agreement with Iran would slow down the country's continuing nuclear operations by limiting the activity of one centrifuge site and converting the second site to a research facility. In addition, Iran can no longer produce weapons-grade plutonium with the Arak nuclear reactor. In return, the United States and their European allies will lift all sanctions against the country.
But like Senator Tom Cotton, Scott Walker doesn’t like that at all. When asked by Wisconsin radio personality Charlie Sykes if he would cancel the Iran nuclear agreements, Walker didn’t hesitate:
“Absolutely. If I ultimately choose to run, and if I’m honored to be elected by the people of this country, I will pull back on that on January 20, 2017, because the last thing — not just for the region but for this world — we need is a nuclear-armed Iran,” Walker said on Sykes’ conservative radio show. “It leaves not only problems for Israel, because they want to annihilate Israel, it leaves the problems in the sense that the Saudis, the Jordanians and others are gonna want to have access to their own nuclear weapons.”
The Wisconsin Governor’s position on the Iranian nuclear deal is contradicting to the talking points made by major GOP foreign policy hawks, who take pride in standing behind their European allies. Turning back on a nuclear agreement made in conjunction with Europe would be a great blow to our alliances in the region.
Israel and Palestine
When running for President, there are three major campaign stops candidates need to make: Iowa, New Hampshire, and Israel. In these elections, the one stance that remains consistent among all candidates — Republican or Democrat — is their unapologetic, relentless support for Israel. Scott Walker isn’t an exception.
When Walker visited Israel — rather quietly, since he wasn’t talking to the press — he met with top Israeli politicians like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Israeli Labor Party Issac Herzog, and the Knesset. It also seems like he made a favorable impression among Israelis. He made all the religious rites of passage that a non-denominational Evangelical Christian should make on a trip to the Holy Land: Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, Golan Heights, and the Holocaust memorial. And he came back to the United States with a not-so-surprising recycled statement: Palestine is not ready for statehood, because they currently are a major threat to Israel.
On Sean Hannity’s radio program, Walker said that a helicopter trip made him capable of understanding the security threats Israel faces: “We were looking there and you could see in a helicopter up in the air, you could see the close threats were from Hezbollah, the Islamic State, down to the problems in Gaza.”
Walker went on to say that Israel needs to build stronger borders in order for Palestine to achieve statehood: “You could just see why they are so concerned. And when people bring up a two-state solution, and I’ve said as well after being there, certainly it’s not the time for that now. They need defensible and secure borders and they’re a long way off from having that happen,” he added.
No word on the numerous intensive checkpoints for Palestinian civilians and the 25 feet tall, 403 mile long wall keeping Palestinians out of Israel, though. Walker also didn't provide any statement when the Gaza War left Israel compromising their public support over the more than 2000 Palestinians killed — 50 percent of whom were civilians.
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