Paul Ryan gave a speech today at the Center for a New American Security, in which he misrepresented his foreign policy views:
Ryan, a skilled politician, is clearly trying to maintain his standing with both sides of the party. In the CNAS speech, he described himself as a “heavily-armed dove” [bold mine-DL] — a name that both interventionists and isolationists could theoretically adopt.
It’s mildly interesting that some hawkish Republicans seem to be embarrassed to admit what they are, but it’s still absurd to think that Ryan could qualify as a dove in any sense. There is almost no military action that the U.S. has taken overseas that Ryan hasn’t supported. The only time that Ryan has come out against a proposed intervention was last year during the Syria debate, and opposing the “limited” strikes on Syria doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Indeed, Ryan objected to the proposed strikes because he believed them to be too limited:
The president says a show of force will preserve our credibility. But a feckless show of force will only damage our credibility.
That is consistent with Ryan’s well-established record as a foreign policy hawk. Like almost all Republicans in Congress at the time, Ryan voted for the Iraq war authorization, but he has also become a predictable supporter of more aggressive policies across the board. He may say that he doesn’t think the U.S. needs a “more militarized foreign policy,” but in practice he has opposed every effort to have a less militarized one. He has resisted reducing military spending, indulged in fear-mongering about Russian or Chinese hegemony replacing ours, and has opposed withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. In this latest speech, he specifically called for spending more on the military. When he faults the administration on foreign policy, he usually objects to Obama’s unwillingness to use force or his supposed lack of credibility in threatening force. This was true before he was Romney’s running mate in 2012, it was true during the campaign, and it still true now.
Ryan’s claim to be a dove is obviously false, and it is intended to distract us from his real record.