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Cruz’s Preposterous Foreign Policy Team


Jacob Heilbrunn sums up my reaction to Ted Cruz’s list of foreign policy advisers:

If Cruz was seeking to burnish his bona fides as the new Joseph McCarthy of the GOP, whom he physically resembles, then he has done well. But his motley crew of advisers further tarnishes the Republican party.

Cruz has cobbled together a group of conspiracy theorists and fanatical hard-liners to advise him on foreign policy. This is not very surprising for anyone that has listened to the senator talk about foreign policy issues for very long, but it’s worth noting. He has criticized interventions in Libya and Syria, and he has faulted neoconservatives for their dangerous support for regime change in the past, but on many other issues he has no disagreements with neoconservatives at all. When Cruz disagrees with them, he often does so for hawkish nationalist reasons that lead him to endorse a different set of reckless and irresponsible policies.

The presence of Frank Gaffney and Andrew McCarthy among his advisers is not at all surprising, but it confirms what we already know about Cruz. Cruz’s main objection to regime change in some predominantly Muslim countries stems from his obsession with exaggerating the threat from jihadist and Islamist groups, and he shares that obsession with these advisers. Gaffney is also responsible for inspiring Cruz’s interest in the imaginary threat from EMPs, which along with hallucinating Muslim Brotherhood takeovers of the government is one of his major preoccupations.

Heilbrunn mentions that Gaffney has been waging a long-running smear campaign against Grover Norquist, but the more significant lie that Gaffney has been spreading for years is that U.S. foreign policy is being directed by the Muslim Brotherhood. That is just one of his many absurd claims over the years. This is the sort of unhinged, obvious nonsense that is usually not even worth addressing, but since one of the top two Republican candidates for president is listening to someone like this it worth calling attention to it. Cruz has proven once again that he has terrible foreign policy judgment, and he disqualifies himself by indulging the worst sort of conspiracy theorizing and alarmism.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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