Ted Cruz made some remarks at an old CNN town hall* that capture much of what’s wrong with his foreign policy views:
Ripping to shred the Iranian nuclear deal, and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. Both of those are within the power of the president, but they’re also powerfully symbolic. You know, moving the embassy to Israel tells Israel, it tells all of our allies, it tells our enemies, America is back. You know, Obama in his opening weeks, he sent back the bust of Winston Churchill to the United Kingdom. If I’m elected president, Winston Churchill is coming back to the Oval Office.
So as secretary of state we need someone strong, someone who defends this country, someone who represents this country.
Look, I’m not in the position right now to be naming cabinet appointments, but I’ll tell you, a secretary of state in a Cruz administration would be someone like John Bolton, would be someone who is strong, who defends this country, who stands by our allies and stand up to our enemies [bold mine-DL].
Some of this nothing more than the usual hawkish boilerplate, but it gives us a good idea of how irresponsible Cruz’s foreign policy would be and how bad his judgment is. He stresses the importance of “standing by our allies,” but one of his top priorities–scrapping the nuclear deal–would require abandoning an agreement that the U.S. made alongside three of its most important allies. Likewise, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would not only be a bad diplomatic move because the U.S. doesn’t recognize the city as the capital for good reasons, but it would break with many allied governments that also have their embassies in Tel Aviv. What Cruz wants to do amounts to nothing more than reckless unilateralism that will embarrass or anger many of our allies while achieving absolutely nothing. Bolton would be a perfect fit to carry out Cruz’s bad ideas, since he would have no problem riding roughshod over allied governments when they get in the way of bad policies he favors.
The obsession with the Churchill bust shows that Cruz is concerned most of all with making symbolic gestures of support for allies. The contempt for the nuclear deal shows that he has no respect for the diplomatic success that the U.S. had working with our allies. Cruz is happy to feign support for allies when it requires no more than an empty gesture, but when it comes to honoring important agreements that the U.S. made with allied governments he couldn’t care less about their views or interests.
* These remarks are from mid-February.