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Is Cruz an “Isolationist”?

Jonathan Tobin comments on the hype surrounding Ted Cruz, and makes an important error:

It should also be pointed out that unlike Rubio and most of the other major GOP contenders, Cruz’s stands on foreign and defense issues have been closer to that of isolationist Rand Paul than the Republican mainstream.

It should go without saying that the isolationist label is pejorative and inaccurate, as it normally is, but Tobin errs badly when he describes Cruz this way. When Cruz was running in the primary race, I compared his foreign policy views with those of his opponent Dewhurst. Unsurprisingly, I found that there were no real differences between them (to the extent that either of them said anything about the subject), which was typical of the primary contest as a whole. There weren’t meaningful disagreements on policy between the two, least of all on foreign policy issues, and Cruz’s stated views on foreign policy marked him clearly as a conventional Republican hawk. It’s true that Cruz received endorsements from Ron and Rand Paul, and it’s also true that he was the Tea Party-favored insurgent in the race against the candidate favored by most of the state party leadership, but all of this had to do with Cruz’s domestic policy views. As far as I have been able to tell, he is much less skeptical of military action against Iran than Sen. Paul. Cruz has said that he opposes long-term nation-building, and doesn’t want the U.S. to be in Afghanistan “in perpetuity,” but there are very few elected Republicans that would disagree with those positions at this point. It’s very curious and misleading to describe Cruz as being more in line with Rand Paul on foreign policy, when the evidence indicates that he would be very comfortable agreeing with most of what Rubio has said about these issues.

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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