2016 Foreign Policy Platform
Graham Ferguson

1. A Republican Foreign Policy – Foreign Affairs (2004): http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59921/chuck-hagel/a-republican-foreign-policy

This article focuses on the fundamental basic principles of Republican foreign policy, and how the party must also adjust for the future. In the past, republicans have been focused primarily on the principles of defense and security at all costs, as a method of thwarting any and all threats. For years, republicans have relied on a platform demanding swift and strong responses to any threat to the United States – and it has worked in the past.In accordance with republican values, deficits and entitlement programs undermine confidence and economic success, serving only to lower the United States’ presence in the global picture.

According to the article, written in 2004, at the very beginning of the United States involvement in the Middle East, the reader is given an already negative-shifting perspective on the war. Even in 2004, journalists, pundits, and politicians had begun to see the need for a new approach to foreign policy. To address globalization, republicans should grant more focus on domestic educational policies that stress foreign languages, cultures, and history, along with a greater number of programs that allow students to study abroad. Programs that encourage these fields of study can more adequately prepare students for foreign relations in an ever-globalizing world.

The article breaks down foreign policy into several principles that the Republican Party must adapt in order to maintain relevance. Among them are a commitment to leadership. This starts at the top – with the President. There should also be a heavy concentration on free markets and free trade agreements, as economic success has long been observed as a strength of the Republican Party. Foreign policy should focus on good governance, economic freedom, and investment in others for the greater good. Republicans should additionally work tirelessly with global institutions such as NATO, the UN, and others to strengthen ties and alliances that will promote not only diplomacy, but also economic opportunity. Republicans should also devise policies to focus on our immediate neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, and to combat poverty, disease, hunger, and other global needs.

These principles, among others will serve to elevate the Republican Party’s foreign policy platform to make it relevant once again by 2016.

2. Calm Down About that Republican Letter to Iran – Newsweek (2015) http://www.newsweek.com/calm-down-about-republican-letter-iran-313889

This article is centered around President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran that was passed just weeks ago. In a somewhat frustrated response to the President, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) was quick to criticize the use of yet another executive order. Cotton accused the President of using powers in a way that would dodge Congress, and allow him to pass an agreement that would likely be denied by both the House and the Senate. In response to the action taken by 47 Senate republicans, democrats in both houses of Congress erupted. The article claims that the situation was simply blown well out of proportion and that the letter from Cotton was in fact not that big of a deal.

The nuclear arms nonproliferation issued by the President would allow five countries (Iran included) to maintain their supplies of nuclear weapons of mass-destruction. At a time when the United States population is so drastically divided on the issue of intervention in the Middle-East, Cotton’s letter to the President polarized both sides of the aisle. Since the 1950s, the Republican Party has based its foreign policy approach in the fundamental value of maintaining a strong national defense. This was rooted in Eisenhower and Reagan’s approach to the Soviet Union, and Nixon’s approach to China and Vietnam. Through the 1990s this remained the same – even with the Iranian invasion of Kuwait under the guidance of George HW Bush, but since 9/11, fighting (and winning) the “war on terror” has shifted into the forefront. With the seemingly everlasting issues in Iraq, and Afghanistan, the people of the United States have grown unhappy with this now-complacent approach to foreign policy. The Republican Party is in desperate need of redefining its approach to foreign policy, and drastic measures (such as Cotton’s letter) will serve only to wedge further divides between party lines.

3. Republicans Must Support Free Markets and Fast Track – Foreign Policy (2015)  http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/09/republican-trade-tpp-reagan-markets/

This article, more than anything else, stresses the importance of the Republican Party branding themselves as the “free market” and “free trade” brand. In order to gain the most voters and support, it is vital that the Republican Party focus on this, rather than its former and somewhat aggressive foreign policy approach. Just like the other pieces, this one emphasizes the damages to the platform caused by the United States’ military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to win over the confidence and support of the general public once again in foreign policy – once an area of expertise, republicans must stress the importance of free markets and free trade agreements. In order to strengthen trade agreements, Congress should pass TPA – Trade Promotion Authority, known as a “fast track to allow American negotiators to effectively negotiate…deal[s]” with other nations.

Republicans should stick strongly to these ideas, as free markets and free trade agreements will continue to improve international relationships between the United States and vital commercial partners around the globe. The biggest key is to gain support in two areas – first locally, and then globally. If the people of the United States are behind a foreign policy platform – that for the Republican Party will certainly include trade agreements, it will succeed not just locally, but internationally as well.

The old Republican goal in foreign policy was to establish a brand of international dominance and respect throughout the world. This platform is still absolutely accessible, and would gain great support if the Republican Party could re-brand itself into focusing less on war and more on the both international and domestic gains of an economic focus.

4. Rebooting Republican Foreign Policy – Council on Foreign Relations http://www.cfr.org/world/rebooting-republican-foreign-policy/p29717

This article focuses on the Republican’s desperate need to “reboot” its foreign policy platform, yet it doesn’t offer a crystal clear solution to the problem. The article cites the main reason for the general opinion’s distaste in Republican foreign policy being the loss of confidence following the United States’ intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East in general. From the Eisenhower era in the 1950s, to Reagan in the 1980s, the Republican Party stood firmly on national defense and security above all else. Presidents like Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and even Bush 41, according to the article were able to unite Americans against common enemies such as the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and others. Nixon also took an approach early on in his presidency in relation to China – suggesting that a healthy relationship with the Chinese would benefit trade and economy for generations.

According to this piece, the most vital component to any foreign policy platform is a platform that the vast majority of Americans find favorable. This was the case, especially during the Cold War. First Eisenhower – and later Reagan were able to communicate negative sentiment representative of the general public toward the Soviets. The situation in Vietnam began similar to this, but later, Nixon would wane in popularity as Americans soon became divided in regard to the war.

Similar to the situation in the early 1970s, Americans (and Republicans) find themselves at a crossroads, trying to reboot a failed foreign policy. According to the article, the single-biggest issue was the way George W. Bush – a republican president – handled the situation in the Middle East. In order to restore confidence in the foreign policy of the Republican Party, republicans must learn to work alongside democrats before recovering back to the platforms of Ike, Nixon, and Reagan.

Republicans & Foreign Policy - New York Times (2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/opinion/republicans-and-foreign-policy.html?_r=0

Similarly to the previous article, this piece from the New York Times suggests the desperate need for a refurbishment of the Republican Party’s foreign policy platform. According to the piece, outdated platforms from previous Republican presidents simply will not work today because of the imminent distaste with George W. Bush’s handling of the situation in the Middle East. Before the “war on terror,” the United States relied on intimidation and national security at all costs. Also mentioned are politicians such as Rick Perry of Texas, who view foreign policy through only the lenses of their home state – Perry’s being Texas, according to the article, puts him somewhat out of touch when it comes to the national sentiment toward foreign policy.

This article was written in 2011, just over a year before the 2012 election, and while the United States was still involved in two wars in the Middle East. President Obama campaigned in 2008 on the basis of bringing back troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan – precisely against Republican foreign policy agenda. According to the article, and just like the others above, the cause for the distaste is the United States’ mediocrely successful intervention in the Middle East. It’s as simple as that. Prior to our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Republican Party dominated foreign policy ideals. Unfortunately, the recent failure of this type of policy has tarnished it’s past success in the eyes of the general public.

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