Hunstman: America Needs 'Agile' Foreign Policy

Friday, 07 Oct 2011 11:41 AM

By Dan Weil

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Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman advocates a reassessment of our foreign and military policy.

In an opinion piece written for Politico, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China seems to support the idea of defense spending cuts, though he doesn’t say so explicitly. He does make clear his opposition to the ideas of fellow candidate Mitt Romney, criticizing them repeatedly.

“To protect American interests, we need to transform our foreign policy for the modern world,” Huntsman writes. “Simply advocating for more ships, more troops, and more weapons isn’t a viable foreign policy. We need more agility, more intelligence, and more economic engagement with the world.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said Thursday that he favors adding 100,000 troops, at least 15 new ships, and raising the defense budget to 4 percent of gross domestic product from 3.8 percent currently.

Instead of nation-building, we should focus on working with allies and repairing the economy, Huntsman says. “This is how we will fight the enemy we have and renew American exceptionalism.”

The military needs to be restructured, he argues. “We are still saddled with a top-heavy, post-Cold War infrastructure. It needs to be rethought and reduced. To use corporate terminology, it needs to be right-sized.”

With the cold war over, we must shift the emphasis to economic partnerships and trade agreements, Huntsman says.

“In stark contrast, many of my fellow Republican candidates appear to advocate the status quo: more military entanglements and more spending,” he writes, citing Romney in particular. “This sort of thinking, especially at a time when our country is streaking toward unsustainable levels of debt, is flawed.”

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