Gov. Chris Christie Faces Doubts on Foreign Policy Acumen

Image: Gov. Chris Christie Faces Doubts on Foreign Policy Acumen (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 10:46 AM

By Melanie Batley

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be under increasing scrutiny by the GOP for his foreign policy knowledge after recent comments prompted doubts about his international savvy, The New York Times reported.

The potential GOP presidential contender raised eyebrows after suggesting to activists that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Crimea under a Christie presidency.

"For a variety of reasons, mastery of foreign relations is likely to become a bigger-than-usual yardstick in the 2016 Republican presidential contest," the Times said, adding that the GOP is keen to avoid repeating mistakes of the 2012 presidential primary when a number of candidates demonstrated a lack of international knowledge.

"The question for the party is whether Mr. Christie, whose political ascent was powered by a lacerating, undiplomatic personality, could be the right messenger," the Times said.

"This is something the governor has struggled with, because it's so far outside his realm of experience," Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University, told the Times.

Christie is making a concerted effort to develop his foreign policy knowledge by consulting with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and a number of Republican experts, such as Robert Zoellick, a career diplomat and former head of the World Bank, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Christie will begin a three-day trade mission to Mexico, which will include meetings with CEOs from the country's largest companies, two keynote addresses, and a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, NJ.com reported.

"In traveling to Mexico, Gov. Christie has the opportunity to nurture his relationship with Latino voters, and highlight the strong support he has received from Latino voters to a national GOP constituency," Harrison told NJ.com. "He also has the opportunity to appear as an international statesman on the world stage."

Some say it's still early days and are confident that Christie can develop his expertise in time for a possible run, like other contenders before him have done.

"My view is that he'll have work to do, but he's up to the task," Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, told the Times.

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