GOP 2012 candidates: Meet the hawks and the doves

GOP candidates' foreign policy expertise ranges from provincial to ambassadorial

As the quadrennial extravaganza that is the US presidential election approaches, Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy magazine examines the foreign policy credentials of the current crop of candidates contesting the Republican nomination. His analysis throws up some interesting results:

Jon Huntsman is identified as the only foreign policy expert amongst the main contenders. The former US ambassador to China is viewed as an FP realist; his proximity to the Obama administration could hurt him in the primaries however.

Mitt Romney is trying to balance his talk of renewed American primacy with a realisation that the country is tired of an interventionist FP, and no longer has the money to sustain it.

Tim Pawlenty is staking out his ground as a hawk but doesn’t want to be tagged with the neoconservative label. Contrary to the GOP line, Pawlenty called for a more direct American involvement in removing Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Critics remain unimpressed with the former Governor of Minnesota.

Michelle Bachmann, Tea Party wild card, is also sounding a hawkish note in pushing isolationist impulses toward an aggressive national security agenda.

Ron Paul is probably the most isolationist candidate running for the nomination. He is critical of overseas aid and opposes nation-building in the Middle East.

Whilst pundits are unsure of the extent to which foreign policy issues will feature in the upcoming presidential campaign, the belated introduction of Sarah Palin to the GOP field would certainly provide a distinctive voice on which of the candidates is best qualified to approach US-Russia relations.

Whoever wins the White House will have to address America’s worsening debt crisis. The BBC’s former North America editor and expert speaker on US politics Justin Webb, analyses the financial predicament the next President faces. Will there be any money to spend on foreign policy, or is America doomed?

International Affairs & Security Politics & Government