Mike Huckabee on Foreign Policy

Former Republican AR Governor; possible draft candidate


Not our role to create desire for democracy in Afghanistan

Q: Do we need to be in Afghanistan?

HUCKABEE: Only if there is a concerted effort to destroy the advance of radical Islamists who are against us. As far as what are we going to make it look like, frankly, I don't know what we can make it look like. You can't create for other people a desire for freedom and democracy. And frankly, that is not the role of the United States. The role of the United States military is not to build schools; it is not to build bridges; it is not to go around and pass out food packets. It is to kill and destroy our enemy and make America safe and that is the purpose we should be there if we're going to be there.

Source: Fox Business 2016 Republican Undercard debate , Jan 14, 2016

Reagan said "trust, but verify"; Obama: "trust, but vilify"

Sen. PAUL [to Huckabee]: I oppose the Iranian deal, and will vote against it. I don't think that the president negotiated from a position of strength, but I don't immediately discount negotiations. I'm a Reagan conservative. Reagan did negotiate with the Soviets. But you have to negotiate from a position of strength, and I think President Obama gave away too much, too early.

HUCKABEE: Ronald Reagan said "trust, but verify." President Obama is "trust, but vilify." He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him. And the reason we disagree with him has nothing to do with party. It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing. We didn't even get four hostages out. We got nothing, and Iran gets everything they want. We said we would have anywhere, anytime negotiations and inspections, we gave that up. We said that we would make sure that they didn't have any nuclear capacity, we gave that up.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Governors have world views; I've been all over the Mideast

Q: You got good reviews when you were governor of Arkansas for the most part. But do you consider yourself qualified to handle foreign policy? What can you bring to that?

HUCKABEE: Well, a lot of people don't know my first trip to the Middle East was in 1973, 42 years ago, when I was all of 17. I have been to the Middle East several dozen times. Just got back from Israel last month, was there three times just last year. I have been to virtually every country that we talk about, whether it's Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Turkey, Pakistan, India. This is a part of the world with which I am familiar firsthand. And as a governor, I also met with many world leaders, as well as CEOs of multinational corporations. And, frankly, most governors do. I think it's sometimes perceived that governors don't have much of a world view. I would tend to take issue that that is not always the case.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 29, 2015

Globalists & corporatists are making US more like China

Expressing deep skepticism of proposed free trade agreements, Mike Huckabee warned in Iowa that the US is becoming like communist China. The former Arkansas governor recalled a trip he took to China last year during his appearance at an agricultural summit that drew a number of potential Republican 2016 candidates to the state fairgrounds.

"In China, I felt like they were becoming more like America used to be," he told a crowd of some 900 activists. "But, sadly, America is becoming more like they used to be. Our government is becoming more oppressive; theirs is beginning to ease up. We have a lot of globalists and frankly corporatists instead of having nationalists who put forward the best interests of the United States and working families," he added.

Source: Politico.com coverage of 2015 Iowa Agricultural Summit , Mar 7, 2015

Keep the Cuban embargo; lifting it rewards Cuba

Huckabee was asked why the government has kept the embargo in place against Cuba, even as trade barriers with China have been lifted. Huckabee said that Cuba must make serious concessions before the embargo is scaled back. He said President Barack Obama is sending the wrong message: "If my parents had raised me that way, I'd have been a monster," he said. "They didn't reward me with ice cream & candy every time I did something horrible. Don't give the Chinese and Cubans ice cream & candy," he added.
Source: Politico.com coverage of 2015 Iowa Agricultural Summit , Mar 7, 2015

Urged ending Cuban embargo as governor; now supports embargo

Q: When you were governor, you wrote this in a letter to Pres. Bush about Cuba: “US policy on Cuba has not accomplished its stated goal of toppling the Castro regime and instead has provided Castro with a convenient excuse for his own failed system of government. I urge you to join with me in working to lift the failed embargo.” You then went to Florida and said no, the embargo should stay, saying, “What changed was I’m running for president.” Is that a flip-flop?

A: The embargo was specifically referenced to the rice industry in my state. As the governor of the number one rice producer in the nation, we wanted to export our rice, including to Cuba. The more I became familiar with the oppression of Cuba, I realized that my position was, frankly, short-sighted, and it was based on my local agricultural concerns rather than the more important concerns of Cuba’s oppressive regime. I got to lead the whole country and act in the best interest of how we can best deal with a rogue regime.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series , Feb 10, 2008

Impeach judges who yield on our sovereignty

We should make sure that we never, for any circumstance, under any purpose, ever yield one ounce of our sovereignty over to some international tribunal.

That’s why we need to fight against the Law of the Sea Treaty, and make sure that it gets a good burial at sea. That’s why we should say ‘No’ to Kyoto, because it’s not giving over our sovereignty.

And it’s why whenever a judge invokes any international law as the basis for making a decision, he should be summarily impeached for having done so.

Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Concerned about Putin’s human rights violations & oppression

Q: When you look at President Putin, what do you see?

A: I look at people’s actions, because you can look into their eyes and their eyes can lie, but their actions don’t. When people take actions that cause us to give concern to human rights violations and oppression, their actions are speaking a whole lot louder than their eyes ever will. We need to be recognizing that our foreign policy needs to reflect an extraordinary strength. We’re going to have a military that they’re not wanting to engage for any purpose. Reagan was right, you have peace through strength, not vulnerability. We’ve got to an Army that is well-staffed, well-trained, well-financed, & that is prepared for anything. Hopefully because it is so well-prepared, it never has to be used. We can’t continue to have one that is stretched and pulled, and particularly if we’re going to engage them, we have to make sure we’ve got enough troop strength that we don’t have to have extended deployments out of our guard and reserve units.

Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley , Jan 30, 2008

Law of the Sea Treaty surrenders our sovereignty

My administration will never surrender any of our sovereignty, which is why I was the first presidential candidate to oppose ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would endanger both our national security and our economic interests.
Source: America’s Priorities in the War on Terror: Foreign Affairs , Jan 1, 2008

Change tone of Bush’s arrogant bunker mentality

The United States, as the world’s only superpower, is less vulnerable to military defeat. But it is more vulnerable to the animosity of other countries. Much like a top high school student, if it is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised.

American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. My administration will recognize that the United States’ main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists.

Source: America’s Priorities in the War on Terror: Foreign Affairs , Jan 1, 2008

Get as many views as possible regarding foreign policy

Q: Who are your principal foreign policy advisers?

A: I have a number of people from whom I get policy: Frank Gaffney & Richard Haas; I talk to a number of military people, some of whom I can’t name because they’re active in the military. They probably wouldn’t appreciate being outed. I’ve got conversations coming up with John Bolton. I try to get views from as many people as possible. I believe that a Colin Powell & Norman Schwarzkopf concept of dealing with foreign aggression is the best one.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Dec 16, 2007

Protect US sovereignty, but earn respect abroad

I don’t want to ever give up one ounce of US sovereignty. Our soldiers would never march to the orders of somebody else’s generals. I wouldn’t give up our territory. I wouldn’t give up our rights. I wouldn’t give up our strength.

In fact, I’d want to strengthen this country. I think the greatest way to export democracy is not to force it, but rather to build the best possible version of it right here so people are attracted to it.

There is an important role that the United States has as the most powerful nation on earth militarily and economically, to act in such a way that people respect us and that people also realize that we are a great nation, not one that wants to push ourselves on others.

One of the things that I would do as president is clearly try to make sure we get some better intelligence-gathering, and that we have more consistency, and that we have intelligence with greater credibility than we obviously have now.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Dec 9, 2007

Hugo Chavez was not elected as dictator; no friend of US

Q: How would you deal with Venezuela’s Pres. Chavez? He was elected democratically, but is attempting to overturn the Constitution.

A: Well, Hugo Chavez is hardly the friend of the US. And even though we get 60% of their oil, I think it’s one of the major reasons we need to become increasingly oil-free & energy-independent so that we don’t have to worry about Chavez. But there’s a greater issue here, and it’s the fact that the people of Venezuela aren’t Hugo Chavez and Hugo Chavez is not necessarily the spirit of the people of Venezuela. Even though he was elected, he was not elected to be a dictator as he has become, suspending constitutional law. My mother used to have a statement: If you give somebody enough rope, they’ll hang themselves. I have a feeling that Mr. Chavez, continuing to take power from the people as he has done, will find himself unfortunately out of power, and a democratically elected government there that will give those people back the freedom that he has robbed from them.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Demand accountability from Pakistan for our $10B

Q: Pakistan is arguably the most serious crisis facing the US, a nuclear-armed Muslim country. Do you agree with the president that the US should stick by President Musharraf?

A: Well, only to the degree to which he sticks by the constitution. When President Bush said that he’s a big believer in democracy, I’d have to wonder about suspending the constitution and declaring martial law. There are some concerns that I think we need to have about Pakistan. We need to make it very clear that, for the kind of money we’ve poured into Pakistan since September 11--some $10 billion--we expect a greater accountability for that money actually going to find, locate, and destroy terrorists.

Q: So what would you do differently than President Bush is doing right now?

A: Well, the main thing I would do is to make sure that we demand greater accountability, not only for the funding that we have put in, but we also get a greater level of cooperation.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Nov 25, 2007

Earned right to act on actionable intelligence in Pakistan

Q: What would you do differently than President Bush is doing right now with Pakistan?

A: I would make sure that we demand greater accountability, not only for the funding that we have put in, but we also get a greater level of cooperation and commitment that, when we find actionable targets in Pakistan, dealing with Al Qaida, that we have the green light to go after those targets, that we don’t do as we did a couple of years ago, and that is actually have people in the air on their way to take out a target and then to be called back because we had not yet obtained full permission from the Pakistani government.

Q: So you would send US troops directly into Pakistan if there were what you call actionable intelligence?

A: We need to make sure that the Musharraf government recognizes that part of what we have done with that $10 billion is to, sort of, earn the right of passage to take those targets out.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Nov 25, 2007

It’s not OK in Pakistan; bin Laden is hiding there

Q: What would you do to stabilize the situation in Pakistan? And specifically, would you side with Musharraf or would you side with Benazir Bhutto?

A: I think we have to be very careful about siding with either. That’s a decision that the people of Pakistan are going to have to make. And it seems that Bhutto and Musharraf are beginning to try to form some type of coalition. But we need to keep our eyes on Pakistan. I think we’ve sort of taken a view that everything is OK there, and it’s not OK there. Let’s not forget, it’s somewhere in the caves of Pakistan where Osama bin Laden is hiding. The next missile bomb that maybe comes our way, the next terrorist attack, is probably going to be postmarked Pakistan. And that’s why in a speech that I gave a few weeks ago I spent a lot of time talking about that we really need to keep a much more intense focus there than we have.

Source: FOX News Sunday, 2007 presidential interviews , Oct 21, 2007

Law of the Sea Treaty gives away our sovereignty

There’s nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president. Let me tell you why. If she’s president, taxes go up, health care becomes the domain of the government, spending goes out of control, our military loses its morale, and I’m not sure we’ll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country’s ever faced in Islamofascism. We’ll sign crazy bills like the Law of the Sea Treaty and give away our sovereignty.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Genocide in Darfur matched by infanticide of the unborn

Q: Does the US have a role to play in ending the genocide in Darfur?

A: I think we have some role to play in it, but I guess what disturbs me even more, we have not even addressed the genocide that’s going on and the infanticide in our own country with the slaughter of millions of unborn children. Yes, we ought to be involved in Darfur. But you know something? There are a lot of people in America that don’t think the only poverty is in Darfur--understand there’s poverty in the Delta.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

We answer to our Constitution, not to international law

We need a re-understanding that we are a sovereign nation. We do not answer to international law. We answer to our Constitution, and no other authority but our Constitution. And any attempt to weaken our commitment to our own constitutional form of government is simply unacceptable to me as a president of the United States.
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Monitor the eradication of legal slavery in Sudan

Q: I was made a slave during the government of Sudan’s war against black Christians of southern Sudan. I am a slave no longer, but today want to free tens of thousands of my brothers and sisters who remain in chattel slavery in Sudan. Would you today endorse the creation of a commission to monitor the eradication of slavery in Sudan, where the slavery of a man is legal?
Source: [Xref Paul] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Avoid ratifying Law of the Sea Treaty

Q: Pres. Reagan rejected the Law of the Sea Treaty, because it gives International Seabed Authority dictatorial power to regulate all oceans and the riches at the bottom of the oceans, plus the power the levy international taxes, and it would make the US subject to the decisions of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Would you urge the Senate not to ratify this treaty?
Source: [Xref Keyes] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Not the job of the US to export our form of government

Q: Pres. Bush said in his second inaugural address, “It is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” Has Pres. Bush’s policy been a success?

A: Well, the problem is, sometimes when you get what you want, you don’t want what you get. And this is a great case of that happening. I don’t think it’s the job of the US to export our form of government. It’s the job of the US to protect our citizens, to make us free and us safe, and to create an enviable kind of government and system that everybody else will want.

Q: So it wouldn’t be the core of your foreign policy?

A: Absolutely not, because I don’t think we can force people to accept our way of life, our way of government. What we can to is to create the strongest America, freedom internally, secure borders, a safer nation. That makes a whole lot more sense to me than spending billions to try to prop up some government we don’t even like when we get it.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

As governor, visited 41 countries & met with heads of state

Q: You have criticized the Bush foreign policy for what you call its “arrogant bunker mentality.” You’ve said that we should shut down Guantanamo and ban waterboarding. You didn’t know about the national intelligence estimate on Iran more than 24 hours after it was front page news. You didn’t know that martial law was lifted in Pakistan two weeks after it was. Can you honestly say that you are ready to be commander-in-chief?

A: I’ve been to 41 countries. I’ve been to Iraq & Afghanistan. I’ve been to Israel nine times. I’ve been to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt. I’ve been all over Europe & Asia. I’ve sat down with the heads of state.

Q: But people see a pattern of either not knowing things or getting things wrong.

A: I don’t think it’s a pattern. When you make lots of speeches, there are going to be times when you have more of a slip. But I don’t have a slip of my judgment, or a slip of my character, or a slip of the truth. I know where I stand. I have moral clarity. I have convictions.

Source: 2008 Fox News NH Republican primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

Mike Huckabee on Mideast

Muslim nations must fight ISIS; sanction those that don't

Q: You have called for sanctioning countries that don't join the coalition against ISIS. We have often heard this phrase: 'the coalition of the willing'. Are you proposing a coalition of the unwilling?˙

HUCKABEE: If you mean coalition of the unwilling, those who refuse to lift a finger to stop this aggression, they should be isolated. And, yes, we should put sanctions on them.˙ There's no excuse, especially for Middle Eastern nations, especially for Muslim Middle Eastern nations, to simply sit back and do nothing and let America, the United Kingdom, France, NATO countries, to let the rest of the world attack this malignant cancer called Islamic jihadism, and then sit back and protect their own special and well-funded kingdoms.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 29, 2015

Iranian nuclear deal arms & equips a terrorist state

Q: You are planning to make a trip to Israel?

A: I have been going to Israel for 42 years. My first trip was in 1973. I have been dozens and dozens of times. I have got a lot of friends there. I will be visiting with a number of officials and discussing the Iranian deal, because I think it's the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world. This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state. The Iranian government is not to be trusted. And for 36 years, they kidnapped Americans. They have killed Americans. They hold Americans hostage right now. And we're being pushed to get into a deal that gives us nothing, but gives the Iranians the capacity to ultimately end up with a nuclear weapon, and that's just insane.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

Reject two-state solution between Israel & Palestine

Huckabee says that contested territory belongs to Israel; and says no to a two-state solution with Palestinians.

Speaking in New Hampshire in April, Huckabee rejected the idea of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, saying contested settlement areas in Judea and Samaria belong to Israel.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , May 5, 2015

Islamic terrorism is the country's most pressing issue

The 2008 presidential candidate who won the Iowa caucuses cycled through conservative positions throughout his 22-minute speech, calling Islamic terrorism the country's most pressing foreign policy issue, reiterating his opposition to federal intervention on the legalization of same-sex marriage, dismissing the need for an increased minimum wage and backing a flat income tax.

Huckabee was specifically dismissive of economic inequality as a political issue, telling the crowd that "liberals" would press it in the coming presidential campaign but that "intelligence inequality" was a bigger problem.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit , Jan 24, 2015

Israel should not give up West Bank or Golan Heights

Q: Should Israel give up the West Bank?

A: No, I don’t think so. I have been to Israel 9 times. I have been all throughout the Middle East. Anyone who goes to Israel, and just understands the unique geography and the unique tension that surrounds that area, it would be very problematic for Israel to give up the West Bank, from their own standpoint of security. The same thing with the Golan Heights--giving up the Golan Heights makes most of Galilee a sitting target. Now it’s their government. They’ll make that decision, not me. But I certainly could not encourage them to give up the West Bank.

Q: If they’re not going to give up the West Bank or the Golan Heights, what are they going to negotiate about?

A: There are a lot of options that involve other territory that doesn’t have to include the West Bank or the Golan Heights. But let’s be honest, there is not going to be some instant kumbaya moment. The best we can hope for is that there will be some level of loosening of the hostilities.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Nov 25, 2007

Not yet ready for two-state solution for Israel & Palestine

Q: Do you support a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine side by side, as Pres. Bush says he supports?

A: Well, I would want to see where that side-by-side exists, because if you do something that puts the Israelis in a position of ultimate vulnerability, that may not be a healthy solution. You’ve got to realize that there are people in that region who have stated that their primary purpose is to annihilate Israel, to do away with them. And if you surround them by hostility and give them very little room in which to maneuver, you may not have created anything other than a very, very temporary peace, but for a long-term disaster.

Q: So I guess you’re not ready to endorse a two-state solution yet?

A: Not until you see where those two states are going to be located and whether or not there is going to be some guarantee of security and concessions on the part of the nations that would surround Israel. And the Israelis would have to be comfortable with it.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Nov 25, 2007

Don’t pressure Israel to give up land for promise of peace

Q: Past presidents have expected Israel to give up land, not for peace but for the promise of peace. With this mindset, Pres. Bush introduced the “roadmap” in 2003, yet 60 terrorist acts are attempted & 300 rockets fall every month in Israel. Will you stand behind Israel to not give up land for unfulfilled promises of peace, even in the face of opposition of European & Arab countries?
Source: [Xref Paul] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Support Israel as strategic ally, but respect Palestine

I’ve visited Israel 9 times, and strongly believe in its right to exist & the important example it has set forth in its seriousness toward its own security as well as the admirable expectation it has of its people to be stakeholders in its preservation. Even though I support Israel, its boundaries, and its future, and believe its alliance with the US is one of great strategic value, a conversation with a Palestinian reminded me that the issue is not simple.

The Palestinian was relocated had been told one day that he would be relocated to a Palestinian camp and that his neighborhood would be occupied by Israelis. It was always easy to me to understand why the Jews, having been displaced for thousands of years, would feel a divine right to return to the land promised to their forefathers and previously taken from them. But Palestinians are still human beings who deserve to be treated respectfully since they personally have not done wrong and now are being forced from what has been their home.

Source: From Hope to Higher Ground, by Mike Huckabee, p.137 , Jan 4, 2007

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Page last updated: Jun 15, 2016