Rick Perry on Foreign Policy

Republican Governor (TX)


Priorities: Tear up agreement with Iran; secure US border

Q: Here's a question from a viewer: "If elected president, what would be the first thing you'll do?"

PERRY: Tear up that agreement with Iran. That's the biggest challenge I think that we have in this country and securing that border with Mexico is incredibly important as well, and those two things can happen on the first day.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Cancel any nuclear deal Obama makes with Iran

A former Air Force pilot, Perry advocates muscular intervention on foreign policy. Perry has pledged that, if elected, he would kill any deal the United States reaches with Iran over its nuclear program. And he has called for the United States to take a more active role diplomatically to remove Hamas's missiles from Gaza, calling Israel, which he has visited repeatedly, a "tremendous ally."
Source: N.Y. Times 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 4, 2015

Two-state solution in Israel is not realistic now

Where Rick Perry stands on key issues: Perry announced that as president he would invalidate any nuclear deal the Obama administration reaches with Iran. He believes the current deal would allow Iran to build a nuclear weapon in the future. Writing on Facebook, he argued that sanctions against Iran should not be lifted until Congress agrees.

Perry said he would like to see a two-state solution to tensions between Israel and Palestinians but that he does not think that is realistic now. He has expressed strong support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 3, 2015

Ally militarily with India to push back against China

HH: China is building these little islands, and they're putting airstrips on it, and they're saying there's a 12 mile perimeter around them. Would you push that perimeter to deny China the right?

RP: Yes, absolutely. And I would suggest to you, we've been missing a real opportunity to work with India. India could be the absolute most important country for us to have a very strong allied relationship.

HH: And Vietnam and Japan and the Philippines are with us on this flotilla as well, aren't they?

RP: Oh, absolutely. But I'm talking about a big country that has the ability both economically and militarily to weigh in heavily. And I think we've missed opportunity after opportunity with this administration, whether it was being able to sell the Indians the aircraft that they wanted in their inventory, and we didn't. They ended up going to France and buying the Mirage fighters. So the point is in that region, we're going to have to push back. We need to, China is a complex issue.

Source: Hugh Hewitt 2015 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 20, 2015

Easing restrictions on Cuba hurts the Cuban people

Perry said that Cuba got the better half of its bargain with the US earlier this year. "We got the way short end of that deal," Perry said in a speech at the inaugural Iowa Agriculture Summit. "We got a bad deal. This administration basically empowered the Castro regime with no thought of the Cuban people."

Perry's remarks took aim at President Obama's decision in January to normalize relations with Havana. The US eased travel and trade restrictions on Cuba as part of the landmark deal.

Perry took issue with Obama's diplomatic priorities. He said the president's decision to deal with Raul Castro, Cuba's dictator, hurts everyday Cubans. "This president missed the point on Cuba's relationship with its people," Perry said. "Cuba has been incredibly onerous to its people" Perry said trading with Castro's Cuba was unlikely to change the communist nation's ways. "I'm not sure you can change the culture of Cuba until Castro is dead and gone," he said.

Source: The Hill weblog coverage of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit , Mar 7, 2015

Our allies doubt us and our adversaries test us

Rick Perry's speech at CPAC focused mostly on foreign policy issues. Perry showed off some newly-found foreign policy chops in a plainspoken speech at CPAC, emphasizing pressing national security issues like ISIS, Iran's nuclear program and the nation's relationship with Israel: "At no time in the last 25 years has the future been more uncertain and the world been more dangerous than it is today," Perry said, slamming President Obama's response to ISIS and Russia as "naive, dangerous and misguided."

"Here's the simple truth about our foreign policy: Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us," he said.

Perry, however, devoted the crux of his appearance to bashing Obama, whose years in office he compared to some of the worst catastrophes to befall the country in recent generations. "This country's been through a lot. We went through a civil war; two world wars; we will survive the Obama years too," he said.

Source: N.Y. Daily News on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

Hasn't called for defense cuts; hasn't endorsed Bush's wars

Texas Governor Rick Perry quietly traveled to Europe last week to assert his foreign-policy credentials. The speeches Perry prepared for his trip to Europe announced Perry's entry into the 2016 presidential contest as a national-security stalwart--an alternative to the neo-isolationist approach championed by Senator Rand Paul.

Unlike many Washington-based competitors for the foreign-policy-hawk vote, Perry has not left any fingerprints on the budget plans that are cutting the Army and Marines to their smallest size since 1940. Senator Marco Rubio can credibly say that he opposed the defense cuts all along, but Ted Cruz has championed even bigger spending cuts that would inevitably impinge on defense spending.

Furthermore, Perry can assert distance from the unpopular pieces of the George W. Bush foreign-policy legacy by virtue of his own famously adversarial relationship with Bush and his Texas team.

Source: The Atlantic 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 20, 2014

Tolerating vicious ideas is weakness: condemn ISIS & Putin

On a trip to London, Perry took an important step toward establishing his national-security bona fides. The governor championed an assertive American foreign policy against ISIS in the Middle East and Vladimir Putin in Eastern Europe, while calling European governments to account for their weak response to anti-Semitic attacks. "Forbearance in the face of vicious ideas and conduct is not tolerance. It is weakness," he told his audience.

"To every extremist: We will not allow you to exploit our tolerance, so that you can import your intolerance. We will not let you destroy our peace with your violent ideas. If you expect to live among us, and yet plan against us, to receive the protections and comforts of a free society, while showing none of its virtues or graces, then you can have our answer now: 'No, not on our watch!' You will live by exactly the standards that the rest of us live by. And if that comes as jarring news: Then welcome to civilization."

Source: The Atlantic 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 20, 2014

Warsaw Pact failed & NATO survived: we keep our commitments

In his prepared speech for Warsaw, Perry focused on the challenge from Vladimir Putin and a revanchist Russia, adding his own personal view about the force destabilizing Eastern Europe:

"The president of Russia, Mr. Putin, may regard treaty obligations as so many words on paper, and just as easily tossed aside. But we operate a little differently in the NATO counties: We actually keep our commitments. That helps explain why, after nearly 70 years, there is still a NATO while the Iron Curtain, Eastern Bloc, and Warsaw Pact all belong to a miserable history we were all glad to put behind us. As before in history, holding to our NATO obligations can mean the difference between threats invited and threats deterred. Worse troubles are always avoided when we stick together as the inseparable allies that we are and offer more than consoling words to friends like Ukraine. Hostile actors need to know that in every circumstance we defend our interests and keep our word."

Source: The Atlantic 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 20, 2014

There shouldn't be any air between us & our best ally Israel

Q: Of late, you have been criticizing the Obama administration for its stance toward Israel. Governor, you have talked about the president's policy of "calculated ambivalence." What exactly are you talking about?

PERRY: When you have the president and his administration trying to second-guess Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, then I think you see what I'm making reference to: the idea that our best ally in the Middle East, the longest-serving democracy in that part of the world, that there's any air between us and Israel is beyond me. I don't understand why this administration would criticize Israel for trying to protect their citizens and their country from a group who have clearly stated that they will not be satisfied until Israel is wiped off

Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 3, 2014

We can't isolate ourselves within our shores; we must engage

Q: You really whipped Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed: "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism would compound the threat of terrorism even further." Well, he responded today. He said, "Unlike Gov. Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq. I ask Gov. Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'"

PERRY: In that part of the world, we have allies there in the form of Israel and Jordan that expect us to stand with them, to help them. When you read his op-ed, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies. America can no longer draw a red line around the shore of America, and think that we're somehow or another not going to be impacted. We must engage and tactically, thoughtfully, use the assets that we have against ISIS to keep these individuals from being able to create an Islamic state.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 13, 2014

Russia & Syria crises: price we pay for not leading world

America cannot sustain its current fiscal course. We cannot continue to borrow trillions from bankers in Beijing, Brazil and Tokyo. The downgrading of our credit for the first time two years ago should not have surprised anyone. Our debt has soared by trillions in the last 5 years.

How can the greatest nation on earth continue to spend its way to astounding debt without the bill ever coming due? How can we explode federal and state budgets with unreformed entitlement programs without the bill ever coming due?

How can we appease a Syrian tyrant, and embolden his Russian ally, without the bill ever coming due? There is a price to be paid for policies that destroy our economy and embolden our foreign enemies.

And I am here today to say we don't have to accept recent history. We just have to change the presidency. It is not too late for America to lead in the world. But it starts by leading at home. And it starts by returning to the founding principles of our democracy found in the Constitution.

Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention , Mar 8, 2014

Threats from nuclear North Korea should be treated as real

Reports last week featured images of what appeared to be the American cities North Korea views as targets, a list that includes Austin.

According to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, North Korea's threats directed at Austin could just be another form of flattery: "Economically, what has happened in Texas over the course of the last decade has made this city an epicenter for a lot of technology, a lot of economic development," the Republican said in a CBS interview. "And I think the individuals in North Korea understand that Austin, Texas, is now a very important city in America, as do corporate CEOs and other people who are moving here in record numbers."

Perry also noted that rumblings from any country in possession of nuclear weapons should be "treated as a very real threat."

Source: Politico.com 2013 coverage: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 3, 2013

Mitt Romney's foreign policy stances compared to Perry's

Do Perry and Romney agree on a hard line against China? (Yes, but by different methods). How do Romney and Perry differ on Guantanamo prison? (They don't; their stances are essentially identical). We cite details from Romney's books and speeches, and Perry's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Romney vs. Perry on International Issues

Source: Paperback: Perry vs. Romney On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

North Korean leader's death is opportunity for reunification

Rick Perry appears to be the first Presidential candidate to comment on the death of Kim Jong-il, saying in a statement: "The death of vicious dictator Kim Jong Il provides some cause for hope but does not automatically end the reign of inhumane tyranny he and his father constructed. North Korea remains a nuclear power, and there is a great threat that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands if civil war breaks out.

"At the same time, Jong's death is an opportunity to reunify the peninsula if the situation is handled effectively. Kim Jong-un is an unknown quantity, and may not be able to maintain power. The US must now strongly reaffirm our commitment to Asian allies, particularly South Korea, and maintain a strong military, diplomatic, and economic presence in the Pacific region during this period. We should also engage with China, and encourage Beijing to work towards a peaceful transition from a grim dictatorship to a free Korea."

Source: Politico.com 2011 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 19, 2011

End aid to Pakistan; money only goes to allies

Q: Gov. Perry has said that Pakistan should no longer receive US aid because they've shown they're not an ally?

BACHMANN: There are al-Qaeda training grounds there. At the same time, they do share intelligence data with us regarding Al Qaida.

PERRY: The bottom line is that they've showed us time after time that they can't be trusted. And until Pakistan clearly shows that they have America's best interests in mind, I would not send them one penny, period. I think it is important for us to send the message to those across the world that, if you are not going to be an ally of the US, do not expect a dime of our citizens' money to be coming into your country. That is the way we change foreign policy. Now, if we want to engage these countries with our abilities and our companies that go in, rather than just writing a blank check to them, then we can have that conversation. But to write a check to countries that are clearly not representing American interests is nonsensical.

Source: 2011 CNN National Security GOP primary debate , Nov 22, 2011

FactCheck: Pakistan is our ally, according to Bush generals

Rick Perry said the US should not write a black check to Pakistan because they've shown they're not an ally. Michele Bachman responded that Perry was "naive"; that the US gets plenty from our alliance with Pakistan. Who's right?

A 2008 paper published by the Council on Foreign Relations, entitled "US-Pakistan Military Cooperation" was clear, calling Pakistan "one of America's most important military alliances." The CFR paper states that our relationship is often strained, such as by Pakistan's detonation of a nuclear weapon in 1998; but Pakistan has been our ally since 1947, and a strong military ally since 9/11. One of Pres. Bush's commanders, Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, called Pakistan "a great partner so far in the war on terror"; another, Adm. Mike Mullen, said "Pakistan and the United States remain steadfast allies, and Pakistan's military is fighting bravely against terrorism."

Clearly Rep. Bachmann was 100% correct and Gov. Perry was 100% mistaken.

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on 2011 CNN National Security debate , Nov 22, 2011

China will end up on the ash heap of history, like USSR

There are some people who have made the statement that the 21st century is going to be the century of China and that, you know, we've had our time in the sunshine. I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s and we faced a similar type of a situation with Russia . And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history. And he was right. I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues. It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honest.
Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

F-16s to India; they are our allies, not Pakistan

Q: If you were president, and you go a call at 3AM telling you that Pakistan had lost control of its nuclear weapons, at the hands of the Taliban, what would be your first move?

PERRY: Well obviously, before you ever get to that point you have to build a relationship in that region. That's one of the things that this administration has not done. Yesterday, we found out that Haqqani--the terrorist group directly associated with the Pakistani country--has been involved with [terrorism. We need] to have a relationship with India, to make sure that India knows that they are an ally of the US. For instance, when we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16's, we chose not to do that. We did the same with Taiwan. The point is, our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends, we will be standing by there with them. Today, we don't have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

America shouldn't be in the business of adventurism

Q: You recently said, "I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism." Do you think Pres. Bush was too quick to launch military intervention without thinking through the risks?

PERRY: I was making a comment about a philosophy; I don't think America needs to be in the business of adventurism.

Q: You were making a philosophical comment, but it's hard to understand philosophy without understanding specifics. Where are some of the places where we've seen military adventurism?

PERRY: That was a philosophical statement that Americans don't want to see their young men and women going into foreign countries without a clear reason that American interests are at stake. And they want to see not only a clear entrance; they want to see a clear exit strategy, as well. We should never put our young men and women's lives at risk when American interests are not clearly defined by the president, and that's one of the problems this president is doing today.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Iraq: combat terror on their turf, not ours

Many establishment Republicans in Washington want to blame their losses on the war in Iraq. I simply do not believe that is true. While Americans rightly have a watchful eye on the commitment of our courageous soldiers to the Middle East, and while many American still want to hear a clear articulation of our mission there, most Americans realize the need to combat terror on their turf, not ours.
Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.146 , Nov 15, 2010

Divest state funds from companies doing business in Sudan

I believe the example we set in Texas can have international ramifications. I join in protesting the ethnic genocide occurring in Darfur by calling on the state of Texas to divest of companies doing business in Sudan.
Source: Texas 2007 State of the State address , Feb 6, 2007

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