Now that Mike Huckabee is in the first-tier, he is going to need a foreign policy, which he hasn’t articulated much of, as of yet.

My friend David Adesnik dug up some on Huckabee’s foreign policy, as articulated in the Presidential debate two weeks ago:

HUCKABEE: Well, the problem is, George, 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 United States to export our form of government. It’s the job of the United States to protect our citizens, to secure our own borders, which we have failed to do for over 20 years. It’s the job of our government to make us free and us safe, and to create an enviable kind of government and system that everybody else will want, much in the same way I think we ended up seeing the fall of the Soviet Union. And as far as how do we get there…

In a followup he said:

HUCKABEE: 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: change our tax system, make it so that people are healthier, create the enviable education system on this planet, make sure that jobs come back to this country rather than disappear from this country.

David, who might even accept the label "neoconservative," finds this troubling. Frankly, I do too, on a certain level. While I wouldn’t accept the "export our form of government" language, it seems clear to me that the United States has a clear role in the world. Some of this is because we are still the strongest superpower, with the strongest economy, the strongest military, and the most dynamic popular culture (which conservatives here and abroad hate)

On a deeper level, I hear in Huckabee an instinct towards the isolationism that Eisenhower fought against. For example:

  • "don’t think it’s the job of the United States to export our form of government"
  • "secure our borders"
  • "make sure that jobs come back to this country rather than disappear from this country" (nevermind the updated "lump of labor fallacy that seems implicit. Where is he on trade?)

Now, I believe that there is a lot of isolationism in the GOP. This was a driving force for Pat Buchanan, and it is certainly not an accident that George W. Bush included language that Pat Buchanan attacked his father with. Much of the Ron Paul energy can be linked to this. And Duncan Hunter’s campaign could be predicated on that too. There is also a tremendous amount of isolationism amongst the Democrats. The response to NAFTA and trade, especially when combined with a deep anti-war sentiment can be read that way.

In any case, Huckabee could try to meld a social conservative message to an anti-globalist energy within the party.

Curiously, there is room for tension between this message and his religion. Huckabee seemingly flip-flopped on immigration from a pro-comprehensive stance, supported by the Southern Baptist Convention among others. Huckabee has also expressed a lot of concern over global warming and international poverty and AIDS. His comments on these have been very similar to the "prophetic voice" and "social justice" language that comes out of the evangelical left on many of these issues. (and that, full disclosure, I am sympathetic too)


4 Comments

chukmaty · October 23, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Huckabee is definitely not a neo Isolationist, he is a conservative interventionist. What he was against in the campaign was the Woodrow Wilson style interventionism were we emphasize nation building over responding to threats to national security. I would actually say that he seemed to be competing with Rudi Giuliani for “Most Aggressive Foreign Policy Award”

He also seemed to be liking the idea of covert hit squads and covert action over occupation, which was the Reagan style (left Lebanon, upped level of covert activity in communist countries). Remember the “snatch and grab” comment he repeated in several debates and speeches?

Just some thoughts.

race42008.com » Blog Archive » Does Huckabee Fill Vacuum in GOP Field Left by Rudy McRompson? · August 14, 2007 at 10:21 PM

[…] Soren Dayton has put together a comprehensive post on Mike Huckabee’s foreign policy record and finds that Huckabee’s domestic views aren’t the only thing out of sync with today’s GOP. While Huck’s long record of cultural conservatism and fiscal moderation bordering on outright liberalism has been well documented, little is known about his foreign policy views. According to Soren, Huckabee appears to be carrying the banner of foreign policy realism, with an anti-trade stance and an opposition to immigration included for good measure. Money quote: David (Adesnik), who might even accept the label “neoconservative,” finds this troubling. Frankly, I do too, on a certain level. While I wouldn’t accept the “export our form of government” language, it seems clear to me that the United States has a clear role in the world. Some of this is because we are still the strongest superpower, with the strongest economy, the strongest military, and the most dynamic popular culture (which conservatives here and abroad hate) […]

Does Huckabee Fill Vacuum in GOP Field Left by Rudy McRompson? at Conservative Times--Republican GOP news source. · August 14, 2007 at 10:37 PM

[…] Soren Dayton has put together a comprehensive post on Mike Huckabee’s foreign policy record and finds that Huckabee’s domestic views aren’t the only thing out of sync with today’s GOP. While Huck’s long record of cultural conservatism and fiscal moderation bordering on outright liberalism has been well documented, little is known about his foreign policy views. According to Soren, Huckabee appears to be carrying the banner of foreign policy realism, with an anti-trade stance and an opposition to immigration included for good measure. Money quote: David (Adesnik), who might even accept the label “neoconservative,” finds this troubling. Frankly, I do too, on a certain level. While I wouldn’t accept the “export our form of government” language, it seems clear to me that the United States has a clear role in the world. Some of this is because we are still the strongest superpower, with the strongest economy, the strongest military, and the most dynamic popular culture (which conservatives here and abroad hate) […]

eyeon08.com » Huckabee to end birthright citizenship · August 21, 2007 at 8:23 AM

[…] Huckabee to end birthright citizenship digg_url = ‘http://www.eyeon08.com/2007/08/21/huckabee-to-end-birthright-citizenship/’; digg_title = ‘Huckabee to end birthright citizenship’; digg_bodytext = ‘Last week, I said that Mike Huckabee is in a position to run an isolationist, nativist, populist race for President.  I pointed out that, at least on the issue of immigration, one of the things that could get in the way of his doing that was his religious beliefs, which we consistent with his view […]’; digg_skin = “compact”; digg_topic = “politics”; ( function() { var ds=typeof digg_skin==’string’?digg_skin:”; var h=80; var w=52; if(ds==’compact’) { h=18; w=120; } var u=typeof digg_url==’string’?digg_url:(typeof DIGG_URL==’string’?DIGG_URL:window.location.href); document.write(“”); } )() Last week, I said that Mike Huckabee is in a position to run an isolationist, nativist, populist race for President.  I pointed out that, at least on the issue of immigration, one of the things that could get in the way of his doing that was his religious beliefs, which we consistent with his view on immigration. […]

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