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)