“When it comes to foreign policy, Lindsey Graham offers a very clear and different path”, he said.
Tapper, who was moderating the Q&A with Senator Graham, quickly realized that Medea wasn’t simply going to ask the senator about foreign policy, and he tried to refocus her attention as employees at the Atlantic Council attempted to seize her microphone.
“I couldn’t disagree with you more”, Graham fired back.
“He left Iraq too soon”, Graham said of the withdrawal of US military forces from the region, adding that Obama’s failure to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the ongoing civil war in the country has allowed ISIS to capture territory. The South Carolina Republican, hoping to stand out among the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates, delivered a blistering foreign policy speech to the Atlantic Council in Washington in that added detail – along with a distinct sense of alarm and urgency – to his previously stated policy positions.
As for ISIS, Graham said the Obama administration’s response to the terror group has been insufficient. Graham has long been a vocal advocate for a more-robust defense program and is one of the most respected foreign policy hawks in the Senate, where he’s been since 2003, long before Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz arrived.
“We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis”, the USA President said at the G7 conference in Germany.
Graham spoke extensively on what he called the threat of radical Islam-a term that President Obama has refused to use-and compared the Islamic State’s mission to that of Nazi Germany. But if the current negotiations produce a deal that doesn’t include the ability for the U.S.to inspect Iran’s nuclear reactors “anytime, anywhere”, Graham would resort to “overwhelming” military force. Should Tehran break a pact and produce nuclear weapons, the senator would respond with force.
Graham, who also proposed placing 10,000 troops in Iraq and leaving 9,800 in Afghanistan, argued that the fates of Iraq and Syria are inextricably linked. “I don’t want a war but if that’s what you want, you’re gonna lose it”, Graham said. “We’re reviewing a range of plans for how we might do that, essentially accelerating the number of Iraqi forces that are properly trained and equipped and have a focused strategy and good leadership”.
Graham, who has previously said he wouldn’t have supported invading Iraq knowing what he knows now, was also somewhat critical of ex- President George W. Bush. “If Syria is not addressed, it’s going to take Jordan and Lebanon down with it”. Unlike many of his competitors, Graham does not have to equivocate-not that he would anyway.