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Wednesday, December 5, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 12:27 PM | permalink
There are a couple of items out today about Huckabee's foreign policy:

From Powerline's Paul Mirengoff:

My main objection to Huckabee -- the reason why he's my fifth choice out of five -- is that I lack confidence in his ability to fight terrorism. It's not just that he lacks experience in this realm, though that's certainly the case. The real problem is that he's too moralistic (which is not the same thing as moral). My first clue came when he said during an early debate that we need to remain in Iraq because "we broke it." Not because we need to defeat al Qaeda; not because we need to limit Iranian influence or avoid a devastating defeat at the hands of terrorists; but because we injured this formerly peaceful state. Huckabee's exaltation of moralism (in this case dubious) over policy calculation was difficult to miss.

Now we learn (but are surprised) that Huckabee opposes waterboarding and would close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Huckabee reached this conclusion after meeting with a group of retired generals (the usual suspects, I assume) who are lobbying candidates to oppose Bush administration interrogation and detention policies.

I suspect that Huckabee required little lobbying. Waterboarding and long-term detention aren't very "Christian"; they merely keep terrorists out of action and, in special circumstances enable us to find out where we're going to be attacked next and/or where we can find those who are planning the next attacks. But if Huckabee actually did reach his position based on the views of a handful of generals, and without consulting the people actually charged with protecting this country from terrorists, then he's even less qualified to be president than I suspect.

Also from Powerline's Paul Mirengoff:
When it comes to foreign policy, Huckabee more closely resembles another former governor, Jimmy Carter. It was Carter, not Reagan, who viewed foreign policy as an extension of his own character and personal principles. Carter stood for a foreign policy "as decent as the American people." Reagan stood for defeating our enemies. When Huckabee frets about how Gitmo is making us appear to foreigners, when he asserts that "we broke Iraq," and when he says he's qualified to be commander-in-chief because of his character rather than because of his understanding of our enemies, it's pretty clear that his foreign policy roots extend nowhere near the fertile soil of Reaganism.

This extends on the argument I made here on Monday, making the comparison between Huckabee and Jimmy Carter on domestic issues. In the same Powerline post, Scott Johnson says that Huckabee's moralistic approach extends to domestic issues also:
Generally speaking, moralism in both foreign and domestic policy is a form of intellectual laziness. Again, "moralism" does not equal "morality." We can all agree that our government should do what is morally right. But determining what is morally right requires a hard-headed attention to the consequences of any particular policy, and an assessment of those consequences in the context of a coherent philosophy. The moralist, in contrast, doesn't want to be bothered either with the facts or with philosophic coherence. Instead, he enshrines his own feelings and preferences--or, very likely, prejudices--as public policy. As in, "Smoking is really bad, so let's ban it." Mike Huckabee appears to fit squarely within this tradition.

From Jim Geraghty at the Campaign Spot. Picking up on the Powerline post Geraghty includes specific foreign policy ideas and accompanying quotes supporting Powerline's assessment:
Beyond Huckabee's skepticism about the benefits of free trade and the "moralism" discussed at that link, there are a couple other areas where his foreign policy views are unorthodox from mainstream conservative thinking. One can agree with them or disagree with them - I think he makes a stronger case for these policy changes than those who agree with him on the left do - but they are worth noting.

From Jonathan Martin at the Politico:

My colleague David Paul Kuhn attended an on-the-record dinner with Mike Huckabee and a group of reporters tonight in Des Moines.

The transcript speaks for itself:

Kuhn: I don’t know to what extent you have been briefed or been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday...

Huckabee: I’m sorry?

Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Have you been briefed or been able to take a look at it —

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?

Huckabee: No.

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