Ted Cruz is running on a religious conservative ticket, emphasizing Christian values and advocating limited government. This should resonate well with one part of the Republican establishment and it makes him stand out from other GOP candidates. How does it translate into specific foreign policy issues?
Well, he’s not only opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, he wants to rip it to shreds and he thinks that Iran will follow the path of North Korea if the Iran nuclear deal is not thrown out. Oh yeah, and he would assassinate Ayatollah Khamenei if Iran resumed its uranium enrichment, though to be honest, he didn’t really mention his name so I’m not sure if he knows who Khamenei is. Some recognition of the EU efforts on this, Ted and quite a good way to start inspiring fear in our hearts.
On China, he pretty much wants to act like he can push Beijing into a corner and shame them – my guess is that he would probably brag about the US selling weapons to Taiwan just to piss off the world’s most powerful communist, which is what he calls Xi Jinping. He also stated that the Obama administration should confront China on its human rights record, probably forgetting that in order to make such a call he would have to close down Guantanamo (which he doesn’t seem very willing to do) and dismantle the entire NSA apparatus. Though to be fair, he does think the NSA is an example of government overreach which he wants to correct by placing limits on the collection of metadata…so let’s say he’s in favour of an NSA Light. This should allow him to seem a little less scary in the European perception.
Strangely enough, for someone who is so eager to claim his moral supremacy over everyone and name and shame China for its human rights record, Ted Cruz does a full 180 degree turn on the Middle East and claims that while Khaddafi, Mubarak and Assad are all responsible for horrible human rights violations, their demise (in the cases of Libya and Egypt) has opened the path for worse threats and that authoritarian leaderships in the Middle East seem to be able to serve American interests better than toppling dictators in the name of democracy. Unlike other candidates who want the US to take a leading role in destroying ISIS, Ted Cruz puts the emphasis on supporting the Kurdish fighters and supplying them with weapons to rout it but he also wants the US to work closer with Turkey for whom the Kurdish fighters are a threat, go figure.
In fact, Ted Cruz claims it is not the role of the US to engage in statebuilding and creating democracies and defends that the blueprint for an American intervention is « go in with overwhelming force, and then we should get the heck out« – I almost feel tempted to call him an American version of Obélix but that wouldn’t be very favourable for my favourite enormous Gaul.
Fortunately Ted Cruz did not forget that he also needs to make the audience laugh, so here’s his own conspiracy theory: Ted thinks that climate change is simply not true and that the studies about it have been manipulated in order to justify more meddlesome regulations. He doesn’t have much consideration for the Paris agreement and would make the US the number 1 oil and gas power in the world.
To finish it off , Ted Cruz defends that the US should set up a ballistic missile defence shield in Eastern Europe in order to counter Russia’s threats. I’m not sure if he sometimes walks into a portal that takes him back to 1962 or to the early 1980s but I’m thinking that he should rather win the nomination for screenwriter of an American reboot of 007 – he could have practically written Quantum of Solace, now that I think about it.
It goes without saying that Ted Cruz is pretty much every European’s prejudice against the United States come true – and the only reason I’m not taking this further is because I’m sticking to foreign policy issues. In theory, Cruz would deserve to be at the very top of the fear scale. We usually expect a certain degree of disagreement between the United States and the EU on a number of issues and sometimes these disagreements can be more hindering – as it happened during the eight years of George W. Bush. However, and on a personal level, I’m not convinced a hypothetical Cruz presidency would be that scary…perhaps only very scary but not terrifyingly scary. Something makes me think that if he wins, he will be quickly put into a straitjacket by the White House’s equivalent of Sir Humphrey Appleby and perhaps be given a small toy to chew on (allowing him to focus on two or three domestic issues) while his most lunatic proposals are hollowed out. He would still provide some delicious material for the upcoming EU – US summits. For this, Ted Cruz’s score on the Fear Scale is a 4 out of 5…which is still very scary.