Former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman delivered a major foreign policy speech at New Hampshire University in which he detailed a more realist foreign policy platform which sought to highlight his significant foreign policy experience in a world in which the balance of power is shifting abroad and the foreign policy priorities of Americans are being reorientated at home.
“In short, erase the old map,” Huntsman said. “End nation-building, engage our allies, and fix our core. This is how we will fight the enemy we have and renew American exceptionalism.”
Using his foreign policy experience as ambassador to China, Huntsman, explained why America needs to reassess and revamp its Asia-Pacific strategy, adjust the Middle East strategy to include fewer troops and large-scale, conventional forces and to improve America’s core so that it can afford to accomplish its foreign policy goals.
“A re-examination of America’s role in the world also requires a reexamination of our military and defense infrastructure,” said Huntsman.
Huntsman declared that American foreign policy must “establish a foreign policy doctrine that reflects our modern world,” as well as be “modernized for the 21st century.”
Including both realism and idealism was a big focus of the speech, and Huntsman made it clear that he wanted to both reign in military spending while in fact increasing American leadership in world affairs.
Huntsman advocated bringing many troops home from Afghanistan and using better counter-insurgency tactics, “We could go from 100,000 boots on the ground to a much smaller footprint in a year, while leaving behind an adequate number of counterterrorist and intelligence functions and a facile special forces presence.”
Huntsman also called the challenge posed by a hostile Iran “a transcendent challenge of the next decade” and said he “cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran.”
“If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman also called for more agility and modernization in other areas.
“Simply advocating more ships, more troops, and more weapons is not a viable path forward. We need more agility, more intelligence, and more economic engagement with the world,” said Huntsman.
Focusing on emerging countries in Asia, like India and China, and emerging counties in South America, like Columbia and Brazil, is increasingly important, according to Huntsman. But engaging with those countries requires Americans to “draw strength from our nation’s values—the openness, the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion and press.”
Huntsman said of America, “When we shine our light abroad magnified by a strong core at home, we are invincible.”