Foreign Policy and National Security
Many foreign policy experts invoke the legacy of Rep. Rohrabacher’s former boss, Ronald Reagan, to justify their views about world events. Because he ended the Cold War amidst a U.S. military build-up, they imply that he would endorse their preference for an aggressive U.S. foreign policy that seeks to impose our values across the globe. Rohrabacher does not think Reagan would support that approach.
Reagan was reluctant to use military force. Vital U.S. interests, he insisted, had to be at stake. In 1983, he sent Marines into Beirut, a decision he soon regretted. He immediately understood that military force was only a last resort. His other military campaigns comprised limited engagements of two days in Grenada and a few hours over Libya. He resisted the urgings of his advisors to send troops into Central America, opting instead to work with indigenous forces willing and able to fight for their countries -- the Reagan Doctrine.
U.S. foreign policy establishment has had few new ideas in the more than quarter century since Reagan left the scene. The reappraisal of U.S. foreign policy that should have taken place after the fall of the Berlin Wall –but never did – needs to be undertaken now. We need a new foreign policy, one that begins with a realistic assessment of the threats to our security. Congressman Rohrabacher believes that radical Islam, the militarization of China, nuclear proliferation, and maintaining our technological edge especially in space and the cyber-sphere top the list of the vital challenges we face.
As chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, Congressman Rohrabacher focuses primarily on our strategic relations with European nations. He believes our country should realign its strategic priorities alliances to reflect a changed world. Imagine the U.S. forging a strategic partnership with Russia, Japan, and India. Our friends in Europe would remain in alliance with America, but would be encouraged to take charge of their own security. NATO was critical to winning the Cold War, but the Cold War is over and Europe has changed. The emerging core strength of Europe is the Visegrad Group – The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. These Central European nations struggle under the centralizing yoke of the European Union and want to retain their culture and identity. That has given their citizens something worth defending. Western Europe seems to have lost its will to defend its own culture, traditions and identity – a critical weakness. NATO planners and U.S. strategists should work toward a future where Russia, Japan, and eventually India join in common cause. America should also give increased attention to shoring up relationships in its own hemisphere -- a region far too long neglected by shortsighted leaders. The increasing activities of Hezbollah in Latin America indicate that Iran may see our Southern border as an exploitable weakness.
Congressman Rohrabacher believes America should seek solutions that encourage local autonomy, national identity, and decentralized political systems in other countries. It must engage in bilateral agreements to address issues from security to trade and institutional reform and less on the setting up of new multinational bureaucracies to manage world affairs.
Since 1989 – almost 30 years – the U.S. has been the sole superpower in the world. Our global advantages have been so large that our leaders knew they could out-spend or out-fight our way out of any situation. So-called experts supported bad trade deals. They allowed China to catch up to America in many areas and made foolish cash deals with Iran. They created chaos in the Middle East, stumbled into war in Iraq, and a myriad of other failures on which I could expound for some time.
Ronald Reagan understood that a free society has to be earned, nurtured, and protected. That is the American way. Congressman Rohrabacher believes that America needs a national-interest-based foreign policy rooted in love of country and realism that seeks peace and prosperity – the great Republican tradition.