AUSTIN, Texas — Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, currently preparing for a second presidential campaign, had a hard-hitting op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader on Friday, with a sharp critique of America’s current foreign policy aimed not just at President Barack Obama, but at Congressional leaders from both parties.
“America has entered a time of testing, and our leaders are failing the test,” wrote Perry, describing the dangers from Chinese and Russian aggression, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the terrorist group ISIS.
Perry hit the Obama administration for making “grave miscalculations, projecting weakness instead of strength, and wishful thinking instead of making sober assessments based on realities on the ground.” He criticized both the President and Congress who “have failed to prioritize military spending” and “treated our defense forces as a pawn in a budgetary game of chicken.”
“Because of the failed leadership of both parties,” wrote Perry, “our armed forces are depleted, our military infrastructure is aging, and our technological advantages are being severely challenged at a time when the world is increasingly dangerous.”
Perry then detailed some of the current vulnerabilities of America’s military and called for “a debate about the state of our military and its historic underfunding…It is time to tell the truth to the American people that both parties have gutted our defenses rather than impose spending discipline on other areas of government.”
However, said Perry, rebuilding the strength of the U.S. military should not be viewed “as a call for increased war.”
“Just the opposite: you avoid war by demonstrating an overwhelming capability to win it,” he concluded. “The relative stability of the Eisenhower and Reagan years prove this very point. The instability of the Obama years prove it just as well.”
Perry, an Air Force veteran who flew C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in Europe and the Middle East from 1972 to 1977, is “arguably the only viable GOP presidential candidate in the field with military experience,” in the words of National Review’s Jim Geraghty, and has been highlighting his military record far more than he did during the 2012 campaign.
At a recent appearance at The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, Perry made foreign policy the focus of his remarks. His Super PAC, RickPAC, released a web video from the speech. The Texas Tribune reported that Perry’s comments offered a “sweeping indictment of President Obama’s foreign policy and a presentation of his own proposals to reassert American influence abroad.” And Geraghty’s coverage described how Perry “outline[d] a foreign-policy vision patterned after Ronald Reagan’s policies of the 1980s,” advocating “[b]uilding a large, muscular U.S. military force” as “the best way to avoid costly, violent conflicts.”
Perry has not yet announced when he will make a final decision about entering the race, but is rumored to be considering making his move this May. So far, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have officially launched their campaigns, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will do so on Monday.
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