While I find the news made Sunday morning by Wisconsin Governor and almost certain-to-be presidential candidate Scott Walker interesting, I also find his lack of international experience and knowledge troubling.
This is very early in the political process which will lead to a vote for a new president in November 2016. While we will have plenty of time to examine all the candidates and their policy ideas it is essential that we not accept a nominee from either party who is unqualified to lead this nation at a time many international crises are taking place.
That point was certainly the case when Walker spoke to ABC’s This Week’s Martha Raddatz and proved that getting onto the national stage takes more than just a desire to be president. It also takes some experience with how to think about international affairs and then know how to address them when asked to do so by a reporter.
WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world. I think it’s a mistake to –
RADDATZ: But what does that mean? I don’t know what aggressive strategy means. If we’re bombing and we’ve done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?
WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be – go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes, because I think, you know–
RADDATZ: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?
WALKER: I don’t think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world–
RADDATZ: But you would not rule that out.
WALKER: I wouldn’t rule anything out.
Almost instantly once Walker’s words were aired some of those who disagree with him made his comments out to be the end of his campaign–a race which has not even officially started. While Walker could have commented much differently and more intelligently on the whole issue under question I do agree with one part of his response about the crisis that is taking place with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Clearly there needs to be some serious adjustments to the military methods being used today to stop ISIS from taking more land, and also roll back the territory they now control. While no one wants to see another land war in the Middle East that involves Americans it is also important to have policies based on what is required—what will be needed for a military win over ISIS. Given that need it very well may require American troops on the ground. In that respect Walker is correct.
There is no serious person in Washington who will disagree. Even Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made it known that American troops might be needed to fight ISIS. After all, the objectives that are to be met will require the methods best suited to achieve them. At the core of Walker’s comments concerning the fact ISIS needs to be stopped in Iraq and Syria there is little to argue with when it comes to the possible future use of American troops
Where Walker is to be faulted in his comments is not drawing a clear line about how many places around the globe he thinks our troops should be stationed for battle. Walker can be challenged for not making it clear that the goal of this nation should be to lend air support and all types of logistics for a united force of Middle Eastern nations that would supply the ground troops. Only after all the other avenues proved to be unsuccessful would our troops be engaged.
No one will deny the fact that Walker has no background or grasp of foreign policy. There is no record of Walker having a long list of interviews where foreign policy questions have dominated. Except for the quick sound bite interviews Walker has never had to provide a detailed and rational answer that would give insight into his conceptual viewpoint of world affairs. I do not think he has a world view, and clearly from his remarks on ABC has a problem articulating what he thinks he does know.
Where we can all agree, however, is that Walker’s absence of a larger perspective on the world is most troubling and certainly makes us feel uncomfortable with his candidacy.
The political angle that will make for interesting discussion this week is how this whole range of possible foreign policy questions was not better contemplated and a series of thoughtful answers not formulated in the prep sessions for these types of interviews.
But then again if someone was grounded in international affairs they would be aware of how to answer the questions without needing to be prepped.
That is the type of person we should want to see nominated from both parties come 2016.