For nearly a year that they’ve been campaigning, the Republican candidates for president have focused on what they contend is how Barack Obama‘s bumbling foreign policy has led to the U.S.’s loss of stature around the world. While there could be some truth to some of the rhetoric, there’s also a lot of hyperbole and lack of nuance that has only been exacerbated in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November.
Take, for instance, their views on the weekend execution of 47 men by Saudi Arabia. They included dissident Shiite cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, which outraged Iranians who then set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the Saudi Consulate in Mashhad, Iran’s second-largest city.
Tthe men were beheaded except for four killed by firing squads, according to the Reuters news agency.
So how should the U.S. deal with this? The Obama administration performs a delicate balance when dealing with the Saudis and Iranians.
According to Republican presidential candidates Saudis are good, Iranians are bad.
The Saudis justify their executions as part of its strict interpretation of Islamic law, aka Sharia law.
“Saudi Arabia is our ally, despite the fact that they don’t always behave in a way that we condone,” Carly Fiorina said Sunday. “Iran is a real and present threat.”
Ben Carson criticized the Obama administration for backing the Iran nuclear deal (a deal all the GOP candidates have condemned). “Of course, we don’t condone that kind of thing,” he said of the mass executions. “But I’m just saying we need to stop doing silly things that promote these kinds of activities.”
On “With All Due Respect” last night, Chris Christie said he could never support Iran in such a conflict.
Obviously, the Middle East kingdom is an ally because of its strategic importance and oil wealth, but its treatment of women and record on human rights are abysmal. Iran’s government has been a sworn enemy of the West for decades, of course, making it somewhat of a difficult choice as to who, if either nation, the U.S. should be backing.
But the fealty to the Saudi government is disconcerting.
In other news …
Marco Rubio and friends were busy on Monday. Just after the sun came up in New Hampshire, the GOP presidential candidate was delivering a major foreign policy speech, where he once again assailed Hillary Clinton as being a liar for her public comments regarding the tragedy at Benghazi, while saying something else entirely to others. Meanwhile, later in the day one of his super PACS, American Solutions PAC, began airing two ads going off on … Chris Christie? Yes, indeed.
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Three people are now running to be chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, and none of them are named Mark Hanisee.
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HART board member Kathleen Shanahan wants the agency’s chairman to write a letter to local newspapers about what the occasionally besieged transit authority has done and is doing for transportation in the Tampa Bay area.
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Tampa Bay area state Reps. Dana Young and Darryl Rouson plan an event this week to help Hillsborough County motorists restore their suspended driver’s licenses.
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The Republican Liberty Caucus is coming to the defense of a Miami-Dade County Republican who may be ousted from the party because of his advocacy for a Ted Cruz presidency. Manny Roman‘s fate is scheduled to be discussed this week at the Dade County’s Republican Executive Committee meeting.