SENATORIAL PROS AND CONS: FOREIGN POLICY

elephantgop.pngThe principal issue area where the candidacy of Jim Gilmore would seem to have its greatest advantage is foreign policy.  So to give Gilmore the greatest possible advantage relative to Bob Marshall, I decided to compare the candidates with respect to their experiences and their stances on foreign policy.

Please note that this is the fourth in a series on the competition between Jim Gilmore and Bob Marshall for the Republican Party’s nomination to be Virginia’s next senator.  Here are the previous three posts:

At first glance, Jim Gilmore has obvious advantages.  At least, he would appear to have the better resume.  Gilmore has military experience:

Upon graduation, Jim Gilmore volunteered for the U.S. Army and won honors after completing training at the Army Intelligence School and Defense Language Institute.

He was then assigned to the 650th Military Intelligence Group. Serving in Germany during the Vietnam War and fluent in German, Jim Gilmore played an important role in counter-intelligence work safeguarding the security of American bases in Europe. (from here)

And Gilmore has recent experience on homeland security issues.

Gilmore’s successes laid the basis for additional roles in the service of others. Congress chose him to chair a national commission charged with making recommendations on methods to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks on the United States. The Gilmore Commission warned in 1999 and in 2000 that America was facing a possible terrorist attack. After 9/11 Congress adopted 146 of the Gilmore Commission’s 164 recommendations. (from here)

So with respect to foreign policy issues, we should not regard Gilmore as a complete novice.

Bob Marshall, on the other hand, is unable to make any such prestigous claims.

Bob has a BA in History and Philosophy from Belmont Abbey College, North Carolina, and an MA in Humanities from California State University. He has a personal library of 2000+ books, is an avid reader of history, philosophy, constitutional issues, and medical, social and political issues of importance. His hobbies (when he has time) include exercising, gardening and photography. (from here)

So why, when I consider the prospect of voting for Jim Gilmore, do I feel like I am being asked to buy a pig in a pokeJim Gilmore has too little to say about foreign policy issues on the issues page of his web site (see here).  He has a couple of nice sounding paragraphs.  Basically, he is asking you to trust him. 

Although Bob Marshall has served our state for many years as a major figure in the General Assembly, he does not ask us to trust him.  Instead, Marshall tells us what we will get if we vote for him.   Marshall has two posts that specifically relate to foreign policy.  One is on Foreign Trade and the other is on War and Foreign Policy.  In addition, Marshall speaks to his concerns as to how the Illegal Immigration issue should affect our policies towards other nations (here).  What Marshall does not do is pretend that our nation’s energy policy is a foreign policy issue.  It is not.  No foreign nation made us their hostage.  We chose to be a hostage.

If you want to vote for Jim Gilmore instead of Bob Marshall, it is your choice.  Just keep in one thing in mind.  If you want to find out where Gilmore stands, you will have to go to somebody else’s website.  Because of Gilmore’s brief presidential campaign, there is actually a fair amount of information about Gilmore on the Internet.   Here are several informative websites:

One thing I found, for example, is a open letter that Gilmore wrote for the Washington Post on Iraq on June 18, 2007.  This letter calls for a “third way”.  The letter calls for a withdrawal without calling it a withdrawal.

As a veteran of the U.S. ArmyI believe we cannot just abandon Iraq. I believe the only realistic alternative — the least bad option, if you will — is a limited deliberate drawdown of our military men and women and a redeployment of the forces remaining in the region to areas where they can more efficiently and effectively carry out a clearly defined mission.

I believe that the American military is on target when officers ask for a mission that includes maintaining — either at bases in Iraq at the request of Iraq or in bases in Turkey, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia— a military force powerful enough to launch special operations missions against al-Qaeda or Sunni insurgents in Iraq; train Iraqi troops to defend their own country; and guarantee the security of the Iraqi government, if so desired by Iraq.  (from here). 

We can trust Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to host our troops?  Has everybody already forgotten that Turkey flip-flopped and would not let us invade Iraq through Turkey (see here)?   What Gilmore proposes is naive. Of the three nations he lists, only Kuwait might provide a reliable base.  However, the only reason Kuwait would let us stay in their country is to protect Kuwait.  None of these Muslim nations are likely to host our troops so we can carry out the special operations missions that Gilmore suggests latter in his letter.  Muslims letting unbelievers attack Muslims?   Not very likely.

Bob Marshall is less ambiguous.  On Iraq, he says:

Iraq War Policy

Without having access to classified war briefings, I can make informed, though not completely definitive, judgments about the Iraq War.  I believe our troops and our allied forces have successfully removed Saddam Hussein and destroyed his army, but the Iraqi people must win the peace.

Although the war in Iraq has lasted longer than World War II, we cannot cut and run, but we must do all we can to stabilize the region and then begin to bring our troops home.  Stabilization of the region could be aided if all Iraqi citizens were allowed to own shares of the natural oil wealth thereby instilling a greater incentive to deter violence and protect their homeland.  (Wall Street Journal, 11-23-05)  We must consult with our allies on how best to stabilize the area, but our first consideration must be our own nation’s national defense and security.  (from here)

Marshall also specifically addresses when he would make the decision to go to war (from here).

The Constitution and Declaring War

Only the US Congress is authorized to declare war.  Therefore Representatives and Senators have the grave moral responsibility to prudently evaluate the factual conditions for the moral legitimacy necessary to declare war.  War can morally be declared under the following conditions known as the “just war” doctrine:

  • The damage inflicted by the aggressor must be lasting, grave and certain;
  • All other means of ending the conflict failed or were impractical or ineffective;
  • There must be serious prospects for success;
  • The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil sought to be eliminated.

We need leaders who are willing to tell us their position on important issues before we elect them.  Bob Marshall has nothing to hide.  He is not an enigma wrapped in a riddle.  Vote for Bob!

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