04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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(CNN) -- House Homeland Security Committee member Peter King said Sunday that the recent provocative, warmongering rhetoric out of North Korea is no "empty threat."



He qualified that by explaining he does not fear the North launching a successful attack on the U.S. mainland, but is concerned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "is trying to establish himself ... trying to be the tough guy," and may "box himself in" and need to display some level of military might.

"My concern would be that he may feel to save face he has to launch some sort of attack on South Korea, or some base in the Pacific," King, R-New York, said on ABC's "This Week."

North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric in recent weeks, declaring the armistice keeping the peace between it and the South to be null, distributing a photo with a "plan for the strategic forces to target mainland U.S.," and on Saturday announcing it was entering a "state of war" with its neighbor.

Despite that and posts on the country's state-run news agency blaring headlines such as "Nuclear War to Be Conducted on Korean Peninsula," a U.S. official said late Friday, "We have no indications at this point that it's anything more than warmongering rhetoric."

"It's sort of like an organized crime family running a territory," King said. "He's brutal, his father is brutal, his grandfather was brutal."

The congressman said he doesn't "see any purpose" in President Barack Obama speaking by phone with the young leader, who assumed control of the country after his father's death in December 2011. Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman visited the country earlier this month and said afterward Kim was interested in speaking with Obama.

The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic ties but have negotiated in multiparty talks over the country's nuclear weapons program and occasionally exchange messages through diplomatic intermediaries.

In response to the North's latest rhetoric, the Obama administration increased its military capacity on the U.S. West Coast and conducted training exercises with South Korea, where nearly 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed.

Ed Gillespie, former senior adviser to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said the administration made a "sensible reaction."

"I think in addition to that, it would be good for the administration to not only bolster our own missile defense, but to support Japan and South Korea with missile defense," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "They are nervous, understandably, and I think doing anything - everything we can to reassure them would be helpful. And obviously, you know, trying to get China to engage in their own region in a way that would be helpful, I think, with Kim Jong Un would be important, too."

King suggested the players are nervous because Kim may feel he has no alternative but to continue upping his threats or lash out.

"He is 28, 29 years old, and he keeps going further and further out, and I don't know if he can get himself back in," King said.

-- CNN's Ben Brumfield, KJ Kwon and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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