Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

Trump will inherit many foreign policy disasters

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

The most difficult mistakes for Trump to fix will be the foreign policy blunders committed by the last administration – the creation of wars in other countries and the the supporting of our enemies (giving assault weapons to drug cartels, giving nuclear weapons to Iran, etc.) that are the most difficult to make right.

Consider this article from the Daily Signal.

It lists 5 crises created by the Obama administration in the last 8 years:

  1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  2. Afghanistan War
  3. Ukraine-Russia War
  4. Saudi Arabia-Yemen War
  5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

There was no “Islamic State” in Iraq or Syria when president Bush left office. Iraq and Syria, along with Egypt and Libya, were stable. Libya had just voluntarily given up their WMD programs without a shot being fired, because of concern that Bush would invade them, too. But then Obama became president and withdrew our troops from Iraq. What happened next? Genocide, rape and sex-trafficking on a scale unimaginable to naive American progressives.

Excerpt:

1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria

In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State during the first half of 2014, the U.S. and allied countries began a military campaign against the terrorist group, relying primarily on airstrikes and support of local ground forces.

As of Nov. 2, the U.S. coalition has conducted nearly 16,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the countries where ISIS maintains its largest presence.

The Defense Department reports that as of Aug. 31, the total cost of operations related to defeating ISIS is $9.3 billion and the average daily cost is $12.3 million.

Trump inherits the military campaign against ISIS during a crucial phase, as the U.S. undertakes missions to take back key territory controlled by the militants.

[…]In Syria, the Obama administration is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who announced last weekend they were launching a campaign to liberate the ISIS capital in Raqqa. There are roughly 300 U.S. special operations forces on the ground in the country.

The moves to take back ISIS’ remaining strongholds showcase the extent to which Obama has prioritized the counter­terrorism mission in Syria over efforts to help resolve the country’s civil war, which has resulted in as many as a half a million deaths.

On Monday, in a press conference, Obama acknowledged his Syria policy “has not worked.”

Another blunder by the Obama administration occurred with his decision to take a naive, pacifist stance with Russia. Obama and Clinton were following the liberal playbook, which states that the best way to stop a bully from being aggressive is to bow down to him and grovel. This is literally how progressives think about foreign policy – they think that weaknesses causes tyrants to back off, and that strength causes tyrants to arm up and attack their neighbors.

How well this the progressive view work with Russia?

3. Ukraine-Russia War

Europe’s only active war has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The conflict started in 2013, when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suspended talks on a trade deal with the European Union. Thousands of protesters hit the streets in the following days, supporting closer ties with the West.

The protests turned violent, and Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels began to seize territory in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk eventually declared independence.

Two cease-fire accords are not being observed. The Obama administration’s policy has been to support a German and French-led effort to negotiate a settlement to the war, and maintain pressure on Russia by working with the European Union to uphold sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration has also delivered Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in nonlethal aid, but has not provided weapons.

Obama isn’t providing Ukraine with weapons, because his progressive playbook says that Russia will be more likely to attack if they stand to take more losses to anti-tank weapons. That’s how people on the secular left think. They make decisions based on what makes them feel superior and what makes them look idealistic to others – not based on what works.

But there’s more. Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio championed an idealistic intervention in Libya. They thought that if we got rid of Libya’s dictator, then there would be a spontaneous uprising of peaceful Muslim democracy-lovers. So they ordered air strikes with no ground invasion, and guess what they got?

Islamic State taking root in the anarchy they created:

5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

Obama has described his efforts to destroy al-Qaeda’s core leadership as one of the successes of his national security policy. But the terrorist threat has spread to new regions in recent years, prompting a U.S. military response, and Trump will have to decide how to proceed.

Unrelated campaigns in Libya and Somalia are prime examples of the diffuse threat.

In Libya, the U.S. has conducted more than 360 airstrikes in support of pro-government forces trying to expel ISIS from the coastal Libyan city, Sirte. A small number of U.S. special operations forces are also providing on-the-ground support.

Since the 2011 American intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s deposed dictator leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been plagued by instability.

Today, the U.S. is supporting a project to build a unity government in Libya. But the unity government has not yet won the approval of Libya’s various rival factions.

“Libya is a quintessential civil war,” Middle East expert Pollack said. “ISIS makes their home in civil wars.”

Separately, in another African nation, Somalia, the U.S. has been engaged for more than a decade in an air campaign against al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The group is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks in Africa, when in 2013 it struck a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

The terrorist group spawned in 2005, taking advantage of chaos in a country that has been split apart by civil war for 25 years.

This year, The Washington Post reports, the U.S. has conducted more than a dozen airstrikes and drone strikes against al-Shabab.

According to The New York Times, as part of a multifront war against militant Islam in Africa, American forces are also involved in helping to combat al-Qaeda in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

Although progressives like to style themselves as being “anti-war”, they actually cause a lot of wars and deaths with their misguided idealistic military interventions. Obama inherited a peaceful situation in Russia and in the Middle East, but he screwed everything up.  To stop wars you must understand military issues. Just because a person says they don’t like war, it doesn’t mean that they know what actions to take to avoid war.

Least qualified president ever leaves Trump foreign policy disasters

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

Of all the things that the least qualified president did in the last eight years, the most difficult for the incoming Trump administration to fix are the national security and foreign policy blunders.

It’s not just that he gave away all our classified secrets via Hillary’s unsecure e-mail server is a problem. And then there were the leaks of our national security secrets from people like Edward Snowden and gay private Bradley Manning. And of course the hacking of our computers by the Chinese. What else would you expect from a political party that focuses on free condoms and gay marriage?

But the worse mistakes are the foreign policy blunders – the creation of wars in other countries and the the supporting of our enemies (giving assault weapons to drug cartels, giving nuclear weapons to Iran, etc.) that are the most difficult to make right.

Consider this article from the Daily Signal.

It lists 5 crises created by the Obama administration in the last 8 years:

  1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  2. Afghanistan War
  3. Ukraine-Russia War
  4. Saudi Arabia-Yemen War
  5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

There was no “Islamic State” in Iraq or Syria when president Bush left office. Iraq and Syria, along with Egypt and Libya, were stable. Libya had just voluntarily given up their WMD programs without a shot being fired, because of concern that Bush would invade them, too. But then Obama became president and withdrew our troops from Iraq. What happened next? Genocide, rape and sex-trafficking on a scale unimaginable to naive American progressives.

Excerpt:

1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria

In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State during the first half of 2014, the U.S. and allied countries began a military campaign against the terrorist group, relying primarily on airstrikes and support of local ground forces.

As of Nov. 2, the U.S. coalition has conducted nearly 16,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the countries where ISIS maintains its largest presence.

The Defense Department reports that as of Aug. 31, the total cost of operations related to defeating ISIS is $9.3 billion and the average daily cost is $12.3 million.

Trump inherits the military campaign against ISIS during a crucial phase, as the U.S. undertakes missions to take back key territory controlled by the militants.

[…]In Syria, the Obama administration is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who announced last weekend they were launching a campaign to liberate the ISIS capital in Raqqa. There are roughly 300 U.S. special operations forces on the ground in the country.

The moves to take back ISIS’ remaining strongholds showcase the extent to which Obama has prioritized the counter­terrorism mission in Syria over efforts to help resolve the country’s civil war, which has resulted in as many as a half a million deaths.

On Monday, in a press conference, Obama acknowledged his Syria policy “has not worked.”

Another blunder by the Obama administration occurred with his decision to take a naive, pacifist stance with Russia. Obama and Clinton were following the liberal playbook, which states that the best way to stop a bully from being aggressive is to bow down to him and grovel. This is literally how progressives think about foreign policy – they think that weaknesses causes tyrants to back off, and that strength causes tyrants to arm up and attack their neighbors.

How well this the progressive view work with Russia?

3. Ukraine-Russia War

Europe’s only active war has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The conflict started in 2013, when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suspended talks on a trade deal with the European Union. Thousands of protesters hit the streets in the following days, supporting closer ties with the West.

The protests turned violent, and Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels began to seize territory in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk eventually declared independence.

Two cease-fire accords are not being observed. The Obama administration’s policy has been to support a German and French-led effort to negotiate a settlement to the war, and maintain pressure on Russia by working with the European Union to uphold sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration has also delivered Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in nonlethal aid, but has not provided weapons.

Obama isn’t providing Ukraine with weapons, because his progressive playbook says that Russia will be more likely to attack if they stand to take more losses to anti-tank weapons. That’s how people on the secular left think. They make decisions based on what makes them feel superior and what makes them look idealistic to others – not based on what works.

But there’s more. Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio championed an idealistic intervention in Libya. They thought that if we got rid of Libya’s dictator, then there would be a spontaneous uprising of peaceful Muslim democracy-lovers. So they ordered air strikes with no ground invasion, and guess what they got?

Islamic State taking root in the anarchy they created:

5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

Obama has described his efforts to destroy al-Qaeda’s core leadership as one of the successes of his national security policy. But the terrorist threat has spread to new regions in recent years, prompting a U.S. military response, and Trump will have to decide how to proceed.

Unrelated campaigns in Libya and Somalia are prime examples of the diffuse threat.

In Libya, the U.S. has conducted more than 360 airstrikes in support of pro-government forces trying to expel ISIS from the coastal Libyan city, Sirte. A small number of U.S. special operations forces are also providing on-the-ground support.

Since the 2011 American intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s deposed dictator leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been plagued by instability.

Today, the U.S. is supporting a project to build a unity government in Libya. But the unity government has not yet won the approval of Libya’s various rival factions.

“Libya is a quintessential civil war,” Middle East expert Pollack said. “ISIS makes their home in civil wars.”

Separately, in another African nation, Somalia, the U.S. has been engaged for more than a decade in an air campaign against al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The group is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks in Africa, when in 2013 it struck a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

The terrorist group spawned in 2005, taking advantage of chaos in a country that has been split apart by civil war for 25 years.

This year, The Washington Post reports, the U.S. has conducted more than a dozen airstrikes and drone strikes against al-Shabab.

According to The New York Times, as part of a multifront war against militant Islam in Africa, American forces are also involved in helping to combat al-Qaeda in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

Although progressives like to style themselves as being “anti-war”, they actually cause a lot of wars and deaths with their misguided idealistic military interventions. Obama inherited a peaceful situation in Russia and in the Middle East, but he screwed everything up.  To stop wars you must understand military issues. Just because a person says they don’t like war, it doesn’t mean that they know what actions to take to avoid war. President Trump is inheriting disasters from his incompetent predecessor.

A review of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record of achievements

Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help
Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help

This article is from the Washington Examiner.

Excerpt:

Iraq:

[…][W]hen the [Iraq] war was at a tipping point in 2007 and General David Petraeus advocated for a surge of U.S. forces to regain lost momentum, she voted against it.

As secretary of state she failed to negotiate a residual force that would have prevented Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from creating sectarian strife. The ensuing strife led to the creation of an irregular war between Sunni and Shia with the Islamic State growing from that turmoil.

Libya:

Clinton considers the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya to be one of her finest hours as secretary of state. President Obama considers it one of his worst failures. As secretary of state, she pushed for U.S. and NATO involvement against Gaddafi. When he was overthrown, there was no plan for follow-up governance. The result was instability, a huge refugee flow into southern Europe and the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Libya.

Worse was the eventual loss of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi terrorist attack. It was the first killing of a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979. The response from our secretary of state? She claimed his killing was the result of an anti-Islamic video.

Russia:

As secretary of state she proudly pushed the “reset” button on U.S.-Russia relations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009. She couldn’t even get the translation on the button correct: The Russian word emblazoned on the button actually meant “overload.”

How prescient. The ensuing result was Cold War 2.0. After her reset, Russia took Crimea, invaded Ukraine, strongly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad, conducted airstrikes against civilians in Aleppo, Syria and significantly increased their military and political presence in the Middle East.

Syria:

In Syria, while secretary of state, Clinton watched as United Nations resolution after U.N. resolution failed. She accomplished nothing except to repeat the refrain “Assad must go.” She said in 2012 that opposition to Assad was the first step towards a better future for the people of Syria.

Tell that to the 500,000 Syrian dead or the 3 million refugees. When Obama drew a red line in 2012 against chemical weapons-use against civilians, Clinton stood by and did nothing as the Syrian regime used sarin nerve gas against civilians.

Egypt:

In 2009, Clinton called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his wife “friends of the family.” Some friends. In January of 2011 they were gone, overthrown by an Arab Spring uprising Clinton openly supported. Even greater turmoil followed under the Muslim Brotherhood until a popular uprising resulted in their overthrow.

The new, popularly-elected President Abdel el-Sisi is considered by Clinton to be governing through what is “basically an army dictatorship.” Egypt has always been critical to the stability of the Middle East pertaining to Israel. We need them with us for continued efforts to maintain peace in the region. Clinton’s position denigrates a key ally in the Middle East.

The article does not mention the disastrous Iran deal, which gave Iran $1.7 billion to help them fund terrorist attacks and develop nuclear weapons for use against Israel. But Hillary Clinton supported that deal, too – according to the far left New York Times.

This article by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review recalls her lack of concern for national security:

Had anyone else in government set up a private e-mail server, sent and received classified information on it, deleted over 30,000 e-mails, ordered subordinates to circumvent court and congressional orders to produce documents, and serially and publicly lied to the American people about the scandal, that person would surely be in jail. The Clinton Foundation is like no other president-sponsored nonprofit enterprise in recent memory — offering a clearing house for Clinton-family jet travel and sinecures for Clintonite operatives between Clinton elections. Hillary Clinton allotted chunks of her time as secretary of state to the largest Clinton Foundation donors. Almost every assistant whom she has suborned has taken the Fifth Amendment, in Lois Lerner fashion.

Being “present” when decisions were made doesn’t give someone a resume that is worth offering them a job. What matters is that they were present and made the right decisions. Hillary Clinton has no accomplishments. Unless you are one of America’s enemies, there is no reason to expect her to be a good President. We know this from her record of failure. She just doesn’t have the ability and the skill needed to exercise good judgment on foreign policy and national security.

DHS whistleblower: Obama administration not serious about Islamic terrorist threat

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

This PJ Media article is by Debra Heine.

Excerpt:

Philip Haney, the Homeland Security whistleblower whose investigation into Islamic infiltration of the U.S. might have prevented the San Bernardino attack, has written an important op-ed for The Hill, warning of President Obama’s misplaced priorities when it comes to national security. In brief, says Haney, “the Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups than with the safety and security of the American people.”

There are terrorists in our midst and they arrived here using legal means right under the noses of the federal law enforcement agencies whose mission is to stop them. That is not due to malfeasance or lack of effort on the part of these officers; it is due to the restrictions placed on them by the Obama administration.

Not only did the Obama administration shut down an important investigation that could have connected enough dots to prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack, they went back and erased the dots Haney was “diligently connecting.” Worse yet, when he complained to the DHS inspector general, the DHS and the Department of Justice subjected him “to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same inspector general.”

None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem.

Debra links to Gates of Vienna and quotes them about that:

The “behavioral indicators” listed to help DHS agents identify potential domestic terrorists include carrying around a copy of the Constitution, promoting First and Second Amendment rights, having a Gadsden flag sticker on one’s car, and advocating for a minimal federal government.

[The Obama administration’s approach] is thus designed to serve a dual purpose: (1) to protect Muslim Brotherhood organizations and their operatives who have penetrated federal, state, and local governments, and (2) to help the Obama administration crack down on its real enemies, domestic conservatives who want to re-establish constitutional governance.

Debra wrote a couple of prior articles on this DHS whistleblower, one from 12/14 and one from 12/11.

So is it really true that the Obama administration – in their mad rush to let in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from countries that don’t like Western civilization very much – is not serious about keeping terrorists out?

Remember the recent San Bernadino attack?

CBS News reported that 5 different Obama administration agencies failed to detect one of the San Bernadino terrorists:

Tashfeen Malik arrived in the United States with her fiance Syed Farook in July 2014. Just two months earlier, her U.S. government background check found no suspected ties to terrorism.

She was granted a K-1 visa, even though the FBI now believes she was radicalized before she met Farook.

The State Department says Malik was thoroughly questioned during an interview at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.

[…]Five U.S. agencies also vetted her, checking her fingerprints against two databases. Neither her name nor image showed up on a U.S. terror watch list.

It seems to me our national security agencies have been indoctrinated by their Democrat leaders to target conservative taxpayers instead of radicalized Islamists. And in fact we have evidence of that, reported in the Washington Times way back in 2009:

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

[…]The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

It says the federal government “will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months” to gather information on “rightwing extremist activity in the United States.”

The joint federal-state activities will have “a particular emphasis” on the causes of “rightwing extremist radicalization.”

The attacks by radical Islamic terrorists are happening because the Obama administration has taken their eyes off the threat from radical Islam, and has instead focused on YOU – the Christian conservative taxpayer who disagrees with abortion and gay marriage and big government socialism. You are the enemy they are watching. That’s why the attacks that actually happen catch them by surprise.

We have terrorist attacks like San Bernadino and Orlando because the government we elected is led by moral relativists – secularist leftists who deny the reality of objective morality.  Their primary objective is not to protect the taxpayers who pay their salaries and pensions. Their primary objective is to praise moral evil, and shame moral goodness. That’s why they have nothing to say about the danger of radical Islam, and instead prefer to talk about expressing peaceful disagreement to their desire to redefine marriage. We are being governed by atheistic sociopaths who cannot reason about morality. And we elected them.

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Ted Cruz’s panel of foreign policy advisers represent diverse perspectives

Ted Cruz meets voters at a campaign event
Ted Cruz meets voters at a campaign event

Well, I sometimes listen to the Hugh Hewitt show, and since foreign policy is his thing, I get to hear pretty much every foreign policy point of view there is. Imagine how surprised I am to find that practically everyone that Hugh has on as a guest is on Cruz’s foreign policy advisory panel.

This article from NewsMax explains:

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz unveiled his national security team, which includes former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent and former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy.

[…]Abrams, who served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, praised the senator’s support for Israel, saying that “he has made it clear that he believes a strong Israel is America’s key ally and asset in the Middle East.

“He understands the power relationships in that region and he will put an end to the tensions of the Obama years that have weakened the U.S.-Israel alliance,” Abrams added. “He is very clearly the most pro-Israel candidate in the race today.”

Other members of Cruz’s team include:

  • Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Health and Human Serves and general counsel of the National Security Agency.
  • Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.
  • Retired Army Lt. General William Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
  • Fred Fleitz, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst.
  • Randy Fort, who has served in senior intelligence positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations.
  • Frank Gaffney Jr., president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy.
  • Nile Gardiner, a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
  • Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
  • Katharine Gorka, president of the Council on Global Security.
  • Steven Groves, a senior research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
  • Mary Habeck, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Kristofer Harrison, a co-founder of the China Beige Book who once served in the George W. Bush White House.
  • Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain.
  • Michael Ledeen, an author who serves at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
  • Clare Lopez, a vice president at the Center for Security Policy.
  • Robert O’Brien, a partner at the Larson O’Brien LLP law firm in Los Angeles.
  • Michael Pillsbury, who was a Reagan campaign advisor in 1980.
  • Charles Stimson, the senior legal fellow and manager of National Security Law Program at the Heritage Foundation.
  • Daniel Vajdich, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
  • Christian Whiton, a former State Department senior advisor in the Bush administration.

My favorite guys on that panel are Frank Gaffney, Andrew McCarthy, Nile Gardiner, William Boykin and Michael Ledeen. Gaffney is probably the most hawkish of all of them, so I was surprised that Cruz put him in there. I always thought that Cruz was more libertarian on foreign policy than I am. And maybe he is, but he put all my favorite hawkish guys on his panel anyway. I don’t know the specific people they listed from the Heritage Foundation, but it is my favorite think tank, so they have to be good. And I see someone named Mary Habeck from the American Enterprise Institute – my second favorite think tank. My favorite defense analyst from AEI is Mackenzie Eaglen, but they didn’t pick her, oh well.

This article from the radically leftist Bloomberg View notes that Cruz has a whole ton of moderate conservative voices on his foreign policy advisor panel to balance out the hawks that I like so much.

It says:

[…]Cruz’s team includes former officials who reject Gaffney’s broad view that any Muslim who believes in Sharia law by definition believes in a totalitarian and violent ideology at war with America.

“We’re at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It’s not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing,” Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and a Cruz campaign adviser, told me.

Jim Talent, a former Missouri Republican senator who was a key adviser to Romney in 2008 and 2012, is signed up for the Cruz team. So is Mary Habeck, a former staffer on George W. Bush’s national security council, who is an expert on jihadi organizations and has warned against demonizing the entire religion of Islam.

Another Cruz adviser, Elliott Abrams, helped craft Bush’s policy to empower moderate Muslims in the Middle East against radicals. He told me he feels much the same way as Habeck. “It’s now 15 years since 9/11, and I think it’s obvious that Muslim citizens in the U.S. and Muslim leaders abroad have an absolutely critical role to play in fighting jihadis and other Muslim extremists,” Abrams said. “This is partly a battle within Islam that they are going to have fight and win. Alienating these potential allies is the kind of foolish policy that the Obama administration has engaged in when it comes to Arab states that are our allies.”

Victoria Coates, who has been Cruz’s main adviser on national security since he came to the Senate, told me this tension on the policy team “is by design and not an accident.” She added: “Both Frank and Elliott are people I went out of my way to set up meetings with the Senator. He has met with both of them individually for years.”

[…]His new team of national security advisers, in this respect, has something for everyone.

I think this balanced approach matches Cruz’s approach in other areas. He isn’t looking for mediocre people who are loyal to him above all. He has hawkish people in his panel, but he also has respected moderates. I have heard Andrew McCarthy, Michael Ledeen and Jim Talent on Hugh Hewitt’s show many times. Victoria Coates is highly respected by everyone when it comes to foreign policy. The moderate people are the best at putting forward their view, just as Gaffney is the best at putting forward the hawkish view. Cruz’s approach will lead to good discussions, which will lead to smart policies. We certainly can do a lot better than the Obama administration’s “screw up then cover up” approach.

In contrast to Cruz, who does have good advisers on foreign policy, we are hearing this from Trump:

He says: “I’m speaking with myself, I have a very good brain”. That might for for Scrabble or balancing your check book, but we are talking about foreign policy and national security, here.

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