Republican Party

GOP Voters Trust Trump to Deal with ISIS, But Is Foreign Policy Approach Too Militarized?

Expert says U.S. relies too much on military over diplomacy.


With nearly a month to go before the Iowa caucuses, the GOP candidates will gather yet again for another debate ahead of the election. Fox News announced this week it's plans for the seventh Republican debate next month in Des Moines on January 28th. 

The last GOP debate was heavily focused on foreign policy in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. Primary voters have appeared to award foreign policy hawks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the polls as both candidates sit atop the Republican field with 39 percent and 18 percent respectively in the latest CNN/ORC poll

 Overwhelming voters see Trump as the best candidate to handle the threat of ISIS. Forty-seven percent of GOP voters prefer Trump on the issue over other candidates. But do Trump's foreign policy plans—which include 'bombing the shit' out of ISIS—rely too much on military power at the expensive of diplomacy?

Nick Gillespie recently spoke with Gordon Adams, emeritus professor of international politics at American University about the recent GOP foreign policy talk and why America will have a hard time fighting ISIS. 

Does U.S. foreign policy always come down to the question of when and where to deploy the military?

It seemed that way in Tuesday night's GOP debate. While the candidates got a chance to showcase their foreign policy and diplomatic chops to the American voter, most of the time was spent bragging about who would be the more willing and able to use the military to accomplish national interests abroad. When and how did U.S. foreign policy become synonymous with military intervention?

"Ever since the beginning of the cold war," says Gordon Adams, emeritus professor of international politics at American University, "We built up a very substantial military and to some degree ever since then the instinct in American policy has been to say that the most useful tool to reach for to demonstrate American leadership, to demonstrate American commitment, to demonstrate American capacity is our military capability."

This heavy reliance on the military for diplomatic relations is actually hurting American national security, according to Adams. "As long as we imagine that we are both exceptional and indispensable in dealing with ISIS, we will fail," he says.

Adams, a former senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets under the Clinton administration, sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to give his thoughts on the recent GOP debate, why foreign policy has become so militarized, and why he thinks it won't help America win the fight against ISIS.