Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, and his running mate William Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts argued that if elected they would be "skeptics" of intervention that would involve Congress in the decision-making progress. The two appeared at a CNN town hall hosted by Chris Cuomo.
Johsnon reiterated his proposal for a 20 percent across the board budget cut, saying even the Pentagon acknowledged it could close down a fifth of its bases, but that members of Congress looking out for their own interests prevent it. "I've never seen a layer of government that didn't have 10 or 20 percent waste in it," Weld said.
Weld pointed out that "the baseline position of the Libertarian party is an 'invincible defense'" that included the projection of air and naval military supremacy around the world. "It does not encompass interventionism, boots on the ground, American blood on foreign soil," he insisted.
Weld brought up the letter signed by 51 State Department officials urging the Obama administration to intervene in Syria. "it takes a lot of the boots on the ground to effectuate regime change," Weld pointed out, "if you want it to stick."
Johnson agreed that military intervention in Syria was a bad idea that's only served to grow the Islamic State (ISIS), leading Cuomo to point out that Libertarians were "seen as isolationists" and asking him what he saw as the role of the U.S. military around the world.
"If we're attacked we're going to attack back," Johnson said, pointing out that one "can argue that about ISIS," but that it was important to involve Congress, which had "abdicated" to the president and the military their role in the decision-making process on intervention. "So we find ourselves in these conflicts without open debate," Johnson concluded.
Cuomo then asked Johnson how he would "stay out of Syria" and Johnson reiterated the point that U.S. intervention up to this point has only helped ISIS. "You had Assad against ISIS, and we've decided to go against Assad and that's ISIS," Johnson said, "so that's now our new ally?"