Republican Convention 2016

RNC Foreign Policy Platform: More Spending, Things Are Awful, Obama Sucks

Republicans can make it better because they're Republicans, argue Republicans.


Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

The Republican party released its platform (PDF) today, dedicating an entire section, entitled "America Resurgent," to what amounts to their foreign policy vision. It is a lot of words spilled to justify a simplistic and counterproductive idea—that more defense spending equals better defense. It declares the party is of "peace through strength," much like the 2012 platform did in its "American Exceptionalism" section.

"Our country faces a national security crisis, and only by electing a Republican to the White House will we restore law and order to our land and safety to our citizens," the platform reads, disabusing anyone of the notion Republicans would seek to avoid hyperbolizing the threats that animate America's disastrous foreign policy. "Tyranny and injustice thrive when America is weakened," the party declares in its platform. "The oppressed have no greater ally than a confident and determined United States, backed by the strongest military on the planet." This from the party whose presumptive presidential nominee has praised the dictator Saddam Hussein for the way he cracked down on his population.

At one point, the party platform echoes Year 2000 George W. Bush, insisting it did not support nation building. "We must rebuild troop numbers and readiness and confirm their mission: Protecting the nation, not nation building," the party declares. "The United States should meet the Reagan model of 'peace through strength' by a force that is capable of meeting any and all threats to our vital national security." The promise rings hollow considering the foreign policy vision the party lays out.

"All our adversaries heard the message in the Administration's cutbacks: America is weaker and retreating," the party declares. "Concomitantly, we honor, support, and thank all law enforcement, first responders, and emergency personnel for their service," it continues. The entire platform is dedicated to "the men and women of our military, of our law enforcement, and the first responders of every community in our land" and to their families.

Repubicans' narrow view of defense spending neglects the realities of the developing 21st century. The background cost of the U.S. military is about $2 billion a day—that's the cost of maintaining a military that can then turn around and be used as it was in 2011 to intervene in the civil war in Libya. Although the Republicans mention Benghazi several times in their platform, they do not draw much of a connection between the incident (and the broader deterioration of security in post-war Libya) and the interventionist urges the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton satisfied with their actions in Libya.

A military equipped to be deployed for interventions like the one in Libya tends to be deployed for interventions like the one in Libya, which, thanks to Republicans and Democrats, come with little if any Congressional authorization or even oversight. In its platform, the Republican party essentially argues for a military capable of nation-building while insisting that was not its goal.

"Successive years of cuts to our defense budget have put an undue strain on our men and women in uniform," the party says in its platform. "This is especially harmful at a time when we are asking our military to do more in an increasingly dangerous world."

The party goes further, identifying three national security threats—Russia in Ukraine, China in the South China Sea, and the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East—and calling them the "results of the administration's unilateral approach to disarmament."

Yet while China's more aggressive posture in the South China Sea and elsewhere has also perplexed the Obama administration, it should surprise neither Republicans or Democrats, coming as it does on the heels of a much vaunted 'Asia pivot' by the Obama administration easily interpreted as an attempt to contain China and its regional influence. Blaming suboptimal defense spending on the rise of the Islamic State is rich as well, especially coming from the party whose most recent president launched the invasion of the Iraq that contributed significantly to the ability of an entity like the Islamic State to flourish in the Middle East.

Later, the platform notes that the Middle East is "more dangerous now than at any time since the Second World War," laying the blame on the Obama administration not prioritizing "America's national interests, the trust of friendly governments, and the security of Israel." Friendly governments, of course, aren't the same as democratic governments. Republicans are here complaining about the perceived lack of support by the Obama administration of regimes like Egypt's—setting aside the debate over the Arab Spring and democracy in the Middle East, such a complaint runs counter to Republicans' insistence that a "strong" America prevents tyranny. As for the old Israel argument, Obama has been as "pro-Israel" as pretty much all his relevant predecessors, and perhaps even more so. Less controversially, the platform declared that the party believed the Iran deal was a "personal agreement" between Personal Obama and the other "negotiating partners" that could be overturned by a successor. This is generally true.

The platform continues by amazingly declaring that the Obama administration "so mishandled the Arab Spring that it destabilized the entire region." Again, this doesn't square with Republicans' insistence that a strong U.S. foreign policy was a deterrent to tyranny. The Arab Spring began as protests against tyrannical governments, often backed by the U.S. In such a reality, the most substantive opposition to such governments will tend to be of the extremist religious variety. Radical Islamist groups who may have taken advantage of the Arab Spring were empowered to do so by America's long-standing support for the region's tyrannies. The Republicans pivot seamlessly in their platform from the complaint of Obama mishandling the Arab Spring to regret that protests failed in Syria and that the U.S. did not intervene. "Understandably, our allies fear for their future in a region far more dangerous than it was eight years ago," the party concludes. The party says it supports "transition to a post-Assad Syrian government" as well as pushing Hezbollah out of Lebanon and calls unequivocal support for Israel "an expression of Americansim."

The party also staked a harder-line on China than it did in 2012. "China's behavior has negated the optimistic language of our last platform concerning our future relations with China," the platform declares. "The liberalizing policies of recent decades have been abruptly reversed, dissent brutally crushed, religious persecution heightened, the internet crippled, a barbaric population control two-child policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations continued, and the cult of Mao revived." Irrespective of how accurate Republicans' descriptions are, the idea that a break in a decades-long trend of liberalization warrants forsaking all optimism is shaky at best.

While the Republicans repeated their call for European members of NATO to increase their share of defense spending, they did not, unlike their presumptive nominee, call for any kind of re-evaluation of the 70-year-old alliance forged in the early days of the Cold War. Instead, Republicans insist they'll "meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union." In other words, more spending. The platform also envisions a role for the United States in the process of economic integration in Central Asia.

The platform thanks Mexico and Canada for being "partners in the fight against terrorism and the war on drugs," noting further that the "Mexican people deserve our assistance as they bravely resist the drug cartels that traffic in death on both sides of our border." Unsurprisingly, there was no reflection on the merits of the drug war in the first place. The platform also called the normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations a "shameful accommodation to the demands of its tyrants." The party insists it cannot "welcome the people of Cuba back into our hemispheric family" until "after their corrupt rulers are forced from power and brought to account for their crimes against humanity."

While re-affirming the perceived benefits of the U.S. in remaining in the United Nations, the platform does insist the U.S. "should no longer tolerate its managerial scandals, its Human Rights Council composed of some of the world's worst tyrants, and its treatment of Israel as a pariah state."

The platform also stressed America's role in defending "religious liberty" around the world and insisted on foreign aid that "must serve America's interest first." Foreign aid, the Republicans argue, "must not only project the best of American values, but must work to create self-sustainability and leverage the resources and capacity of the private sector." Apparently Republicans' belief in a private sector that can thrive free of government intervention does not extend beyond America's border (and given their record of supporting government interventions in the private sector that comport with their agenda, it may not extend within America's borders either, only in rhetoric.)

Amazingly, for as much hay as Republicans make about Democrats not using the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism," it's only invoked twice in the Republican platform. First in a short section about Republicans' continued commitment to spending on Africa and the spread of radical Islamic terrorism in Africa and again when explaining why the U.S. must support human rights (except, implicitly, when such rights might leadg to an unfriendly democratic government). "To those who stand in the darkness of tyranny, America has always been a beacon of hope, and so it must remain," the platform declares. It would surprise many people who live and have lived under tyrannies backed by the U.S. government. "Radical Islamic terrorism poses an existential threat to personal freedom and peace around the world." If you go back to the top of the "America Resurgent" section, you'll note radical Islamic terrorism was also implied to have contributed to a lack of "law and order" in the U.S. And, as the Republican platform tries to convince us, only more spending, and a Republican president, can make the world great again.

NEXT: RNC Platform Opposes Gay Marriage Recognition While Making Case for It

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  1. America Resurges!

    1. If the surge works are we going to have to commit more Americans or fewer?

      1. “How much should we give?

        The only answer: ‘more more more'”

    2. America Resurfaces!

      1. We’re followers of Macadam Smith.

  2. the GOP is just about as interesting a TFA.

    1. *as

    2. Tits and fucken ass?

      1. I always thought it was TNA or T&A. I guess TFA is the millenial way to say it?

        1. Warren is a millenial?

  3. She could fuck my world*, I can tell you that much.

    *In this scenario, the world is my penis. Meaning, she can fuck my penis. As in, using my penis sexually.

    1. I don’t understand these youphemisums.

    2. Pretty sure fuck actually means “punch a hole in”…

      Maybe a better (?) phrasing would be “she could use my penis to fuck herself with”…

    3. Your so smooth Crusty.

    4. Either we’re looking at a different picture, that’s sarcasm, or as one of my friends from long ago always said ‘that guy would fuck a snake if he could get someone to hold it still for him.’.

      1. The backwards sense of sexual attraction is sort of CJ’s gag.

        1. *gag*

  4. “The oppressed have no greater ally than a confident and determined United States, backed by the strongest military on the planet.”

    This gets more annoying every time I read/hear it. Besides the obvious interventionist overtones, it’s just obvious shilling.

    It’s like when Hannity et al. do the whole “Muslims kill gays but Democrats like Muslims. Republicans actually stick up for gays! QED.”

    1. He just wants as many people as possible to see Trump MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Can’t fully appreciate all the winning we’ll be having if you’re blind.

      1. Is this a masturbation reference?

    2. Not to be a cynical campaign manager, but he could have really sold that as a candidate.

      “What’s up with Hillary this week?”

      “The FBI basically admitted she committed illegal acts but won’t go after her because she’s too big.”

      “Oh? And what’s that Republican guy doing?”

      “Oh, he’s providing free eye surgery for inner city black kids.”

      1. Great point. But I think Rand might actually be a decent human being. He does seem to keep his charity work pretty low-key as far as media goes.

        The dude is honorable. There’s a lot of temptation to tout that shit – and nobody could really blame him for it. But he chooses to just be satisfied that he’s doing it.

      2. “The FBI basically admitted she committed illegal acts but won’t go after her because she’s too big.”

        You know, it’s really not right to make fun of her weight. It’s her turn after all.

      3. The man may as well be gouging out the eyeballs of methadone-addicted black orphans for all the left cares.

    3. Ugh. He is just helping the less fortunate to improve his own image.

      Pay for my healthcare.

  5. Tell me again,how Obama cut defense spending with the R’s in charge of congress? Of course,defense spending exploded after 9\11.

  6. How, exactly, does she “seem the type”? I mean, the BLM button doesn’t exactly go with the GOP image being pushed here, but she also “accepts tips” (not yours, Crusty), so…is into free markets?

    I dunno, but seems like a rather shitty profiling*, ED.

    *or, maybe she does, and my give-a-shit/fascist-o-tron is on the blink.

    1. Not mine?!?!?!?!? Dude, she would smack it up, flip it up, and rub it down. Oh no!

      1. Smack you tip up??? I dunno whether to go BBD or Prodigy here!

        1. *your

          /…fucken no editing features…

      2. See a broad to get dat booty yak ’em, …leg ‘er down a smack ’em yak ’em!

  7. Ugh. I am going back to my gun-porn.

    I found Elmer Keith’s personal safari rifle for sale; A winchester model 70 in 458 win mag. *sucks through teeth*
    What to do…what to do?

  8. This from the party whose presumptive presidential nominee has praised the dictator Saddam Hussein for the way he cracked down on his population.

    When did he do that, Ed?

    1. Here.

      “He was a bad guy — really bad guy. But you know what? He did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism,” Trump said.

      1. “Cracking down on his population” =/= “He killed terrorists. He did that so good.” unless you accept “his population”==”terrorists”

      2. You mean when he was arguing that the Iraq War destabilized the entire region by allowing Islamist radicals to get out from under the thumb of the local strongman?

        Trump was making an argument against Hillary’s interventionism and against stupid wars. It takes a dishonest person (read: Ed) to pretend that DJT was expressing his unalloyed love for Saddam.

    2. The several occasions where he praised Saddam for being “tough” on terrorism?

      1. Was it a bad thing that secular Ba’athists held the Islamists in check?

        1. You can be against the Iraq War without sucking Saddam’s cock. The guy was pure evil, and while fighting “terrorist” in Iraq, he was writing checks to the families of Palistinian terrorists. Also, there was that whole brutal occupation of Kuwait and terrorizing of their population, but you only care about icky Islamic terrorists, right?

    3. He didn’t.

      Notice the complaint that the R’s are trying to hang the destabilization of the ME on Obumbles and Hillary while it was their president that knocked the first domino over by deposing Saddam. If Trump points that out and adds in the wildly incompetent policies of Obama/Clinton it is somehow praise of Saddam.

      I need to order a new warehouse full of facepalms. Trump derangement syndrome is causing me to run out fast.

  9. No one in either party is going to pay more than lip service to cutting the military budget. There is too huge of an amount of crony bucks to be spread around with the military industrial complex.

    As long as people are able to use political office for their own personal profit, nothing will ever change, except for getting worse.

  10. I need a ruling – Ed vs. Shackford placement on the Alt-Text leaderboard

    I assume Shaq still is in the lead but Ed seems to be putting pressure on him

    1. Shack is number one for sure. Ed and Jesse are two and three (Jesse is sneaky good). On one occasion ENB’s alt text was a reference to the “would” meme, which I naturally took as an endorsement of the most unnecessary commenter tradition, and yes I am including John’s gay marriage tirades.

  11. Only Rufus can make America great again.


    Ru. FUS!

    1. #Cthulu/Rufus2016

    2. Nah, I think we’ll pass….

      1. /squishes sour cherries in Warren’s eyes.

        1. Arrrrrrggggh Why?! Why!?!

    3. Fuck is this? I see a coup or usurpation of power!

      Almanian/Hyperion Supreme Overlords 2016!

    4. Tell me something good.

  12. Fuck the platform. Donald Trump has beaten up that foreign policy, taken its lunch money, and is holding it upside down with its head in a swirling toilet. The “Old Right” is back, baby. America First. Trump’s critics on the “right” claim his foreign/military policy is indistinguishable from that of Ron Paul.

    Hitlery Clinton and that goofball ex-Republican governor are warmongers. Trump is the only real Peace Candidate.

    1. I thought we agreed on cankles!


      1. That is, as opposed to calling her ‘Hitlery’.

        1. Hildebeast is also acceptable.

  13. Who reads these fucking “Platforms”?

    They’re so dumb and vague that they obviously aren’t anything to do with actual policy-strategists.

    Its obviously just “Christmas wrapping” – shiny-stuf that the party puts on its politcal brand… all feels, no actual utility or substance or applicability.

    And its equally intended to be thrown away as soon any anyone takes office.

    It seems to me that the point of these platforms is entirely “something to feed the dissatisfied “Base”; put all the hardcore-HURR DURR KILL TURRISTS and WE HATE GAYS SoCon stuff in the Platform… but downplay that shit in the actual candidate, for “electability”‘ reasons.

    The DNC platform is a similar grab bag of “MO FREE SHIT” and “RACIAL JUSTICE” which will never see any actual policy-proposal either.

    Its like, “let the hardcore ‘reddest of the red’ or ‘bluest of the blue’ write the platform” so they’ll shut up for the next 6 months.

    1. I’m sure you’re a hit at the party.

      Here comes Dennis and his anti-platform rhetoric.

    2. Who reads these fucking “Platforms”?

      I assumed their primary purpose was to provide the opposition with easy pull-quotes.

    3. It’s all total mental masturbation.

      Just say “our platform is whatever our candidates say they’re going to vote for because that’s how government works.”

      Absolutely nobody is sitting around saying “I’m not really sure who to vote for this time around…. Better wait ’til the party platforms come out.”

      I just picture a bunch of dudes sitting around in straw hats in the early 20th century coming up with this shit. It was probably silly and ridiculous back then too.

    4. It’s high time someone had the courage to come out and say: I am against all the things everyone hates.

      Abortions for some…miniature American flags for others!

  14. OT: saw the new Ghostbusters this weekend and was pleasantly surprised it was not an SJW morality play. The infamous trailer made me think it would suck, but it stayed true to the original and had some decent jokes in it. Just like the original, the govt screws things up and is left helpless. The only thing I can ding it on is that it has the same plot as the original, which is a given for a reboot.

    What was more disturbing was having to sit through the preview for Bridget Jone’s Baby or whatever. The premise is that a 40 something woman has sex with two middle age men in the space of a few days, gets pregnant, then has no idea who the father is. Inexplicably, both men decide to support her throughout the pregnancy because they both want to marry her and be the father. I realize it’s fantasy, but wow. I have an easier time believing the premise of The Matrix.

    1. I’m rethinking my stance on Ghostbusters. I saw Leslie Jones on the new Match Game and she is ferociously hilarious. I won’t see it in the theaters but I’ll ‘flix it when it comes time.

      I find it amusing the’ve done a My two Dads movie.

    2. OT: saw the new Ghostbusters this weekend

      What was her name?

    3. The premise is that a 40 something woman has sex with two middle age men in the space of a few days, gets pregnant, then has no idea who the father is. Inexplicably, both men decide to support her throughout the pregnancy because they both want to marry her and be the father. …


      This scenario actually happened among childhood friends

      While i was in college, the 2 biggest “tough-guy irish bullies” in my neighborhood were both fucking the same skeezy girl that everyone else had lost their virginity to during high school.

      She was officially dating one, but sleeping with the other on the side.

      she discovers she’s preggers. Boyfriend insists they keep it and get married now. Sideline loverboy hears about it and demands a paternity test. She doesn’t want to know whose it is and just wants to get an abortion and move on. There is a very awkward few-months where this story is being circulated like the best plot from “Days of Our Lives” only its a real life drama starring 3 of the people who used to be ‘the popular kids in school’ but are now quickly turning into a working class sitcom.

      They eventually had a sit-down and it was decided that boyfriend and her would keep the baby and raise it as their own. no paternity test ever done. But i think sideline guy still suspects its his love-child, but acknowledged that he was in no position to be a dad.

      Anyway, i always thought it would a great basis for a broadway musical.

    4. If you keep seeing the bloody things they’ll keep making more of them.

      *finishes buying Star Trek Beyond tickets*

    1. Jesus, Derp.

      Now my night is ruined.

      So effen sad.

  15. We can even create playlists of them so it will be very easy to find our videos which we like. We can also download those videos and can watch them offline. Showbox for pc

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