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News Link • Politics: Republican Campaigns

Rick Perry: Know-Nothing Neoconservatism Reincarnated?

What would a Perry victory mean for America’s role in the world? Like most governors, including his predecessor, Rick Perry hasn’t talked that much about international issues, even though he has traveled far more extensively than had George W. Bush. But the early signs are not encouraging. In the 2008 race Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani—notable mostly for his know-nothing militancy—as the candidate who “will make America safe.” Perry’s current campaign advisers range from hawkish conservative to Bushian neoconservative. To paraphrase the Bible, where a candidate’s advisers are, there will his policy be. The hyper-hawks, whose affiliations include the American Enterprise Institute, National Review online, and Heritage Foundation, suggest Perry’s general commitment to an imperial foreign policy and force structure. Worse is the role of Bush cabal, highlighted by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who apparently put Perry in touch with several of the others, Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, and NSC staffer William Luti—all architects of the catastrophe known as George Bush’s foreign policy. Gov. Perry’s reliance on these people suggests a proclivity for promiscuous and reckless war making. One unnamed Perry adviser told Foreign Policy online’s Josh Rogin that Perry “will distinguish himself from other Republicans as a hawk internationalist, embracing American exceptionalism and the unique role we must play in confronting the many threats we face.” Michael Goldfarb, who worked for uber-hawk John McCain, approvingly termed Perry “a cowboy,” and said “you have to assume he’d shoot first and ask questions later.”

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