8 Revealing Insights into the Cruz Campaign’s Thinking on Foreign Policy

From Our Exclusive Interview with Dr. Victoria Coates, Chief National Security Advisor to Ted Cruz’s 2016 Presidential Campaign.

The following quotes from our exclusive interview with Dr. Victoria Coates, Chief National Security Advisor to Ted Cruz’s 2016 Presidential Campaign, serve as a useful primer on how a Cruz administration might approach several important foreign policy challenges.

(Note: this transcript has been edited slightly for clarity.)

How to ‘win’ in the Middle East:

“As I look at the region, rather than starting by trying to solve the Shiite-Sunni divide, which is a heavy load, I might look at “Okay, what do I have that is positive?” And maybe I could look into reinforcing, enhancing, expanding my relationship with a country like Israel.”
“We unfortunately don’t have 50 Israels, but we do have Jordan, we have Egypt, we have the UAE, we have some really pretty good actors that have expressed great interest in working with us. So I think the starting premise would be to both reach out to those nations, and then try to knit them together into something that could become a much more aspirational, successful model for the region than the series of failed and dictatorial states that we have right now.”

Who’s Worse, Iran or the Saudis:

Official visit to China, CICA summit, Vladimir Putin with Hassan Rouhani (Source: Kremlin)
“Oh that’s not even close for me. If you’re looking at Iran, if you’re looking at a country that has actively killed hundreds of U.S. service-people, spends their time chanting “Death to America,” imprisons our citizens, vows to wipe Israel off the map, those are the bad guys.”

On Egypt:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Egyptian Minister of Defense General Abdul Fatah Khalil al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt, on November 3, 2013 (Source: U.S. Department of State)
“President al-Sisi, and the great opportunity this represents in Egypt, and the utter squandering of it that we’ve seen over the last two years of an [Obama] administration that is still apparently pining for Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood.”
“I mean it might be very close to [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat in ’72, where you really have an opportunity.”

On Turkey:

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G-20 Summit, Sept. 25, 2009. (Source: White House)
“Israel isn’t a NATO ally. Japan isn’t a NATO ally. And I might be more inclined to go and save them from a foreign invasion [than Turkey]”
“I would be extremely reluctant to go to war with Russia over Turkey.”

On Russia:

Vladimir Putin, Sept, 29, 2015 (Source: Kremlin)
“What the Russians do is follow their best interests. And there’s absolutely no interest in human rights, or any of the ideals that underpin our society. And I think as we’ve found in the past, we can have points where our interests coincide with the Russians, and we shouldn’t ever mistake that for the Russians prioritizing our interests.”
“Vladimir Putin ranks pretty highly on lists of people Americans admire. It’s not because they particularly like him, or they think the Russians are our friends, but they are impressed by the fact that there is a leader who will do what he thinks is in the best interest of his country.”

On China:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, 10 July 2014 (Source: U.S. Department of State)
“I don’t necessarily think that the PRC will be a wonderful actor in a superpower role.”
“It’s always been just extraordinary to me that the first time Hillary Clinton went to China in February of ’09, she announced human rights were off the table. We’re not even gonna talk about it. It’s incredible. Why would we cede the moral high ground to these people? It just, it makes no sense. I mean they hate it. Good. That’s a tool.”
“If they know America is strong, if they know America has carrier groups that can be deployed, if they know we have long-range strike bombers that we can use, then they’re much less likely to behave in the way that we would find unpleasant.”

On the Threat of an EMP:

“We are really dancing on some thin ice here… our basic way of life from medical, to food, to communications are based on new technologies that are not sufficiently protected.”
“I know on the Left they like to think of this as sort of a conspiracy theory, and “Oh everything will be fine,” but I’ve seen the numbers… the projections of what could happen.”

On the Cruz Haters:

“You have a lot of people whose sort of “bread and butter” depends on their position on editorial boards, their positions in think tanks, their appearances on television, and all of that is based on a certain way of thinking that they have been perpetuating for 20 years. Now the problem with all of that as cozy and prosperous as it may be, is it hasn’t worked.”

On Ted Cruz’s foreign policy philosophy:

President Ronald Reagan and UN Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, 
11 December 1984 (Source: White House Photo Office)
“He would see Reagans’ and [Jeane] Kirkpatricks’ and Fred Iklés’ interactions with the Soviet Union as a great model: That you don’t pretend that you can domesticate them; you don’t pretend that they are suddenly going to become your friend; but rather that they are a terrible threat that has to be fought every time they poke their heads up. And that does not mean necessarily invading, but it does mean being extremely mindful of America’s interests.”

For our full interview, see Part I and Part II. Listen to the full audio here.

And click here for more on Dr. Victoria Coates’s new book, David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art.