Gary Johnson on Foreign Policy

Libertarian presidential nominee; former Republican NM Governor


A "No-Fly zone" means war; no regime change in Syria

Hillary Clinton: The situation in Syria is catastrophic. Every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air, bombarding places, in particular Aleppo, where there are hundreds of thousands of people, probably about 250,000 still left. There is a determined effort by the Russians to destroy Aleppo. They're interested in keeping Assad in power. I advocate a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians.

Gary Johnson: Hillary Clinton thinks we're safer with regime change despite Libya, Iraq, Syria. The civil war in Syria is heart-breaking. Without strong diplomacy, Hillary's safe zone [would be] ineffective and would require U.S. boots on the ground.

Source: Johnson Twitter posts on Second 2016 Presidential Debate , Oct 9, 2016

Stay in the U.N., but stay out of foreign interventions

Source: iSideWith analysis of Foreign Policy , May 2, 2016

Take our share of Syrian refugees; not too many but not zero

Q: Your former party, the Republicans, are dead set against allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country. Republican governors (and at least one Democrat) say the risk of ISIS terrorists slipping in through the process is simply too great. Chris Christie went even further than Ted Cruz by saying he wouldn't even admit Christian children. We have currently agreed to let in 10,000 by the end of 2017, but some Democrats want to raise that number to 65,000. What would your refugee policy toward Syrians be?

A: We need to take our share, and I'm not sure what that share should be. I'd like to come up with a formula based on our coalition partners. I wouldn't say zero, but I don't know if 65,000 puts us in the category of "our fair share."

Source: Reason Magazine, interview by Anthony L. Fisher , Nov 19, 2015

Stop replacing bad guys with slightly-less-bad guys

I opposed the Iraq War. I supported going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11, but opposed--and continue to oppose--our failed attempt at Afghan nation building. And I opposed our involvement in overthrowing the government in Libya.

The list goes on and on. Our ill-advised attempts to shape the outcomes of civil wars and replace bad guys with slightly less bad guys have not only failed, but have created vacuums that are today being filled by the politics of Sharia.

The cost of those interventions has been tremendous, with too many of our young men and women of the military killed and wounded... and trillions of dollars spent ineffectively.

Source: Our America Initiative press release, "Nazi fascism" , Nov 19, 2015

America at peace with the world; avoid foreign entanglements

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
Source: 2014 Libertarian Party platform adopted in Convention , Jun 30, 2014

U.S. in Ukraine is like Russia intervening in Puerto Rico

Q: Let's talk about US involvement in Ukraine.

A: We're always talking about sanctions, and sanctions just don't work. And when you look at Ukraine right now, I think that would be analogous to Russia getting involved in Puerto Rico. They're not going to do it. We shouldn't get involved in Ukraine. There are unintended consequences as a result of our military interventions. We have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country because of our military interventions.

Q: How should the US approach the crisis in Ukraine? Should the US do more or less?

A: Well, less! Look, don't get involved in Ukraine! It would be like Russia getting involved in the affairs of Puerto Rico. We shouldn't be involved in Ukraine! There's no national security interest here at stake. And I know you'll hear politicians beating their chests, arguing the opposite. The government has an obligation to protect us against foreign governments that might do us harm--this is not one of those situations.

Source: RT Network (U.K.), "US involvement in Ukraine" , May 11, 2014

It is far past time to divorce Pakistan

Q: General Allen, our commander in Afghanistan, says that Americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by Pakistan. We know that Pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch Osama bin Laden. It still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars. Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?

Gary Johnson: It is far past time to divorce Pakistan. We should eliminate our aid to them, and to all countries for that matter. The U.S. cannot afford to continue printing money and debasing our currency in order to support regimes that do not act in our interests. We need to focus on fixing our own domestic problems rather than ineffectively trying to control other countries.

Source: Libertarian Party response to Third Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 22, 2012

We can no longer afford to shell out billions in foreign aid

When I visited Occupy Wall Street, I felt the frustration of young people who wanted to work but couldn't get an interview, much less a job. When I visit business owners and employers, I meet people who want to hire, but can't.

Meanwhile, the federal government is spending us deeper and deeper into debt while we shell out billions in foreign aid we can no longer afford and trillions more for foreign wars in which our national interest is just not apparent to me.

Source: Gary Johnson, "America moving again" in The Washington Times , Feb 2, 2012

No foreign aid spending unless it protects U.S. interests

Maintaining a strong national defense is the most basic of the federal government's responsibilities. However, building schools, roads, and hospitals in other countries are not among those basic obligations. Yet that is exactly what we have been doing for much of the past 10 years. Given trillion-dollar deficits, America simply cannot afford to be engaged in foreign policy programs that are not clearly protecting U.S. interests. There is nation-building and rebuilding to be done right here at home.
Source: 2012 presidential campaign website, garyjohnson2012.com , Nov 15, 2011

Flights to Cuba ok; trade promotes friendship

Q: Here in Florida, charter flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Havana, Cuba, have resumed. Is there a problem with that? And what are your thoughts on U.S.-Cuba policy?

JOHNSON: With regard to flights to Cuba, I'm in favor of the whole notion that trade promotes friendship, as opposed to not. So I would be inclined to looking at establishing or supporting those kinds of flights.

BACHMANN: We would never have flights between the United States and Cuba. It's a state sponsor of terror.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Act in US self-interest, but wary of unintended consequences

Q: What is your criteria for foreign policy?

A: I think we should act in our self-interest. As I understand it, I think Eisenhower was a pretty good role model for that. Morally, you can justify almost anything we do by saying that we're doing it for the sake of others. I would point to past realities that have unintended consequences. For example, by taking out [the secular regime in] Iraq, we removed a threat to [the religious totalitarian regime] Iran.

Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog , Aug 21, 2011

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Page last updated: Oct 29, 2016