GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said on Thursday that he believes the Middle East was safer under the regimes of Saddam Hussein and Muammer Gaddafi than it is now after intervention from the United States.
During an interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Cruz said his foreign policy is “the Reagan approach.” He said he promotes “peace through strength,” and he believes the U.S. “should be defending vital national security interests of this country.”
We’ve seen a consistent mistake in foreign policy, we’ve seen Democrats and a lot of establishment Republicans in Washington get involved in toppling Middle Eastern governments, and it ends up benefiting the bad guys. It ends up handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists.
Scarborough asked whether Cruz believed the Middle East was safer when Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi was in power in Libya, a question Scarborough said he has asked rival Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) along with other Democratic and Republican foreign policy experts.
“Of course it was,” Cruz answered. “That’s not even a close call.”
“Why won’t people say that?” Scarborough replied. “Because I couldn’t even get Rand to say it, but it’s important to admit, is it not, because isn’t this possibly where we’re guided in the future that maybe we don’t topple secular regimes, as offensive as they are.”
Cruz noted the cases of Egypt and Libya where the U.S. toppled dictators and as a result, Islamic terrorists were able to gain power, something he said President Obama along with rival candidates such as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio promoted.
Then you look at Syria. It seems Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and people like Senator Rubio have not learned the lessons of Libya and Egypt, because what are they trying to do – topple Assad. Now Assad is a bad man, he’s a monster, but if they succeed in toppling Assad, ISIS will take over Syria. It will be worse.
“My view, instead of getting in the middle of a civil war in Syria, where we don’t have a dog in the fight, our focus should be on killing ISIS,” Cruz said. “Why? Because ISIS has declared war on America. They’re waging jihad. We shouldn’t keep trying to find these mythical moderate rebels, that we keep being told – like the purple unicorn – they’re going to exist, but they turn out to all be jihadists.”