By Thomas Ashe
The 2016 race for the White House is in full swing, with three Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate announcing within the past month: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite the similarities of the three conservative members of Congress on domestic grounds, the three Republican candidates do not have much in common when it comes to foreign policy.
The issue of foreign aid and U.S. relations with Israel have dominated the political and news media circuits in the first quarter of 2015. This has proven to be a divisive issue not only for the country, but also for the three Republican candidates. While Senator Paul intends to end Israeli aid, Cruz has been an outspoken proponent.
Throughout his political career, Senator Paul has changed his stance on foreign aid to other countries aside from Israel, admitting on the Today Show in April that ending foreign aid is something that “will have to be done gradually.”
According to Reuters, Cruz said in his announcement speech, “Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.”
This was a direct hit at not only President Barack Obama, but also Rand Paul. Ted Cruz knows that he needs to distance himself from Paul, and foreign policy is the best way to strike that difference. Recently, Senator Rubio told USAToday that diplomacy and foreign aid should “vastly outnumber” the country’s use of military force abroad, a statement surely not in lockstep with his fellow Republican rivals.
Senator Paul, according to the Washington Post, has stated numerous times that he believes that the United States should not borrow money from China to send to other countries abroad. Charged with more political reasons than moral, Cruz has also previously called for an end to foreign aid to Egypt and Ukraine, Politico reports.
Secretary Clinton’s recent entry into the race will undoubtedly bring with it controversy. Her record as Secretary of State will be called into question. Benghazi, improper correspondences, and other missteps will be used against her by opponents.
Assuming Hillary Clinton secures the nomination, her Republican counterpart will surely pose this question to voters: Do you feel that we as a nation are safer after Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State? There are always two answers to every story. In her case, that will undeniably be a tough sell.
Voters will have a clear choice in this election, judging from the current field. Secretary Clinton’s experience will go against Cruz’s credibility as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Paul’s and Rubio’s on the Senate Foreign Policy Committee.
Whether their short time served in the Senate will back up their platforms is too early to say. It is also too early to call the final number of hopefuls for the Republican and Democratic nominations.