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Chris Christie's Foreign Policy: Bust PATCO!

I'm not sure that anybody cares, but based on the evidence of Chris Christie's "foreign policy address" last night at the Reagan Library (PDF text here), everybody's favorite undeclared candidate has absolutely nothing to say about foreign policy.

The speech began by relating the story of the 1981 air controller's strike, which ended with Reagan firing thousands of air controllers. Er, what does that have to do with foreign policy? "America's role and significance in the world is defined, first and foremost, by who we are at home." Christie moved on to brief mention of "the Reagan who challenged Soviet aggression, or who attacked a Libya that supported terror" before falling back on the familiar: this Reagan was "the same Reagan who stood up years before to [the air controllers' union] PATCO at home."


Then it was on to a description of Christie's accomplishments as New Jersey governor, just in case he happens to enter the presidential campaign. Then he segued into a discussion of President Barack Obama's "paralysis" which "makes it impossible to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans [why am I talking about Americans when I'm supposed to be talking about foreign policy?] and to a watching and anxious world community [that's good, lets try to keep on track]." For instance ... Obama's failure to enact the budget recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission. In the United Nations General Assembly, really, they won't shut up about the Simpson-Bowles commission.

Brief mention of the Cold War to get back on track. Favorable mention of "free and open trade." That's foreign policy, kind of, isn't it? "Around the world--in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa and Latin America--people are debating their own political and economic futures--right now." We want a Middle East that is "largely democratic and at peace" because that is a Middle East that "accepts Israel, rejects, terrorism, and is a dependable source of energy." [Jewish donors like to hear that, right?

Then it's on to discussion of American exceptionalism. We're better than everyone else! Well, usually. But now the Austrian finance minister is complaining that Tim Geithner is a fine one to lecture the Eurozone about debt. Gotta tackle debt. Gotta tackle unemployment. Gotta tackle tax reform. Oh Christ, if I don't state some broad foreign-policy principles here they'll barbecue me. We must be "more discriminating in what we try to accomplish abroad." We need to take into account "local realities" and not "have forced makeovers of other societies in our own image." That's vague enough not to piss off the neocons, right? We need to limit ourselves to "what is in the national interest." 

We can be great again, we're a city on a hill, blah blah blah. That's it, I'm outta here.

And that, dear readers, is the Christie Doctrine.