Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • 24 killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Prosecutor says captives were killed for organ harvesting in Kosovo

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

Americas

Republican contenders clash over foreign policy

Video by Olivia SALAZAR WINSPEAR

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-23

Republican candidates in the US presidential race traded lively arguments over Pakistan, Iran and national security issues during Tuesday’s debate, in which the front runner Newt Gingrich appeared buoyed by his recent surge in the polls.

REUTERS - The Republican presidential hopefuls criticized U.S. policy toward Pakistan and called for placing sanctions on Iran's central bank in a lively and substantive foreign policy debate on Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich, a former House of Representatives speaker, gave a composed performance in the first debate since he surged to the top of polls. He backed an overhaul in immigration policy that would include a guest-worker program similar to plans condemned by conservatives in the past.

The debate, the second on foreign policy in the last 10 days, featured sharp exchanges on a broad range of issues, including anti-terrorism laws, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Republicans ganged up on Pakistan and questioned whether the United States could trust it. Texas Governor Rick Perry called Pakistan unworthy of U.S. aid because it had not done enough to help fight al Qaeda.

"To write a check to countries that are clearly not representing American interests is nonsensical," said Perry, who has faded in polls after recent debate stumbles but had a stronger performance on Tuesday.

Representative Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called Perry "highly naive" and said the United States should demand more from a "violent and unstable" Pakistan with nuclear weapons.

She called it "a nation that lies, that does everything possible that you could imagine wrong. At the same time they do share intelligence data with us regarding al Qaeda."

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said U.S. aid to Islamabad could help "bring Pakistan into the 21st century, or the 20th century for that matter."

The extensive criticism of Pakistan featured "nasty and provocative language," said Teresita Schaffer, a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, but she said a Republican president probably would not change Pakistan policy much.

'Complicated reality'

"I suspect that any plausible Republican would have to deal with the complicated reality in about the way the current administration is doing," Schaffer said.

Democrats have criticized the Republican field for a lack of foreign policy knowledge, but the wide-ranging debate was substantive and devoid of major missteps. Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China, is the only candidate with deep foreign policy experience.

In a discussion of ways to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program, Perry and Gingrich backed sanctions on the Iranian central bank. Gingrich called it "a good idea."

"I think replacing the regime before they get a nuclear weapon without a war beats replacing the regime with war, which beats allowing them to have a nuclear weapon," Gingrich said of Iran.

Eight Republicans participated in the debate at Washington's DAR Constitution Hall, which aired live on CNN and was the 11th for Republicans seeking the right to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Gingrich, as the latest in a series of conservatives to challenge the more moderate Romney for the top spot in the Republican race, had the most to lose in the showdown.

A series of recent polls gave Gingrich an edge over Romney, who has hovered near the top of polls all year but failed to win over many conservatives. Gingrich's campaign has soared as rivals like businessman Herman Cain and Perry faltered in the spotlight.

But Gingrich could draw new criticism from conservatives with his support for an immigration overhaul with a guest worker program. If you are an immigrant with children who works, pays taxes and attends church, he said, "I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out."

The candidates largely agreed on the need to strengthen domestic surveillance and anti-terrorism laws but several warned of the potential threat to civil liberties.

Gingrich said authorities should use "every tool that you can possibly use" to fight terrorism and endorsed strengthening the Patriot Act, the law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to expand police powers to battle terrorism.

But libertarian Representative Ron Paul said the law undermined personal liberties. "I would be very careful protecting the rule of law," he said.

Former Senator Rick Santorum said he would back the use of profiling to give heavier airport screenings to Muslims, because they are "the folks who are most likely to commit these crimes."

Cain refused to go that far, but called for "targeted identification" of passengers. He said profiling was "oversimplifying" the issue.

The debate, co-sponsored by conservative think tanks the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, is the first presidential debate in Washington since a 1960 face-off between Democrat John Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon that helped launch Kennedy's run to the White House.

 

Date created : 2011-11-23

  • USA

    US 'Supercommittee' fails to find debt solution

    Read more

  • USA

    Republican presidential hopefuls tangle on foreign policy, slam Obama

    Read more

  • USA

    Cain fights back after sexual harassment claims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)