Opinion

Future Speaker? Eric Cantor blasts Obama on foreign policy: ‘Hope is not a strategy’

ERic Cantor
Photo: AP Image via Politico

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia chastised the Obama administration for its vacillation in world affairs, offering a bolder approach in a speech Monday at the Virginia Military Institute.

“American foreign policy should not be guided by hollow rhetoric, unwise or movable timelines, and unenforced red lines,” he said, according to The Hill. Instead, it should be driven by clear principles: Protect the homeland, defend our allies and advance freedom, democracy and human rights abroad, while maintaining a military superiority that cannot be matched.

“Like all Americans,” he added, “I hope to see Iran abandon its nuclear aspirations through peaceful negotiations, but hope is not a strategy.”

Cantor took particular aim at the administration’s weak-kneed behavior in Libya, where security vulnerabilities were exposed long before the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate there.

“The catastrophic result of [their] inaction is obvious,” he said. “Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, are dead, victims of a terrorist attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Since that deadly day, no one has paid a price for this outrageous attack, no one has been brought to justice. What message does that send to terrorists that an American ambassador can be killed with apparent impunity?”

Carving out a niche in contrast to the party’s more libertarian isolationist wing, Cantor continues to raise his profile as a successor to House Speaker John Boehner, should the latter decide to relinquish the gavel at the end of this Congress, the Washington Times reported.

In recent speeches, Cantor has called for a pathway to citizenship for young illegal immigrants, increased support for school choice, and federal funding for medical research. According to David Winston, a pollster for House GOP leaders, the majority leader learned a lesson from the 2012 election: Republicans must offer voters a clear center-right vision to get elected.

“You have to define for them the alternative vision they are going to get,” Winston said.

In his Monday speech, Cantor made it clear he understands the necessity of a muscular America.

“Many Americans and politicians from both parties want to believe the tide of war has receded,” he said. “As was the case in the wake of World War I, many want to believe the costly interventions of recent years can simply be put behind us, that we can simply choose not to be involved. However, we mustn’t let ourselves be lulled into complacency again or forget the lessons of history.”

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Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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