The Republican Party is divided on foreign policy. There are “interventionists” like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who want America to more aggressively wage war—either directly or via proxies—in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and beyond. And there are “isolationists” like Rand Paul who worry that if America tries to fix the world’s problems through the barrel of a gun, we’ll become a bankrupt empire rather than a prosperous republic.
Then there’s Ted Cruz, who unites both factions by embodying the worst of each.
Take Cruz’s position on ISIS. Like McCain and Graham, Cruz believes in basing American policy on the most apocalyptic assessment of the ISIS threat. When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, Cruz did not ask him to analyze the risk ISIS poses to the United States. He asked Dempsey to sketch the “worst-case scenario” that ISIS could possibly present. Then Cruz took to the airwaves to chastise the White House for not recognizing the severity of the danger.
Cruz is particularly incensed by the Obama administration’s failure to recognize the threat of an ISIS attack across the Rio Grande. “First and foremost,” he wrote on CNN’s website, “Washington should resolve to make border security a top priority finally, rather than an afterthought, of this plan in light of concerns about potential ISIS activities on our southern border.” That’s right. America’s “foremost” priority when it comes to ISIS should be neither Iraq nor Syria but Mexico.