The Magazine

The Perils of Huckaplomacy

Don't know much about foreign policy.

Dec 24, 2007, Vol. 13, No. 15 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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The Bush administration is guilty of a "bunker mentality," said Huckabee. The war in Iraq has "distracted" the administration from pursuing al Qaeda. Although Iran wanted better relations with the United States, he averred, "when President Bush included Iran in the axis of evil, everything went downhill pretty fast." And according to Huckabee, it was not Saddam Hussein but "the U.S. occupation" that "destroyed Iraq politically, economically, and socially." (Huckabee's remarks won praise as "nuanced and comprehensive" from the host of the event, a senior adviser on Bill Clinton's National Security Council.)

In the 11 weeks since that speech, Huckabee has made several other statements about foreign policy in a Huckabee administration. He favors a comprehensive ban on the use of harsh interrogation techniques to extract information from terrorists, and he has urged the Bush administration to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay. And as the writers at the Powerline blog have pointed out, Huckabee seems to believe the best foreign policy is one guided by the Golden Rule--"you treat others the way you'd like to be treated"--and mutual respect, "showing the kind of respect that other nations would want and deserve."

In November, he told a producer for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network that his religious background made him most qualified to lead the war on terror.

In fact I think I'm stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamofascism. These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree.

Mike Huckabee says he begins every day by reading a chapter of Proverbs. But one day not long ago--coincidentally the day that Huckabee allowed Zev Chafets, a writer from the New York Times Magazine, to join him on the campaign trail--the former Arkansas governor did not have time for his daily reading. Nonetheless, he knew much of that day's assignment, Proverbs 3, by heart. He quoted for his companion: "Trust in the Lord, and lean not upon thine own understanding."


Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.