Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator, social conservative conspiracy theorist and possible presidential candidate, stood before a small audience of reporters Thursday and laid out the case for calling America Number One, and the nation’s enemies pure evil.
In a long address aimed at bolstering his foreign policy credentials, Santorum took aim at what he characterized as President Obama’s refusal to accept American exceptionalism and the White House’s propensity to appease “evil.”
It was a speech right out of the foreign policy playbook of the previous administration, and one that demonstrated the conservative view that Obama’s hands are just too soft to carry the necessary big stick around the globe.
There are several wars raging, Santorum said. One is between America and what Santorum called an “existential threat,” the twin evils of “Sharia and its violent iteration, Jihadism.” This fight is no joke, Santorum said, channeling the foreign policy vision of the tea party.
“We should have no illusions about the extent of this threat,” Santorum said. “Radical Islam is extending its tentacles from Africa to America.”
More on that from Salon’s Justin Elliott, who explores exactly what Santorum meant by “existential threat.”
“Understanding this conflict is crucial to understanding why Jihadists are trying to kill us,” Santorum said. “They know what we stand for — freedom and equality.”
But the more important point, from Santorum’s perspective, is not the nature of the threat — but that the current occupant of the White House doesn’t seem to give a hoot.
“In the past two years, has ignoring or appeasing this threat been successful?” Santorum asked rhetorically. “Have offer of talks and negotiations deterred the threat? Did our willful abandonment of the terms relating to Sharia doctrine to violence produce a less virulent and less aggressive enemy?”
“No, no and absolutely not,” Santorum continued, answering his own questions.
His plan: drill baby drill (“the best way to starve the state-sponsored Jihadists of resources is to produce more liquid fuels here”) and making Islam the issue (“today, our leaders have opted for political correctness, referring to our theologically motivated enemies as simply ‘terrorists.’)
The second major war America faces, Santorum said, is the one with “militant socialism.” Not, he said, the “soft economic socialism that is turning much of Europe into a toothless tiger,” but the sort that drives “China, and worse, North Korea.” He pointed to Venezuela who’s “growing influence in Latin America” he said, is unchecked by Obama.
Here, as with the militant Jihadism thing, Santorum’s plan is to call it what he thinks it is. Doing anything else — to behave the way he says the White House has behaved — would be unthinkable.
“Let me be very clear: To negotiate with hardened Socialist states or whitewash and ignore their threats and actions, is to accommodate its leaders and its aggression,” Santorum said. “And that is surrender.”
Santorum offered a 10 point plan to set things right. And the first illustrated his commitment to painting over what he and many conservatives see as Obama’s foreign policy shades of gray.
“We need to begin by seeing the world the way it truly is,” he said. “We need to see evil for what it is, and confront it. And we need to see decency for what it is and nurture it.”
Watch Santorum’s speech here: