Ryan lacks foreign policy experience but has solid pro-Israel record
August 11, 2012 2 Comments
By Melissa Weiss, Staff Writer
Washington, Aug. 11 – Rep. Paul Ryan, tapped this morning as presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate, has amassed a solid pro-Israel track record since his election to the House of Representatives in 1998, but the ticket’s cumulative lack of foreign policy experience could be a stumbling block should a military attack against Iran come into play.
The Republican ticket has the fewest foreign policy credentials since 1936, when the election also focused on the economy and Republican Kansas Gov. Alf Landon and New Hampshire publisher Frank Knox lost the bid for the White House.
Among the five pieces of legislation co-sponsored by Ryan with regards to Israel, the most notable is H.R. 1553, which condemned Iran for its threats to annihilate both the United States and Israel. The legislation also supports Israel using “all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time.”
Aside from co-sponsoring five pieces of legislation regarding Iran, Ryan has said little about the Islamic republic, even as an overwhelming 80 percent of Americans think Iran poses a serious threat to the U.S. and its allies.
With regards to the America-Israel relationship, Ryan has not deviated from what has become the standard platform for mainstream U.S. politicians. His position on Israel is clear on his website: “America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy, with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law, but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism. Our shared democratic values and national interests are supported by maintaining a close friendship with Israel. Americans also have a strong interest in Israel achieving a lasting peace with its neighbors – including the Palestinians.”
Ryan visited Israel in 2005 as part of a large Republican Congressional delegation hosted by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. During the trip. he and the other congressmen met with then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and visited strategic sites in Jerusalem and Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michel Oren has called Ryan a supporter of Israel and said the Wisconsin representative has a solid pro-Israel voting record. Israel’s Channel 10 News also reported Saturday night that Oren described Ryan as “very supportive of Israel” after meeting him recently.
Picking the House Budget Committee chairman as the Republican vice presidential candidate emphasizes the Romney team’s efforts to keep the conversation focused on the economy, despite the increasing chances that Israel will attack Iran in the not-so-distant future. Channel 2, Israel’s leading news program, reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall.