Sept. 01–SOUTHFIELD,Mich. — Ohio Gov. John Kasich promised Monday that if he’s elected president, he would rein in the Pentagon bureaucracy and build a defense that projects American values during a forum on policy put on by the pro-strong-defense group Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security today.
The Ohio governor showed that he’ll be tough to trip up in a debate on foreign affairs, talking with apparent ease about world politics, naming national leaders in South America and talking in-depth about the warring factions in Middle Eastern countries, and weapons systems.
The forum, which was attended by about 200 people, was sponsored by the hawkish Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security on the campus ofLawrence Technological University just northwest of Detroit.
Though best known for being a House budget chairman during his 18 years in Congress, Mr. Kasich claims experience in foreign and military affairs by having served on the House Armed Services Committee. He has described himself as a “cheap hawk.”
“I believe in a military that can project power, a military that is mobile and lethal. We have to get places that we have to get to quickly, and when we’re there we have to have the capability to be able to do the job,” Mr. Kasich said in response to questions from the moderator, Danielle Pletka, senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute.
He has endorsed “boots on the ground” against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, which has taken over a large swath of territory in Syriaand Iraq. But he said that he draws a line against intervening militarily in civil wars.
“We really should have been supporting these opposition groups inside Syria from the very beginning. Now it’s become somewhat more confused in terms of determining who our friends and allies are or who we have common interests with as opposed to those we don’t,” he said.
“We should be there in a coalition, and we should erode and kill ISIS,” he said. “There’s also the battle of ideas. ISIS, they’re the worst. But ISIS offers people a sense of friends, family, and a trip to paradise.”
Mr. Kasich said that it has an appeal to which even educated people have responded.
“The West needs to come to grips with this, that we do need to have guard rails, we need to make sure people understand the trip to paradise does not rest in blowing up innocent people in a mall or shopping center or a village in Syria,” he said.
He said he’ld arm Ukraine to defend itself against Russia. “I don’t think we should continue to let [ China] take advantage of our intellectual property,” and said that letting China control the South China Sea is “a no-no.”
APPS is holding individual forums with presidential candidates to see if they are ready to face challenging foreign policy decisions, said Bobby Schostak, APPS Michigan chairman.
Mr. Kasich appeared at a previous APPS forum Aug. 20 in South Carolina.
A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee said Mr. Kasich has a history of “agitating for war,” including 2002 when, as a Fox News talk show host, he supported war against Iraq.
“As John Kasich tries to position himself as a national security expert, he is rewriting history. John Kasich offers the same failed foreign policies as George W. Bush,” said T.J. Helmstetter of the DNC. “To this day he continues advocating for increased military activity around the world, from Iraq and Syria toUkraine to the South China Sea. Kasich’s brand of foreign policy is dangerous for America.”
Mr. Kasich supported the war in Iraq but has added that, based on information we now have, he would not have.
In a brief meeting with reporters after the forum, Mr. Kasich was asked if the Republican could attract black voters in 2016.
“I don’t think it’s impossible at all. We ought to be sure that when we reach out to the minority community that we have something to offer them,” Mr. Kasichsaid.
He said he won 26 percent of the African-American vote in Ohio in his 2014 re-election, “which is a good start. We’ve been engaged in making sure no one is left behind in the state of Ohio and that includes our friends in the minority community,” Mr. Kasich said.
He said President Obama should not have changed the name of the nation’s tallest mountain to Denali from Mount McKinley, after Ohio native PresidentWilliam McKinley, who was an Ohio governor.
“Keep it Mount McKinley. I just think it ought to stay that. You just don’t go and do something like do that. In Ohio we felt it was appropriate. A guy saw that mountain when he was one of the first ones up there and named if after the president, no reason to change it,” said Mr. Kasich in response to questions after he finished speaking.
Mr. Kasich, one of about 17 people competing for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, continues in Michigan today with an appearance in front of the Lansing Chamber of Commerce.
Contact Tom Troy: email@example.com or 419-724-6058 or on Twitter @TomFTroy.
(c)2015 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
Visit The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) at www.toledoblade.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.