Oct. 15– TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie said President Barack Obama is doing “the right thing” by keeping thousands of troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, abandoning his goal of removing all U.S. forces from the fragile nation before he leaves office.
Christie, one of 15 major candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, was asked in a SiriusXM radio interview by Michael Smerconish his thoughts on the prospect of having thousands of troops in Afghanistan when he becomes commander in chief, provided he wins the 2016 vote.
“It is the right thing to do,” Christie said. “I think the president may be in some small way waking up to the fact that disengaging America from the world and allowing there to be safe havens for terrorists is not the right way to protect American homeland security and national security.”
Obama announced plans to keep the current level of 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan through most of next year and reduce it to 5,500 in 2017, as he leaves office. The United States has now had troops in that country for more than 14 years, begun in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Christie has been harshly critical of Obama’s foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and continued to be in interviews this morning with Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham and Smerconish. He has called most recently for a no-fly zone over Syria and for warning Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United Stateswouldn’t hesitate to shoot down Russian jets.
“This president has disengaged us from the world and we’re seeing, Michael, especially in the Middle East right now, what a post-American world would look like. A world after America has completely pulled back from influence,” Christie told Smerconish. “You’re seeing the way the world blows up and, now, you’re seeing reports this morning about Iranian troops in Syria and about Cuban troops coming to Syria. This is what a Putin world will look like.”
Christie will attend a campaign fundraiser tonight in Missouri, then head to New Hampshire for campaign events Friday.
His campaign must file its first fundraising disclosure report by midnight.
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