The Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie gave a thunderous speech to an energized crowd last night on day two of the Republican National Convention. He got a lot right. He effectively prosecuted the case against Hillary Clinton, there’s no doubt about it. Clinton was more than “extremely careless” but premeditatedly criminal in her handling of classified intelligence. He’s the right guy to call her out on it, if the Department of Justice won’t.
His remarks on Syria and President Assad, however, though brief, misfired. The crowd got quiet when he turned his attention to the Syrian civil war. Not because the Obama-Clinton years were anything but a disaster. That everyone in the audience could agree on. The administration’s handling of the Arab uprisings of 2011 and the multiple conflicts that grew out of those events have made the region less safe and bloodier. What is in question is why Chris Christie advocated for more of the same, and at a higher intensity.
Let’s go to Syria. In Syria imagine this, imagine this. She called President Assad a reformer. She called President Assad a different kind of leader. There’s now four hundred thousand dead. Think about that, four hundred thousand dead. At the hands of the man that Hillary defended. So we must ask this question, Hillary Clinton, as an awful judge of the character of a dictator and butcher in the Middle East, is she guilty or not guilty?
There is a sharp split between Republicans who support President Assad and those who would have liked to take a more active role in toppling him. The Trump base is more in favor of working with Assad against radical Islamic terrorism, in contrast with the establishment Christie comes from. Trump supporters want to knock the hell out of ISIS, not empower it. The neocon establishment has more in common with the Clinton doctrine of arming Islamic terrorists to topple governments they disagree with, than with Trump supporters.
While right to criticize the Obama-Clinton years for their handling of foreign policy, Christie advocated for a more extreme version of war hawk Hillary Clinton’s Syria stance. Helping rebels who behead children gain any ground against a secular Syrian government is the wrong foreign policy for a Trump administration.
The Syrian government has been forced to face four battlefronts against dozens of proxy terrorist groups financed and armed by multiple nations eager to see a divided Syria overrun with Islamists. Islamists that terrorize and kill the Christians that have lived their since the times of Jesus Christ. Many of those nearly 500k killed in Syria have been supporters of the government and Syrian soldiers themselves, young men and women seeking to protect their country from terrorism and fragmentation. The Christie Foreign Policy doctrine is wrong on Syria, and it has no place in a Trump presidential campaign. The public should know that it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who want to involve America in counterproductive Middle East interventions that harm our national security.
Watch the full speech below, so you can also see the multiple positions Christie got right.