WHILE THE economy will be the central issue of the presidential campaign, foreign policy and national security should be a close second. 2012 is shaping up to be a dangerous year for America’s international interests — with Iranian saber-rattling, North Korean threats, and concerns over stability in Iraq emerging since New Year’s Day alone. If Republicans hope to unseat Barack Obama, they will need to nominate a candidate who can match the president’s impressive international record and hold his own in the general election debates on America’s daunting global agenda.
The perfect Republican candidate would combine the strategic sophistication and guile of Richard Nixon with Ronald Reagan’s clear moral leadership and George H.W. Bush’s unmatched international experience. Who among the surviving candidates is best prepared to continue the rich Republican foreign policy strength in knowledge, judgment, and experience dating back to Dwight D. Eisenhower at the height of the Cold War?