Almost every pundit agrees that jobs and the economy will be the big issues in the 2012 election. But the U.S. is still fighting multiple wars, facing huge economic and military challenges from China, and dealing with a Middle East undergoing its biggest upheaval in generations. What does Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry think about these situations? So far, the Texas governor has criticized "military adventurism," advocated "taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are," backed building schools in Afghanistan, and urged that it's time to bring the troops home — leading to charges that his foreign policy views are "confused," "inconsistent, muddled, and sometimes contradictory." Are they?

Perry's views are hard to pin down: The Texas governor is in hot water with the "hawkish Republican Right" over his talk of withdrawing from Afghanistan, says Ali Gharib at ThinkProgress. After Perry gave hope to neoconservatives by getting "the Bush foreign policy band back together" to advise him, the Texan now seems to be backing off toward some as-yet-undetermined "middle ground." The result? His "Afghanistan war strategy sounds an awful lot like President Obama's."
"Perry's muddled stance on Afghanistan..."

But the Republican's platform is evolving nicely: Perry advisers say candidly that his "formulation of foreign policy is a work in progress," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. "He is devoted to Israel's security" and allergic to cuts in defense spending, but other than that, Perry is still clearly "making the transition from state politics to the international stage." Obviously, "campaign advisers will spend more time as the race progresses to make sure the governor’s views are fully fleshed out."
"Perry: What does he think on foreign policy?"

We won't learn Perry's real views unless he wins: Let's not fret too much over what Perry says now on global affairs, says Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy. Remember George W. Bush's 2000 "no nation-building" pledge, or Obama's 2008 offer to sit down with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? "It's hard to think of any significant foreign-policy campaign promises made in the modern era that actually mattered." Once you're in the White House, everything changes — and ideologically-driven campaign promises get thrown out the window.
"Everything you ever wanted to know about American foreign policy..."