Paul Ryan's foreign policy speeches: What they say about Mitt Romney's running mate

Foreign policy likely won't decide the election in November — unless perhaps voters learn just how aligned Ryan's world views are with those of George W. Bush

Daniel Larison

Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be the Republican vice presidential candidate has delivered a burst of life to an otherwise dull election campaign. Unfortunately, Ryan's views on foreign policy are drearily familiar. Though the seven-term congressman is known mainly for his attention to fiscal issues, and his foreign policy experience is minimal, he has, in recent years, spent time outlining his hawkish views on foreign policy. Considering that Romney's "one guiding principle" for his vetting team was that his VP candidate be qualified to take office on Day 1, now's a good time to look closely at Ryan's understanding of how the U.S. fits into the rest of the world.

To be sure, foreign policy issues will not determine the outcome of the election, and even if they do, it would be Romney's views rather than Ryan's that would matter most. It's also true that Ryan will naturally follow Romney's lead during the campaign and afterwards, but the congressman's foreign policy views and record still require attention because of what they tell us about his judgment and experience, and in assessing whether Romney's decision to name Ryan to the ticket was a prudent one.

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