Cruz on Syria: We Have No Business Sticking Our Nose in That Civil War

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Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz discusses foreign policy with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press.

CHUCK TODD: I wanna move to-- foreign policy, Afghanistan decision by the President. In favor of it?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, listen. It's a recognition that-- that what the President has been saying for years, that Al Qaeda is decimated was never true. That it was political spin. The reality is we live in an incredibly dangerous world and sadly the failures of the Obama, Clinton foreign policy have made the dangers greater.

CHUCK TODD: If you become President though, you're gonna keep his-- this policy in place of keeping those troops there in Afghanistan?

SEN. TED CRUZ: It will depend on the mission. I don't believe we should be engaged in nation building. I don't believe we should be trying to transform foreign countries into democratic utopias, trying to turn Iraq into Switzerland. But I do think it is the job of our military to protect this country, to hunt down and kill jihadists who would murder us.

CHUCK TODD: Syria, priority, Assad outta power or ISIS?

SEN. TED CRUZ: ISIS, ISIS, ISIS.

CHUCK TODD: So basically table the Assad discussion right now?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Look, we have no business stickin' our nose in that civil war. And there are a lotta politicians including Hillary Clinton on the left and including quite a few of the Republicans running for President on the right who want us to get in the middle of that civil war.

CHUCK TODD: So you're no on the no fly zones, none of that stuff--

SEN. TED CRUZ: Look--

CHUCK TODD: --stick to just ISIS? Would you work with the Russians? If they are helping with ISIS, would you help-- would-- would you work with them?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Of course, we shouldn't be parenting with the Russians. Look, this is a great example of the utter failure of the Obama, Clinton foreign policy. This void in power has let Putin step in there. There're a couple hundred Cubans right now with a major Cuban general fighting in the Syrian civil war. You've got Iran. You've got General Suleimani in bed with the Russians. So you now got Russia, Cuba and Iran all arm in arm. And anyone who believes Russia is fighting against terrorism, I got a bridge to sell 'em.

CHUCK TODD: Well, they're proppin' up Assad but you just said you're okay with that 'cause you said--

SEN. TED CRUZ: Look--

CHUCK TODD: I mean--

SEN. TED CRUZ: I don't-- I don't think we should prop up Assad either. But here's the problem. You have people who view foreign policy-- you look at some of the Republicans, for example, who supported Hillary Clinton's disastrous Libya policy. Look, toppling Gaddafi, Gaddafi was a bad guy but you know what? Libya is an absolute chaos and war zone where jihadists are battling back and forth and here's, Chuck, the way we should answer.

CHUCK TODD: By the way, would the Middle East be more stable today if you had the strong men there?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Of course, it would. Of course, it would. It-- it wasn't even close.

CHUCK TODD: Gaddafi, Saddam, Assad, if they're strong men, they keep stability?

SEN. TED CRUZ: It wasn't even close that Libya under Gaddafi was better for US interests than the chaos now that is allowed jihadists to gain strength.

CHUCK TODD: What about Iraq under Saddam?

SEN. TED CRUZ: It-- it wasn't-- it wasn't even close.

CHUCK TODD: Do you think Iraq would be more stable today under a strong man like Saddam?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Based on what we know now, should we have gone into Iraq? No, of course not. It was based on the belief that they had weapons of mass destruction that they would use against us.

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