Concord, NH—Unlike some of the senators and former cabinet members running for president, Rudy Giuliani has never cast a vote on an international issue or had much say in forming American policy abroad.
But despite a lack of any obvious experience in this area—and a conspicuous habit, since becoming a candidate, of avoiding direct and specific talk about the war in Iraq—he and his campaign argue that he is as qualified in the area of foreign policy as any other candidate.
“Foreign policy happens to be an area where I’ve always had a great deal of interest. And I’ve participated in it in many, many different ways,” Mr. Giuliani told The Observer during a press conference Tuesday in Concord, New Hampshire.
He pointed to his years in the Justice Department, his experience representing the myriad nationalities as mayor of New York and his extensive travel in business since leaving office.
“I believe that I have as much, if not more, experience, and significantly more executive experience in this area of foreign policy than anybody running for president,” he said. “Probably a lot more than some.”
This week, at last, he’s trying to prove it.
On July 10, his campaign announced that Mr. Giuliani had signed up seven conservative foreign policy advisers to help him craft a worldview. And on July 12, in Michigan, Mr. Giuliani will lay some of that vision, delivering his first major foreign policy address on the subject of how to expand America’s involvement in the global economy by fighting terror and strengthening the country’s reputation around the world.
The speech effectively represents the debut of a comprehensive foreign policy template for Mr. Giuliani, and will be a test of his ability to show that he is indeed as qualified as candidates like John McCain, who fought in Vietnam and has been a leading Republican voice on foreign affairs, or even former Senator Fred Thompson, who at least has had the experience of voting on foreign policy issues.
That vision, summed up briefly, is that terrorism is the greatest threat to America’s interests, that there is no room for negotiation with terrorists and that Iraq, Afghanistan and everything else are merely components of that greater open-ended struggle.
According to his foreign policy advisers, the upcoming speech will focus specifically on the belief that the global economy, rather than posing a threat to American industry, presents great opportunities for the United States, but that the global terrorism puts those opportunities at risk.
“This is what makes the war we are in, the terrorists war on us, all the more important,” said Charles Hill, a former top aide to Secretary of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, who was presented by the campaign this week as chief foreign policy adviser. “There is a purpose behind what our enemies are doing and it runs contrary to every aspect of international order, cooperation and the structures that provide America such great opportunity.”
Other advisers announced by the campaign include Norman Podhoretz, the former editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine, and former Senator Bob Kasten of Wisconsin.