May 18th, 2014
10:02 PM ET
3 months ago

Christie calls for more forceful foreign policy

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie painted a bleak picture of America's standing in the world on Sunday, blaming the Obama administration for making the country appear weak by not defending the nation's values in other parts of the globe.

"No one understands any longer who America stands with or against," he argued. "No one really understands exactly what we'll stand for - and what we are willing to sacrifice to stand up for it."

Christie said it's time for the country's leaders to "stop singing a happy tune" about the country's condition. "It is time for us to tell the truth about that condition and then to begin taking the hard and firm actions that are necessary to fix it," he continued.

The Republican governor made his remarks at a gala hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's "This World: Values Network" in New York. Major Jewish figures, including Israel's ambassador to the United States, as well as mega GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, attended the dinner.

If there was any doubt that Christie didn't line up with the more hawkish wing of the Republican Party, he firmly quashed those doubts Sunday night. Christie, who's seriously considering a run for president, argued U.S. leaders needs to re-establish America's reputation as a strong enforcer of freedom and promoter of prosperity, even if that requires "sacrifice."

"We need to stand once again loudly for these values, and sometimes that is going to mean standing in some very messy, difficult places and standing strong and hard for those things that we believe in," he said. "And it will mean sacrifice from the people of our country."

Christie cited both domestic and foreign policy concerns as reasons for what he described as the country's deteriorating status. At home, he blasted Washington for partisan gridlock on fiscal issues.

"We are and have become a dysfunctional government that even our own people snicker, laugh at, ignore and are disgusted by," he said, adding there was a time when developing democracies wanted to emulate America's government, but that is no longer the case.

Related: Christie, Perry to share table at event

On international affairs, the governor referenced issues in Syria, Russia and Iran as three foreign policy areas in which the Obama administration has failed to show strength and credibility.

He said America "is no longer sending clear signals to the world - consistent signals."

"Signals like the ones Ronald Reagan sent when he was president as to who our friends are and that we will stand with them without doubt, and to who our enemies are, who we will oppose regardless of the cost," he continued.

Christie's remarks solidify his stance on national security issues as the Republican Party is knee-deep in an ideological fight over foreign policy. That debate has perhaps played out most visibly between Christie and another potential 2016 contender, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who's trying to woo the broader Republican base with his libertarian-leaning, non-interventionist views.

Christie's speech was widely anticipated in the Jewish community because the last time Christie appeared before a Jewish audience, he made a major blunder by referring to the "occupied territories," a term Israel and its allies don't use.

Many Israelis don't consider the territories to be occupied, but rather say Israel has a legitimate claim to the land. Palestinians, along with the United Nations, consider the West Bank to be Palestinian but under military occupation by Israel.

In a private meeting later with Adelson, the GOP donor, Christie said he "misspoke" and that he didn't believe the West Bank is "occupied" by Israel. While Christie didn't mention Israel in his speech Sunday, he made it clear that the United States should more overtly align with its allies, and he singled out Iran as a "terrorist state" with nuclear capability.


Filed under: 2016 • Chris Christie • Foreign Policy
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    In front of a foreign dignitaries Gov. Christie bashed his own country. What a patriot?

    May 18, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Maybe the Big Guy thinks America needs to shut down some bridges overseas during rush hour with a few cruse missiles .

    America is only strong if it is at war , and war is a job creator , New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie .

    It's a no brainer !

    May 18, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. plain & simple

    When Christie says Americans must be willing to sacrifice. What's he willing to sacrifice? It's very easy to insist others must sacrifice. Looks like a few staffers "sacrificed"quite a lot for him. Now he's asking American mothers and fathers sacrifice their children for what he deems necessary? The man who closed a bridge so his constituents could "sacrifice " their time and energy to have him make a political point? Does he really think we are stupid? Let me answer.... yes he does!

    May 18, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Chris-E...al

    Mr C . It is hard for Mr 0 . to relate or care when he can count every family member here in america on one left hand .

    May 18, 2014 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. Scott

    I call for less traffic jams in Jersey. Frankly, I am not interested in Christie's warmongering and wasteful spending habits. We need a President who is willing to invest in infrastructure and build things. Christie is not up to the challenge.

    May 18, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. Mycology

    Was there ever a kingdom, state, country or nation of "Palestine" ?

    Or was it a region, like Siberia, Appalachia, and the the Balkans?

    ...Wasn't it Jordanian? Jordan... that country that sits on 80% of the REGION of Palestine? The country that was given away to a foreign royal family?

    Palestinians have no heritage, no nation, they are a recent invention – the dregs of the arab society. Which is why other Arabs hate them so much.

    May 18, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. YoonYoungJo

    With the bridge scandal looking like Christie had nothing to do with it, or at most, played an extremely minor role in it, I can't help but still like Christie. I don't agree with all his policies. But he is willing to listen to the people a lot more then the other GOP. If the GOP really wants to recapture the people it needs to do things that help the common people. Its fine to be pro business and economy, but you need to always remeber there is a human side to things.

    May 18, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. truth hurts but reality bites

    I'm sure the whack job lefties in here will label him a war monger but he speaks the truth. The whack job isolationist left think the USA military is evil and needs to be contained, if not dismantled. As we have seen in the Ukraine and other places, weakness and fecklessness invites aggression by the bad actors around the world. They learned nothing from history and will doom us all to repeat the mistakes of the past and let tyrants and dictators run wild around the globe as we abandon our allies as Obama has done some many times.

    May 19, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Erick Holmes

    Like bush helped. Yeah, Christie and the others can complain all they want, but in reality, Bush hurt our international standing with the Iraq War, and him and his party has the nerve to open their big mouth. Figures.

    May 19, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. it must be asked

    The USA, or more accurately Obama, is abandoning the Ukraine after the USA gave assurances to the Ukraine 20 years ago when Bill Clinton was President. It is pretty clear Obama doesn't think the word of this country is worth anything. He thinks sending them MREs to fight tanks is help. Obama is a total embarrassment to this country.

    May 19, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. America First

    the Grand Obstructionist Party will bring us back into war... which instigates terrorists and increases our national debt. Thats the sacrifice Christie is suggesting.

    May 19, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  12. king

    typical repub, trickle down economics by robbing the american people and infrastructure to push money to the rich who is investing like hell in china. china economy will surpass us in a few month of being the biggest on this planet. the repubs congress have blocked this president's agenda of modernizing our country and moving us forward, while other countries invest like hell in theirs. they boldly talk about stopping this president agenda, therefore stopping our country in its tracks, as other countries gain and overtake us on the international stage. the repubs almost destroyed this country with their trickle ideology in 2008, when they pile up all the money to a few rich folk, when couple of those rich folks stumbled, they took the whole country and planet down with them. the repubs trickle down economics is heading on the same road of destruction, and they are fooling the american plublic to go back to those days without changing nothing with their trickle down ideology.

    May 19, 2014 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  13. Steve696

    What we need is any foreign policy. What we have is an ad hoc reaction to whatever is happening in the world, usually too late to be effective. Even the disastrous "lead from behind" was a one-off with Libya, unless you count Obama following Putin's lead in Syria. Strengthen our foreign policy? I don't want a stronger joke.

    May 19, 2014 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    What does he mean by " sacrifice"? More of the blood/ lives, emasculation of and physical disability and mental hurt of said " American soldiers" sent out on unwinnable wars against states and people that do not share our cultural and religious beliefs.
    When we the good ole USA GOP declared war on terror we were declaring war on the Islamic faith and invoking their faith 's belief right to jihad Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and more recently Kenya and Nigeria ( # bring back our girls) have simply proved the failure of the " boots on the ground war on terror"
    The sooner the western world in total stops designating groups as terrorists and declaring automatically war on them the sooner we reduce significantly their raison d' etre to fight jihad. And if afghans want an Islamic state ruled as they fit and even subject to sharia law so be it..... by what justification do we the USA or Israel deny them thier right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. so far AS I AM AWARE ONLY HAMAS as a terrorist group has publicly denied any other state its right to exist ( Israel) or practice its religious beliefs and freedom of speech.
    Being an infidel does not mean we are at war with Islam
    Christie, is demonstrating the worst kind of hypocrisy of republican doctrine for pure domestic consumption claiming its viable International diplomacy!
    Pathetic.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    May 19, 2014 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  15. Marie MD

    Ha! The man who couldn't keep a bridge open right under his nose is talking about foreign policy?
    Please. Go back to eating donuts. You will NEVER come close to the WH.

    May 19, 2014 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  16. sad state of affairs

    Another gop war monger, I'm shocked!

    May 19, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  17. sad state of affairs

    When the best campaign talk you have is bashing the other guy, your not trying to reach an informed and educated voter. Your trying to get someone to vote on emotions, which isn't very smart, but that's who their looking for. Look at the red states, most dependent on government, least educated, and oh so easy to con, what has the gop done for their red state voting block of least intelligent among us?

    May 19, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Krispy is wrong. Only the brain dead are wondering why we are not in two more unnecessary wars. As for approval around the world, it is better now even though It will take time to overcome the ill feelings that the Bush Doctrine created. I find it amusing that Krispy did not know what was going on 20 feet from his office, but thinks he know what is going on 10,000 miles away from the White House.

    May 19, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  19. rufusvondufus

    Currently we are devoid of any foreign policy except to allow any foreigner into our country whether they be illegal or terrorist.

    May 19, 2014 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    These republicans guys think that foreign policy means WARS, shaking hands with Muslim mullahs for Oil to loot the nation even further linked to Haliburton type contracts. My advise, learn to identify who is USA foe, who is friend. So that you can not provide 30 billion dollars to Pakistan–till then don't talk of Foreign policy, nor Russia.

    May 19, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |