Rick Perry Warns Against Military Adventurism

Rick Perry spoke before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention today, which turned out to be an interesting venue for what he had to say about foreign policy:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry appeared before a ballroom of veterans Monday as the governor of Texas, but used the platform to deliver a national message on foreign policy and war strategy.

Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in San Antonio, Texas, Perry said the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks should cue a renewed commitment against America’s enemies, “wherever they are, before they strike at home.”

However, he said American soldiers should only go to battle when “our vital interests are threatened.”

“I do not believe America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism,” Perry said. “We should always look to build coalitions among the nations to protect the mutual interests of freedom loving people.”

“It’s not our interest to go it alone,” Perry added.


“We cannot concede the moral authority of our nation to multi-lateral debating societies,” Perry said. “When our interests are threatened, American soldiers should be led by American commanders.”

Interesting comments to say the least, all the more so since Perry hasn’t really spoken publicly about foreign policy sign announcing his candidacy. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t  but too much weight on what Perry is saying here. After all, there was another Governor of Teas about 12 years ago who said this:

“I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you ….but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you…..I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.”


Somalia. Started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission, and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price.

And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.

I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow a dictator that’s in our and it’s in our when it’s in our best interests.

But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti, I wouldn’t have supported either.


LEHRER: But the reverse side of the question, Governor, that Vice President Gore mentioned for instance, 600,000 people died in Rwanda in 1994. There was no U.S. intervention. There was no intervention from the outside world. Was that a mistake not to intervene?

BUSH: I think the administration did the right thing in that case, I do. It was a horrible situation. No one liked to see it on our, you know, on our TV screens. But it’s a case where we need to make sure we’ve got a, you know, kind of an early warning system in place in places where there could be ethnic cleansing and genocide the way we saw it there in Rwanda.

And that’s a case where we need to, you know, use our influence to have countries in Africa come together and help deal with the situation. The administration it seems like we’re having a great love fest now but the administration made the right decision on training Nigerian troops for situations just such as this in Rwanda. And so I thought they made the right decision not to send U.S. troops into Rwanda.

That was George W. Bush and, well, we know how things turned out in his case.


FILED UNDER: Africa, Campaign 2012, Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    “another Governor of Teas about 12 years ago who said this”

    Yikes, Doug — don’t be so obvious, podnuh.

  2. While Bush certainly failed to live up to his campaign rhetoric once in office, I can at least understand what he was saying and his argument was backed up by specific examples to show how this should be applied to actual problems.

    Perry, on the other hand, just seems a dog’s breakfast of various catch phrases that don’t seem to fit together and a vague generality that leaves the listener with no clue about how his words would apply in terms of actual policy.

    Perry thus actually manages to come across as less articulate than Bush, which given Bush’s reputation for poor performances at public speaking is actually something of an accomplishment.

  3. WR says:

    So we should “build coalitions among the nations to protect the mutual interests of freedom loving people,” but we can’t “concede the moral authority of our nation to multi-lateral debating societies.” So how does he plan to build these colations without the framework of the “multi-lateral debating societies”?

    It’s all just gobbledegook, random sentences pasted together…

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    @WR: He sounds more like Sarah Palin everyday.

  5. A voice from another precinct says:

    Freely translated from Republicanese:

    “I don’t think that Democrats should commit our troops to military conflicts–such committment represents military adventurism of the worst kind–especially when the Democrats in question have funny, foreign-sounding names.”

  6. Cynic in NY says:

    Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. This neocon SOB suggested we should invade Mexico a few months ago. What a F-ing fool like most conservatives