After a week of calling on the White House to cancel next month’s state visit for the Chinese president, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker laid out his own foreign policy blueprint Friday at the Citadel in South Carolina, detailing a plan to take on terrorism and saying "America will not be intimidated.”
Against a backdrop of American flags and a sign declaring “America Unintimidated,” Walker continued his condemnation of what he calls the “Obama-Clinton” foreign policy, accusing it of being filled with “delusion and wishful thinking.”
Walker said as president, he would enforce a no-fly zone to support fighters in Syria opposing both ISIS and the Assad regime. He also promised to remove the “political restrictions” for the American troops already in the region, saying “all options should remain on the table."
"Far from beating ISIS, President Obama is barely disrupting it,” Walker said, saying the president is simply trying "to contain ISIS until he leaves office, all the while accommodating Iran."
As he frequently does when speaking with groups on the road, Walker pointedly used a phrase typically avoided by the Obama administration, labeling ISIS fighters "radical Islamic terrorists."
"Hearing gut-wrenching stories of Americans held hostage, tortured, raped and executed by these radicals makes my blood boil," Walker said.
He told the mostly freshman audience at the historic military institution, "By the grace of God, and by the strength of men and women like you, America can and will defeat this threat and eradicate this evil."
Walker also continued his strong opposition to the Iran deal, telling the group, "it will be remembered as one of the greatest foreign policy failures in U.S. History."
"To believe that a stable and lasting Middle East can be built by working with Iran, any more than by working with ISIS, isn’t statesmanship,” Walker said. “It’s pure fantasy.”
Walker’s speech on American foreign policy came after a two-day, seven-stop swing through western Iowa, a state where he continues to lose ground in recent polling.
For Walker, foreign policy has been an area where he has been vulnerable in the past, opening himself up to critics who question his knowledge and understanding of foreign affairs.
In February, while addressing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Walker compared his fights against unions in Wisconsin to his aptitude in leading the country in international disputes.
"If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” Walker told the crowd in February.
This week, he received mixed reaction as he strengthened his rhetoric against China, defending his call to cancel September’s state visit for Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling the visit one of America’s “highest prizes” and saying “we should be taking them to the woodshed."
“Beijing conducts massive cyberattacks against the United States – stealing classified military data, stealing the personal information of millions of Americans, and stealing billions of dollars in intellectual property," Walker said in his speech Friday.
The governor, who rarely reads from a TelePrompTer, also used the formal speech to try to flip the experience questions and argue he is most ready to lead on national security, or "safety," as he describes it when talking with voters.
"With all of the challenges we face around the globe today, now is not the time for untested leadership. I have been tested like no other candidate in this race," Walker said.
Governor Walker's last policy speech was on domestic policy, as he introduced his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. He says he will continue to detail his policy positions every few weeks.