Fresh off a stint as United States Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman has a strong case to make that he is uniquely versed in American’s interests overseas among his fellow contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and he spent the past several days making that case to Granite State voters in his first visit to the state as a potential candidate.
At an event on Friday at a Concord VFW post, the conversation primarily revolved around foreign policy and veterans’ issues, ranging from Afghanistan to Libya to the economic implications of current policy.
Huntsman demonstrated his strong grasp of history during a discussion about his opposition to American involvement in the conflict in Libya, and those unfolding in other Middle Eastern nations. Likening the current sea change taking place in the Arab world to similar events that occurred following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Huntsman opined, “I think we’re also seeing the end of another period, maybe the period of the most recent generation of leaders who have been there for a very long time, who have not been responsive to their constituencies…So should you allow that to play out organically and naturally, because it’s a trend that’s inevitable, or do we consider that to be a core interest over with we deploy troops?”
He advocated for the United States to take a closer look at its capabilities and economic interests when making foreign policy decisions, stating, “Increasingly, the whole affordability piece – what this nation can afford to get involved in – needs to be a relevant point of discussion.”
Huntsman shared some of his experiences working with soldiers and veterans during his tenure as Utah’s governor, in particular one instance where a Utah soldier was killed in action during one of Huntsman’s visits to Afghanistan”
Continuing his foreign policy theme, Huntsman implored graduating seniors at Southern New Hampshire University to set aside bickering in favor of patriotism and to stand strong against ceding American influence to an increasingly powerful China.
This marked the returning Ambassador’s first campaign trip to the Granite State as he weighs a bid for the White House. He had his wife and two daughters in tow, Huntsman’s two sons are serving in the military.