Graham: Supports a strong foreign policy. Called for early U.S. intervention in a Libyan uprising that led to Muammar Gaddafi’s removal, limited military strikes in Syria and training some Syrian rebel groups. Says a weak U.S. response to aggression abroad, including the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, has emboldened enemies, leading Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.
Bowers: The U.S. should enter military conflicts only with overwhelming support of Americans and if missions are clear and exit strategies defined. U.S. allies in the Middle East can handle that region’s conflicts. Unfamiliar with Graham’s stance on Syria. Does not support U.S. intervention in Ukraine, which needs internal reconciliation, not “outside interference.”
Bright: Critical of an aggressive U.S. foreign policy he says is more about nation building abroad than protecting U.S. interests. U.S. should not be “the great mitigator and mediator of the world.” U.S. needs to focus on domestic issues. Intervention in conflicts abroad could be avoided by more self-sufficient U.S. energy policy, including drilling for natural gas off the S.C. coast.
Cash: Graham is “too interventionist” and “too eager” to enter conflicts unrelated to U.S. interests. U.S. should defend itself, not try to “right all the wrongs of the world.” Military strikes or the deployment of troops should require a congressional declaration of war. The attacks in Benghazi started with U.S. backing of Libyan regime change that had been cast as a humanitarian mission. Does not support intervention in Ukraine.
Connor: U.S. foreign policy should protect U.S. interests only. Opposes “nation building.” U.S. owes Ukraine support after asking the country to give up its nuclear weapons two decades ago. Criticized Graham’s negotiations for the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Graham’s proposal that the U.S. intervene in Syria, saying it would have led to troops on the ground.
Dunn: Congress must craft long-term foreign policy objectives. Supports early diplomatic interventions in conflicts abroad, providing aid and other efforts before military action. Criticized Graham’s push for airstrikes in Syria, saying it would have led to U.S. troops on the ground. Values the perception of U.S. military strength as much as the country’s ability to use that strength abroad.
Mace: Criticized President Barack Obama for being weak militarily on the world stage. But opposed U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Graham’s call for supporting Syrian rebels. Concerning Ukraine, says U.S. should use economic sanctions against Russia, forcing it out of the G-8. But Ukraine “should be able to take care of its own security and sovereignty as a nation. We're not the world's police.”