2012 Presidential Candidates Views on the Middle East

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

On Connection to Israel | U.S.-Israel Relationship | On Iranian Threat

2012 Candidates Table of Contents

Connection to Israel top

Speaking in Israel in 2009, Huntsman expressed the importance of travel: “seeing is believing, and you can only read so much in the United States about the dynamism of Israel and the way in which the economy has succeeded in recent years and how it’s poised for very positive growth in the years ahead, in biosciences, in energy, in healthcare, in water technologies. There’s so many things that we in the United States can learn from and benefit from. I’m leaving my stay here very enlightened and with a desire to want to follow up on the good work that is being done here in Israel. I found it [Israel] to be even better than I expected. Its people, leadership, history, cultural sites, everything was beyond my expectation.

"I was most touched by the people in Israel. They are hardworking; they feel a certain kinship with the United States. Many of our citizens have gone back and forth over the years. There’s a great sense of friendship and a great sense of partnership, and that’s a great part of the relationship."
Israel Video Network, June 21, 2011.


U.S.-Israel Relationship top

"[We need to be reminded of] where we do have American interests. It's called Israel. We're a friend and ally. They're a friend and ally. And we need to remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally of the United States."
- Republican Presidential Debate in Washington, D.C., November 22, 2011


Iranian Threat top

"Sanctions aren't going to work, I hate to break it to you. They're not going to work because the Chinese aren't going to play ball and the Russians aren't going to play ball.

And I believe Iran has already -- the mullahs have already decided they want to go nuclear. Why? They have looked at North Korea. They've got a weapon. Nobody touches them. They like at Libya. Libya gave up their weapon in exchange for friendship with the world. Look where they are.

So I say let's let history be our guide. We saw the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. We saw the region transform and make itself into something different. We saw changes in 1947.

I think we do our national interests a disservice by jumping in too soon and taking up sides with people we don't fully understand, Islamist groups, pan-Arab groups.

Our interest in the Middle East is Israel. And our interest is to ensure that Israel -- that Iran does not go nuclear."
- Republican Presidential Debate in Washington, D.C., November 22, 2011

“We need to look at the really transcendent foreign policy issues on the horizon that may take our involvement, like weaponization in Iran. What do you do when Iran all of the sudden develops a weapon of mass destruction over the next year to year and a half.” When asked, “What do you do?” Huntsman replied, “Well, you’d better believe that Israel is going to approach probably desiring a preemptive strike because if nothing is done, Saudi Arabia is going to respond, Turkey will respond, Egypt even under new management is likely going to respond. And that means that you have proliferation concerns throughout the region resulting in tremendous instability. Now if ever there was a reason to consider using U.S. force, it would be in situations like that.”
- Close Up, May 23, 2011.