Sen. Ted Cruz discusses American involvement in Middle East, immigration at Tribune Fest

Jackie Wang

In discussing foreign policy at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz clarified his statement from August about bombing the Islamic State group back to the Stone Age.

“The president’s approach is fundamentally unserious,” Cruz said. “Throughout the course of discussion I have endeavored to ask, ‘How do you distinguish the good buys from the bad guys?’ Consistently the admin has not been able to give a satisfactory answer.”

President Barack Obama signed the measure to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State group on Friday. At the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on Saturday, Cruz said resolving the Syrian civil war should not be the objective of the United States.

“It is not our job to turn foreign nations," Cruz said. "If there are people who pose a clear and present danger to our national security, the objective should be to take out that threat. The consistent failure of Obama-Clinton foreign policy is the failure of focusing on U.S. national security.”

According to Cruz, of the two options that are available  topple the regime or manage it  neither are good.

“On one point, we had John Kerry saying we needed to launch a small attack,” Cruz said. “On the flip side, if we engage in a serious attack and the attack succeeds in toppling Bashar Al-assad and he’s a monster, he’s murdered women and children but if he were toppled, and the weapons fell into the hands of ISIS, that would be terrible for national security.”

Cruz also criticized Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants after the November election.

“Announcing he is going to illegally grant amnesty, but then saying he will delay it until after the election is one of the most cynical acts I have ever seen,” Cruz said. “There is a reason why Democrat senators begged him, ‘Please don’t do this before the election.’ It’s not just a volatile issue; the numbers are 70 to 30 or higher against granting amnesty through executive order.”

Cruz addressed the topic of gridlock in Congress and said he was disappointed by the lack of action.

“Folks love to characterize gridlock in Washington,” Cruz said. “The House of Representatives has passed over 350 pieces of legislation. Most of those have bipartisan support. There are over 350 pieces of legislation on Harry Reid’s desk. He will not allow us to vote in anything. We have gridlock, but it is because Harry Reid and the Democrats do nothing.”

Maliha Mazhar, an international business and government junior, said she was interested in hearing what Cruz had to say on current issues.

“He’s one of our senators, and it’s important to be clued on what he thinks about the things going on in our country,” Mazhar said. “And he’s a potential candidate in 2016. It’s always good to meet someone who is potentially running for president. I like to be an informed voter.”

Haig Kupelian, a political science and philosophy freshman, said he appreciated Cruz’s answers, but that there were some things he could have expanded on.

“I wish he would have talked about if he was willing to declare war on ISIS or if he wanted another invasion like the one in Iraq,” Kupelian said.

A widely-rumored 2016 presidential candidate, Cruz said he thinks the Republican presidential nominee for 2016 should be whoever is “standing up in the room.”

“I think Republicans in 2016 should nominate whoever is leading the case that the economic policies we are seeing are not acceptable; that the retreat of American leaders in the world is making the world more dangerous,” Cruz said. “I would encourage everyone thinking about it to stand up and lead.”