A common question about Governor Rick Perry of Texas is whether or not he is a traditional three-pronged conservative - social, fiscal, and strong on defense. While much has been said about his social and fiscal credentials, little has been written about his potential foreign policy. Two recent events give us some insight into what that policy might look like.
First, on June 28, 20011, Perry sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder encouraging him to prosecute Americans who broke U.S. laws to participate in the then pending Gaza Flotilla against Israel.
"The acts of funding, supporting, organizing and engaging in these efforts appears to constitute participation in a naval expedition against a people with whom the United States is at peace, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 960; the furnishing of a vessel with the intent that it be employed to commit hostilities against a people with whom the United STates is at peace, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 962; and the provision of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339. See, e.g., Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 130 S. Ct. 2705 (2010)."
"I respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice take immediate steps to investigate, enjoin and bring to justice all parties found to be in violation of U.S. law by their participation in these efforts."
It appears that if Perry is elected President, the American left will no longer be allowed to spread their leftist agenda abroad in violation of U.S. law and in support of terrorist organizations. It also appears that Perry will be a friend to Israel in more than just words.
The second event occurred on July 7, 2011, when Texas executed Humberto Leal. Leal was convicted of the 1994 rape and vicious murder - bludgeoned to death with a chunk of asphalt - of a teenage girl from San Antonio. Leal, now 38 years old, had lived in the United States as an illegal alien since the age of 2. The government of Mexico and President Obama appealed to Perry to stay the execution because Leal, as a Mexican citizen, should have been informed at the time of his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, denied the White House backed request to block the execution.
No one argued that Leal was innocent. In fact, he accepted responsibility and apologized for the crime. The attempt to stay the execution was a clear attempt by the Obama administration to subordinate American laws and the legal system to international opinion and the scrutiny of foreign governments. Perry remained firm in his resolve and let the legal system of Texas function without outside interference. Granted, the governor of Texas is limited in what he can do in the matter, but Perry did refuse to bow to pressure from the administration and the Mexican government.
Taken together, Perry's response to the Gaza Flotilla and the execution of Humberto Leal demonstrates a solid commitment to the rule of law and the sovereignty of the American system of governance. I expect that under a Perry administration, the U.S. would once again stand with Israel against terrorist organizations in the Middle East and that our national sovereignty would outweigh international interests.