Last week, former Utah governor and current Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman found an audience for his foreign-policy views, engaging a packed auditorium at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He opened his talk by answering a question that all contenders for the Oval Office have asked themselves: Why would anyone be crazy enough to run for president? His answer: We haven’t gotten the hope we were promised. “I can’t stand the thought that we are about to hand down the greatest country there ever was to your generation less competitive, saddled with debt, and less hopeful than the country I got,” he said.
In his wide-ranging speech, Huntsman outlined a vision for America’s engagement with the world that would mark a major shift from what we’ve seen over the past decade. He would reorder our priorities away from the War on Terror and toward international trade and economic policy. “One of the great voids in our foreign policy today is that we aren’t doing free-trade agreements,” he told me in an interview. “We are known for our commitment to liberty, democracy, and free trade. Open markets. That light isn’t shining right now.” More to the point: “The future of the United States is not going to be determined by firefights on the Hindu Kush,” Huntsman said.
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