By Justin Sink
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) plans to call for the modernization of the U.S. military and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan within a year, according to excerpts of his planned foreign-policy address distributed by his campaign Monday.
"We still have remnants of a top-heavy, post-Cold War infrastructure," Huntsman plans to say. "It needs to be transformed to reflect the 21st Century world, and the growing asymmetric threats we face."
The speech Monday morning in New Hampshire is also expected to address tax and regulatory proposals, trade expansion and "a more judicious approach" toward international conflict, avoiding costly "nation-building" efforts.
"We will establish a foreign policy doctrine that reflects our modern world,” Huntsman is expected to say. “Simply advocating more ships, more troops, and more weapons is not a viable path forward. We need more agility, more intelligence, and more economic engagement with the world.”
The comment is a swipe at competitor Mitt Romney, who last week advocated expanding the military's budget through an expansion of troop levels and the purchase of new warships and weapons. Huntsman says he prefers a more nimble approach that he believes is better tailored to fighting terrorism.
“We must be prepared to respond to threats — from al Qaeda and other terrorist cells — that emanate from a much more diverse geography, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific,” he will say.
Part of that strategy involves drawing down troops from Afghanistan, which Huntsman views as too costly.
“Simply put, we are risking American blood and treasure in parts of the world where our strategy needs to be rethought,” Huntsman will say. “Afghanistan was once the center of the terrorist threat to America. That is no longer the case. After 6,000 lives lost and more than $1 trillion spent, it is time to bring our brave troops home.”
Huntsman also is expected to play up support for Israel, arguing that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons as "an example of when I would use American force." The former governor said that the U.S. will stand “shoulder to shoulder with Israel as they manage a host of new challenges brought on by the Arab Spring.”