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Latin America prominent in Republican presidential debate on foreign policy

But, says guest blogger James Bosworth, the Republican presidential candidates are all too busy being afraid of Hezbollah and Hugo Chávez, and trying to apply old doctrines to the modern era.

By James BosworthGuest blogger / November 23, 2011



There were a lot of mentions of Latin America, or at least Mexico, in last night's GOP debate. Enough mentions that I saw several Asia experts complaining that the debate spent too much time on Mexico and immigration and not enough on China and India.

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Here are the comments related Latin America policy other than immigration.

Asked a question about US-Mexico border security, here was Texas Gov. Rick Perry's full rambling answer:

Well, let me kind of broaden it out. I think it's time for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine. When you think about what we put in place in the – in the 1820s, and then we used it again in the 1960s with the Soviet Union. We're seeing countries start to come in and infiltrate. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico, as well as Iran, with their ploy to come into the United States.

We know that Hugo Chávez and the Iranian government has one of the largest -- I think their largest embassy in the world is in Venezuela. So the idea that we need to have border security with the United States and Mexico is paramount to the entire western hemisphere.

So putting that secure border in place with strategic fencing, with the boots on the ground, with the aviation assets, and then working with Mexico in particular, whether it's putting sanctions against the banks, whether it's working with them on security with Mexico, all of those together can make that country substantially more secure and our borders secure.

As the President of the United States, I will promise you one thing, that within 12 months of the inaugural, that border will be shut down, and it will be secure.

Herman Cain's follow on comments:

Number one, we know that terrorists have come into this country by way of Mexico. Secondly, 40 percent of the people in Mexico, according to a survey, already believe that their country is a failed state. Thirdly, the number of people killed in Mexico last year equals the number of people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Rep. Ron Paul called for an end to the "war on drugs" and received applause from the conservative think tank audience.

Here was former Sen. Rick Santorum's answer on what issue isn't getting enough attention:

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