While in Los Angeles for the Libertarian Party of California state convention Governor Gary Johnson took the time to sit down with me for an in depth interview. And it was quite the in depth interview at that. We talked for quite some time on a variety of topics and as a result the Gary Johnson interview will be split into three parts. What follows is part two.
After discussing marijuana legalization and the wedding cake issue in part one of our interview with Gary Johnson we moved on to foreign policy and fiscal issues. Gary Johnson elaborated on his solution to ISIS and the damage our foreign policy has done in the Middle East. The Governor also got into his proposal for a balanced budget with an immediate 20% cut in Federal spending.
J. Wilson: Moving on to foreign policy, which is one of the things dividing the Bernie and Hillary people, the Hillary people are saying that she has the foreign policy experience. Do you think that experience is relevant?
Gary Johnson: Well with Hillary you can count on the status quo when it comes to foreign policy. The status quo is continuing to put boots on the ground, continuing to put troops in harm’s way, continuing to drop bombs, and continuing to fly drones that are killing thousands of innocent people.
JW: So you’re saying she might have the decision making experience but she’s made all of the wrong decisions?
GJ: I couldn’t have said it better.
JW: Speaking to that, her solution to ISIS, the interventionist solution, would be to invade. What would be the non-interventionist, the libertarian, solution to ISIS?
GJ: Well let’s start with that idea military intervention. Let’s say that that’s an option. That should be instigated by Congress. That’s a mechanism that’s been lost and Congress should modernize a mechanism for actually weighing in on military interventions. That’s first and foremost. Right now, it’s something that’s become an administrative prerogative, an executive prerogative, in conjunction with the military. Well that’s not right.
GJ: The alternative is to cut funding off to ISIS to contain what’s happening over there and make sure it stays over there. Brains not bombs. Cut off their funding and involve Congress for declaring war if that’s what we’re gonna do. If we’re going to put boots on the ground that’s war.
JW: So either fully go to war with Congressional approval or don’t go at all?
GJ: Well, get Congressional approval. It would be a terrific dialogue for Congress to be having. That would also be a terrific debate that would be going on nationwide. Here are the reasons for, here are the reasons against, and see how the American public weighs in on it all. As President I still would perhaps disagree with those outcomes if we do in fact militarily intervene. But, when do we militarily intervene? When attacked. And you could argue that we have been attacked by ISIS, you could argue that.
JW: Would you consider the ISIS-inspired San Bernardino shootings an attack?
GJ: No. No, I would not.
J. Wilson: Moving on to fiscal issues, are you relieved that now you only have to make a 20% budget cut instead of the 43% budget cut you were proposing in 2012?
Gary Johnson: [Laughing] Well, first of all, a 20% reduction in Federal spending would still be unprecedented just like I pointed out in 2012 a 43% reduction would have been unprecedented. But, it’s something that we genuinely need to do. It is in conjunction with Congress, so Congress has to propose the legislation, but if I were President of the United States I would certainly be advocating for a balanced budget and I would actually submit a balanced budget. By submit I realize that’s pairing up with Congressmen and women that would actually sponsor but I understand how that process works and I’d get them signed up.
JW: And if you did get a balanced budget passed that would solve part of the problem but then how do you go about actually reducing the remaining $20 trillion in debt after that point?
GJ: I am reality driven, so to achieve a balanced budget, to actually cut government spending by 20%, which would require Congress to go along with that, would already be unprecedented. That would be the starting point. I can’t see addressing the debt until after that but I would be the first one advocating such. But, like I say, let’s start with goal number one which would be to balance the Federal budget. That alone is a steep climb.
As you can see, Gary Johnson maintains there are other options for dealing with ISIS besides the establishment neo-conservative option pushed by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He’s very much concerned at their bombing proposals will end up creating more terrorists in the long run. And on fiscal issues Johnson is just as diametrically opposed to the status quo. A 20% budget cut would be revolutionary.