Declaring that the world is more dangerous than at any point in the past quarter-century, Rick Perry plans to say Monday that if elected president, he would immediately invalidate President Obama's agreement with Iran because he believes the eventual deal would make the world even less safe.
In a foreign policy address Monday to cadets and officials at the Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., the likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate will accuse Obama and his administration of sparking "chaos" around the world and overseeing the weakening of the U.S. armed forces.
"Should I run for president, and be so fortunate to be elected, one of my first actions in office would be to invalidate the president's Iran agreement, which jeopardizes the safety and security of the free world," Perry will say, according to his prepared remarks. "He says it prevents a nuclear Iran. Just the opposite, this agreement enables it. And no agreement is better than a bad agreement."
Perry elaborated on his plans for Iran in a conference call with reporters Monday morning. He posited that from the moment he is elected in November of 2016, Obama's Iran agreement would be "a worthless piece of paper." The Obama administration, Perry argued, has "missed opportunity after opportunity" with sanctions on Iran.
“We need to look at every option and we don’t need to be hesitant to support opposition to ayatollahs and that regime," Perry told reporters. "Their historic record is one of you can't trust them, and I think this administration is making a huge error in thinking you can trust them at all."
In his speech, Perry also will call for rebuilding the military, arguing that years of spending cuts have led to a deterioration of the armed forces that inhibits the United States from effectively waging war on multiple fronts.
Perry holds up President Ronald Reagan's investment in military growth through the 1980s as a model: "The best policy to preempt war is to establish the capacity and display the resolve to wage it with overwhelming, decisive and crushing force."
Perry also will highlight his own experience as an Air Force captain — he is the only major 2016 presidential contender who served in the military — as well as speak to the toll 14 years of war in the Middle East has taken on America's military families.
In his prepared remarks, Perry does not mention Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's first-term secretary of state and likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. But when asked on the call with reporters to assess her foreign policy record, Perry said it was one of failure, and that the criticisms he levies against Obama apply to Clinton as well.
"She’s either going to have to stand up and say, 'I was a complete and utter failure as secretary of state,' or she’s going to have to take ownership of these issues," Perry told reporters. He said he admired Clinton for her decades of public service, but that "she’s going to have to explain a lot to the American people."