"I do think the President completely misdiagnosed the situation in foreign policy. I think he made some critical mistakes in Syria and Iraq," said Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.
Ryan is out with a new book, "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea." Many are wondering if the book may lay the foundation for a presidential campaign in 2016. While Ryan hasn't weighed in on a potential run, his comments on foreign policy show he has a clear stance on many of the issues likely to dominate the next presidential campaign.
The threat from ISIS
Just last month, President Obama referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a "JV team," a characterization Ryan critiques. Still, he acknowledges, "I am a little surprised that they were able to rise so fast."
"The intelligence community has been warning about ISIS for some time though," said Ryan. "I think the President has made some huge missteps."
Ryan on James Foley
Chief among Ryan's complaints is the lack of a clear strategy from the White House on how to tackle the terrorist group responsible for beheading American journalist James Foley earlier this month.
"I don't want to see a plan to contain or react to ISIS," he said. "I would like to see a plan from the Commander in Chief on how to defeat ISIS fully."
For Ryan, the murder of James Foley hits close to home. Foley attended Marquette University in Ryan's native Wisconsin.
But Ryan supports the U.S. government policy of not paying ransom for hostages. Earlier this week, Peter Theo Curtis was released by another Syrian terrorist group, Jabhat Al-Nusra, leading the administration to reiterate that policy. Curtis returned to the U.S. today after two years in captivity in Syria.
"We all feel the loss very accutely for James Foley in Wisconsin," Ryan said. He graduated from one of our great institutions, Marquette University, and I can't imagine the pain his family is going through. At the same time, I think it would be a mistake for the U.S. to pay ransom or to negotiate."
It is suspected that ISIS released other hostages held with Foley following ransom payments from European governments funneled through intermediaries. Most European governments officially deny that they pay ransoms, but reports from the Treasury Department say millions of dollars flow from European government to terrorist hands. It is largely thought to be the primary source of funding for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.
"We do not want to create a system which incentivises the taking of civilian Americans as hostages by terrorist groups."
Global reaction to Ferguson
Golodryga also asked Ryan about the scope of reaction to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Following the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by police, protests errupted not just in Ferguson, but as far afield as Gaza. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in.
Ryan, though, believes everyone should take a step back before commenting. "Let the investigators do their jobs," he said. "Let's not prejudge anything. Let's mourn for the Brown family, for the community and let's make sure that justice can be served so that the facts can be gathered."
And despite the global outcry about events in Ferguson, Ryan cautions about confusing domestic events with foreign policy. "I don't think it is wise to link various events around the world with each other," he said.
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