By Tom Troy
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich advocated Tuesday for an aggressive foreign policy that would reassert "Judeo-Christian" values against extremist values and aggressive enemies.
Speaking at the National Press Club for about an hour, including taking questions, Mr. Kasich showed off his knowledge of geography and military issues at a time when the campaign is dominated by last week's terrorist attack on Paris by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
After his speech, Mr. Kasich said he wasn't trying to parade his experience and said he had omitted reference to his 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee in Congress for just that reason.
Mr. Kasich's campaign called Tuesday's appearance a major national security speech. He said he would create an agency to promote Western values.
"U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering opponents' propaganda and disinformation. I will consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share," Mr. Kasich said.
He said those values are human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association.
"In this vacuum of values, is it any wonder that we see bright, educated young people abandoning the West for the meaning they think they see in the extremists' cause?" he said.
Mr. Kasich's national security agenda touched also on cyber-security, Chinese claims on international waters in the South China Sea, Russian belligerence in Ukraine, and his opinions about how to economically grow the military.
Mr. Kasich has called on President Obama to stop resettling Syrian refugees in the United States until the vetting process is improved and said he was challenged on that by one of his twin daughters.
"One of my daughters last night said, 'Why are you not going to let these people come in? What's that about, Daddy?' " Mr. Kasich said.
He said he told her, " 'Reesey, we understand these people are in trouble, but think about, Reesey, us putting somebody on our street, in our town, or in our country, who mean us harm. We can't do that, can we Reese?' 'I understand now, Daddy, why you said what you said.' "
Mr. Kasich said he has a "big heart," but also "a pretty good brain." Reese Kasich is 15.
The Ohio House Tuesday rushed a resolution to a vote to urge President Obama to halt immigration of Syrian refugees into the state.
The measure passed 63-24 over objections from Democrats that Republicans were pushing it for political purposes. It now goes to the Senate.
"The question is whether or not we're going to allow an obvious Trojan horse to come into our midst," said Rep. Terry Johnson (R., McDermott). "In that group of people coming from Syria are wonderful people needing refuge. And in that group of people coming from Syria, there are also people who are embedded, who are specifically tasked with causing mayhem throughout the world."
But Rep. David Leland (D., Columbus) said passage plays into the hands of the terrorists.
"They're not going to invade the United States of America," he said. "That's not how they defeat us. How they defeat us, the whole purpose of terrorism, is to institute fear. ... When people are afraid, then all of a sudden the things that they always stood for as a group, as a community, as a nation, sometimes take a back seat."
The Q-and-A period afterward was dominated by critical questions about his position on Syrian refugees, including one arguing that there was no evidence that the existing vetting process isn't good enough, until Mr. Kasich said he'd talked enough about the refugees.
"Until we get a handle on where we are, we need to stop. Once we have a rational program and can determine who it is that's coming, then it's another story," Mr. Kasich said.
Mr. Kasich has touted his national security credentials since the start of his campaign, but said during the Q-and-A that he didn't want to use the international crisis for political advantage. He said he deleted reference to his experience in Congress for that reason.
"We have to be careful that we don't use this as an opportunity by anybody -- and I'm not saying they are -- to advance their candidacy," he said.
Told that his campaign had just released an ad boasting of his Armed Services Committee experience, Mr. Kasich said he did not know about it.
Staff writer Jim Provance contributed to this report.
(c)2015 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)