As has happened many times before, real world events change carefully planned schedules. The recent bombing of the Russian airliner in Egypt, with the loss of 224 lives, and the massacre of at least 127 people in Paris, with Isis believed to be behind both attacks, is expected to give renewed importance to foreign affairs in the next Republican and Democratic presidential debates. Presidential candidates, of both parties, issued statements during the days following the Parisian attacks.

The Foreign Policy Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

For many years, there have been distinct differences between the Republican and Democratic approaches to foreign policy. Perhaps the clearest example of this was in 1981, when the 52 American hostages held by Iran during Democrat Jimmy Carter’s presidency were released while Republican Ronald Reagan took office as the next president.

Republicans favor a strong military effort when it is believed necessary to remove totalitarian regimes that threaten others.

Democrats favor limited military strikes and manpower, with an increased focus on a diplomatic solution.

Republican Statements on Isis

Republicans favor a strong military response, with the goal being the destruction of ISIS.

Donald Trump would make a concentrated effort to attack Isis’s sources of funding at the oil fields and banks, in addition to other military actions.

Marco Rubio called the attacks a wake-up call and that radical Islam was engaging in a “civilizational war.”

Jeb Bush emphasized that the conflict with ISIS is military in nature and not a law-enforcement operation. He further said America must lead in order to defeat this organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.

Democratic Statements on Isis

The democratic nominations focus was on increased solidarity with France, but did not address foreign policy issues or what military strategy should be pursued against ISIS.

Hillary Clinton commented that the French people will remain strong and committed to the shared democratic values of France and the U.S.

The Republican Position on Bringing Syrian Refugees into the U.S.

All Republican candidates are opposed to bringing Syrian refugees into the U.S., since they believe that the refugees cannot be thoroughly vetted and that Islamic radicals will enter the U.S. with the refugees.

Ted Cruz stated that any plans to bring in these refugees must come to an immediate halt.

The Democratic Position on Bringing Syrian Refugees into the U.S.

The Obama administration plans on bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. during the coming year.

Upcoming Presidential Primary Debates


The current republican primary debate schedule lists seven debates:

12/15/15, CNN, 9 pm ET

1/28/16, Fox News Channel


2/6/16, ABC

2/13/16, CBS

2/26/16, TBD

March 2016, Fox News Channel, date TBD

3/10/16, CNN

The current democratic primary debate schedule lists four debates:

12/19/15, ABC News, WMUR

1/17/16, NBC

2/11/16, PBS

3/9/16, Univision

Strong contrasts exist between Republicans and Democrats: Debates, Differences and Policies. Many thoughtful people of both parties believe that the 2016 elections are critically important to the role of the U.S. in the world and the future of the nation.