DALLAS — Former Virginia Sen. James Webb addressed the World Affairs Council about U.S. foreign policy and American politics in general on Thursday in Dallas.
Webb is a recent Democratic presidential candidate who dropped from the race back in October. He has since been considering an independent run for the White House.
Webb said at the hosted luncheon that his bid for the presidency as a third party candidate is not going to happen this year.
“It seems the funding to make a serious attempt is just not there right now. I have reluctantly concluded this is not the time for my campaign,” Webb said.
Webb’s remarks touched on how he sees his party as a real letdown in recent times.
“I ran for the Senate in 2007 as a Democrat to bring it back to the principles of Jackson, Roosevelt and Truman to the party,” said Webb. “It has lost its way, and I have tried to express that repeatedly.”
Webb formerly served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan and earned a law degree from Georgetown University. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and has authored several popular books including “Rules of Engagement,” which was made into a movie. Prior to those achievements, Webb became a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism, the second-highest decoration for the Navy and Marine Corps, as well as a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
Webb shared his insights and opinions about the remaining candidates and about the issues he feels are most important for the country to focus on. He said the No. 1 day-to-day threat to national security is cyberwarfare. Further, he said America’s most long-term strategic challenge is a healthy relationship with China and that policy in the Middle East region is most concerning for now.
“No candidate on ether side has offered any clear articulation about foreign policy objectives, long or short-term,” said Webb. “Hillary has been wrong on every key issue in the Middle East since 9/11, and Rubio has no depth.”
Webb said the invasion of Iraq, the “Arab Spring” and intervention in Libya have caused serious instability in the Middle Eastern region.
“The major goal over there is to maintain stability, protect Israel, keep Iran in check. With regard to the so-called Iran deal, it seems to be a very bad time to be removing economic sanctions from them.”
When asked about ISIS and the situation in Syria, Webb said establishing a “no fly zone” sounded good, but he cautioned against doing so without clear objectives.
“We especially should not want to be involved on the ground. We can find ways to protect national security without boots on the ground in this case,” Webb said.
President of the World Affairs Council of Dallas and Fort Worth, James Falk, led the discussion with Webb. Falk said many would be let down by Webb’s decision to not seek the presidency. When Falk asked if he thought this nation is ready to elect a third party nominee, Webb said, “People are sick of Republicans and Democrats. We see that anti-establishment people like Sanders and Trump are really tapping into this frustration. If the parties don’t regenerate and change, something really big is going to happen.”