Republican Sen. Tom Cotton foreign policy book points to 2024 presidential plans

Washington Examiner

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is publishing a book about foreign policy one week after the midterm elections, with the subject matter and release date fresh signals of his interest in a 2024 presidential bid.

Only the Strong: Reversing the Left’s Plot to Sabotage American Power is due to be released on Nov. 15, one week after the Nov. 8 elections, as attention turns to the next presidential contest. The book is billed as an indictment of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy that will reveal “the untold inside story of how progressive ideologues and Democratic politicians abandoned the American tradition of strength, pride, and honor.”

Cotton, 45, has spent the past six years laying the foundation for a White House bid, originally eyeing 2020 but shifting his gaze to 2024 after Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency in 2016. The timing of his latest book, mid-November, would seem to confirm the Arkansas Republican’s 2024 intentions. The period immediately following a midterm election is traditionally the unofficial kickoff of the presidential cycle.

Foreign policy has long been a focus for Cotton, a military combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a press release from his publisher, Twelve Books, a Hachette Book Group imprint, the senator draws a straight line from President Woodrow Wilson to President Bill Clinton to President Barack Obama and finally to Biden to offer a broad critique of Democratic foreign policy he claims is not “just incompetence or bad luck — it’s decline by design.”

“Sen. Cotton conceived the book in the days after the Kabul disaster,” a source close to the Republican said, referring to Biden’s mismanaged withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan.

“He gets asked a lot about the dangers we face and why Obama and Biden are so weak,” the source added. “As a senator, combat veteran, and student of history, he’s uniquely positioned to explain that the Democrats don’t just make mistakes or have bad luck — they oppose American power and have wanted to constrain America from the beginning.”

However, elements of Cotton’s argument in Only the Strong might also function as a slap at the populist Right, a faction of the GOP coalition suspicious of projecting American power overseas.

Cotton, a conservative populist on some key domestic issues, is a traditional Republican hawk who believes in exercising American power abroad. This book could launch Cotton’s 2024 effort to differentiate himself from other Republican contenders and make his case to become the next commander in chief.

Perhaps with that in mind, Cotton’s book will not only criticize the Democrats, the source close to the senator emphasized, but it also will offer his vision for a course correction that improves U.S. national security and reestablishes American global supremacy.

“Sen. Cotton not only tells the story of how the Democrats got us here but also how we can restore our strength before it’s too late,“ the source said.

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