The art history professor behind Cruz's foreign policy

Historians in the News
tags: foreign policy, election 2016, Ted Cruz, Victoria Coates



Only weeks away from the first caucuses of the 2016 presidential election, Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz's top foreign policy adviser wants to talk about Michelangelo and Monet.

She can also discuss the Middle East, where she has tried to walk back some of the Texas Republican's more bellicose pledges to "carpet bomb" the Islamic State and see if "sand can glow in the dark."

Victoria Coates' national security credentials don't come from years in the military or the government. Her formal background is in the history of the Italian Renaissance, the topic of her University of Pennsylvania Ph.D in art history. But given her deep influence on Cruz's foreign policy thinking, close Cruz supporters say it's no stretch to imagine her as the nation's next secretary of state or national security adviser.

This is not the art history professor's first Texas rodeo. She was the top foreign policy guru in the 2012 White House bid of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who gravitated toward the same foreign policy circles as Cruz. In an election jolted by increasing global volatility, Coates is now the central figure in a surging conservative campaign that would like to stamp itself as something akin to the terrorists' worst nightmare.

She also led the foreign policy team that choreographed Cruz's opening salvos in the Senate, including his outspoken opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. ...




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