Under President Barack Obama, the United States has been fundamentally transformed. From the land of the free and the home of the brave, seven years into the Obama presidency, America acts like the land of the overregulated and the home of the risk averse.

In the Middle East, the new America is treacherous, and pathetic. It is despised by its allies and scorned by its enemies.

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Consider the state of America’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

Following US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Vienna last week, where together with his European sidekicks he met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif and announced the end of the international sanctions against Iran, the top US diplomat traveled to Saudi Arabia.

The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate America’s continued commitment to its chief ally in the Persian Gulf.

It was a bluff and no one fell for it.

The deal Obama and Kerry concluded with Iran sells Saudi Arabia and the rest of the US’s allies in the Middle East down the river. Quite simply, you cannot be pro-Iranian and pro-Israel or pro-Arab Gulf states at the same time.

The Saudis know it. They have given up on America.

Kerry’s only major media appearance in the kingdom was at the US embassy. Speaking before an audience of people whose paychecks he signs, Kerry insisted emptily, “We have as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance and as strong a friendship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we have ever had, and nothing has changed because we worked to eliminate a nuclear weapon with a country in the region.”

It is a sign of America’s reduced status that no one bothered to question Kerry’s ridiculous pronouncement. Seven years into Obama’s fundamental transformation of America, no one cares what the Americans say.

America’s spurned allies are making their peace with its global self-destruction. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t praying that America will come to its senses. Unfortunately, history cannot wait forever. Time is running out.

Incremental change simply will not do. The world is changing too quickly and dangerously for a hesitant successor or one that fails to recognize that the entirety of Obama’s foreign policy must be rejected from the outset.

And no, although it is impossible to know what tomorrow will bring, the safe bet is that the US can’t afford to elect the wrong leader in November. 2020 will in all likelihood be too late.

And so, a week before the first votes are cast in the 2016 presidential election, who among the candidates has the courage and the competence to enact a counterrevolution in American foreign policy?

Who has the courage and the competence to restore America’s greatness at home and abroad, restoring its stature not only as the land of the free and the home of the brave, but as the most trustworthy ally and feared enemy throughout the world?

Seeing as both former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Vermont’s socialist senator Bernie Sanders have endorsed Obama’s foreign policy, the Democrats are not the answer.

This leaves us with the Republicans. According to Real Clear Politics, 64 percent of Americans believe that their country is going in the wrong direction. An angry electorate historically goes with the party that has been out of power. So the Republicans have every reason to believe that they can win in November.

But which candidate is up to the task? Although the field of candidates remains large, the polls indicate that the race today has become a contest between businessman Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Florida Senator Marco Rubio remains the choice of the Republican elite, despite his low polling, and so must also be considered.

On the face of it, both Trump and Cruz answer the yearning of voters for an American restoration. Both channel the anger Republican primary voters feel toward their congressional leadership and party elite which voters believe refuses to fight for them. Both highlight their outsider status.

Trump’s anti-establishment bonafides are based on the fact that he has never held elected office. True, Trump admits that as a businessman he played politicians and politics to maximize his profits, and so benefited from the worst aspects of the American political system.

But, Trump insists, with some credibility, since he is self-funding his campaign, as president he will be able to act against the wishes of the donor class to whom presidential candidates are generally beholden, due to their dependence on political contributions.

Cruz is a much different person. Cruz is, to borrow Margaret Thatcher’s term, a conviction politician. He isn’t in politics to make a deal. He is in politics to make a difference.

By all accounts, Cruz is one of the most gifted living litigators. If Cruz had wanted a successful career outside of politics, he would have had his pick of top firms and corporations beating a path to his door.

In other words, if he had wanted to make billions and be a deal maker like Trump, the road was open before him.

Cruz opted out of a lucrative career in the private sector because he believed that it was more important for him to serve his country. Over his four years in the Senate, Cruz has worked tirelessly to block Obama’s domestic and foreign policy agenda. He has been Israel’s most outspoken ally. He has been the most outspoken critic of Obama’s nuclear and financial capitulation to Iran and his betrayal of America’s Sunni allies.

Cruz has used all the power of his office as senator to fight the Obama administration’s radical policies. But that is not all he has done. Cruz has worked with grassroots organizations in Texas and throughout the country to empower the public to stand up for its rights.

One of the strangest lines of attack against Cruz has been the claim that he is an opportunist. Cruz, it is argued, doesn’t actually believe in the causes he fights for. He’s just doing it to get donations, or media exposure, or votes.

But this is preposterous. Most of the things that Cruz has done for Israel for instance, have brought him no advantage. Cruz did more than any other Republican to force the administration to end its ban on US flights to Israel during Operation Protective Edge. The same is true of his leading role in galvanizing opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

No large Jewish donors have rallied to Cruz’s side as a result of his tireless efforts to defend Israel and the US alliance with the Jewish state. Conservative Jewish commentators have lined up behind Senator Marco Rubio, who has taken the lead far less often than Cruz in defending Israel.

Even worse, unlike Cruz, Rubio has supported some of Obama’s worst policies in the Middle East. These include Obama’s decision to support the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and instigate the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. These policies, which Rubio and his conservative Jewish supporters backed, rival Obama’s nuclear pact with Iran in terms of their disastrous impact on pro-American governments, including Israel, on global security and on US national security.

In perhaps one of the strangest developments of the Republican race, not only have conservative Jewish commentators lined up behind Rubio, they have directed inordinate ferocity and hatred toward Cruz, whom they oppose more than they oppose Trump.

Trump, for his part, has advocated Middle East policies that are barely comprehensible and wracked with inconsistency and surprising hostility toward Israel.

On the one hand, Trump continuously insists that as president he will be the greatest thing that ever happened to Israel.

But on the second hand, a month ago, he told Jewish Republicans that he won’t recognize that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and blamed Israel for the absence of peace with the Palestinians.

But on the third hand, a week ago, he told an evangelical Christian reporter that he backs moving the US embassy to Jerusalem “one hundred percent.”

Got that?

And that brings us back to the key question of whether America wants to be great again, trusted by its allies, feared by its enemies, and safe at home. Because if so, voters need to ask not who channels their rage the best, but who has the courage and the competence to roll back Obama’s policies. How can Rubio, who supported some of Obama’s most devastating policies, or Trump who has no coherent policies, be expected to do what needs to be done?

Through Ted Cruz’s willingness to match his words with his deeds, and do what he believes even when doing so bring him no benefit, and through his clear recognition that American foreign policy must rest on the simple rule of being good to your allies and bad to your enemies, Ted Cruz has proven that he alone has the courage and the competence to lead an American restoration.

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