HOOKSETT, N.H., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman told a New Hampshire crowd Monday he would use military force to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
"I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran. If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that," Huntsman said to a crowd of about 150 people at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett.
The former Utah governor, U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush, and ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, said his foreign policy stance required fixing the economy at home, streamlining the military and standing tough against Iran and Pakistan, Politico.com reported.
Huntsman said America must plan for strength in an "Asia-Pacific century."
"Our interests are best served when America leads. But to lead abroad, we must regain strength at home," Huntsman said.
Regarding the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, Huntsman said "certain realities" needed to be acknowledged.
"This is not a relationship based on shared values," Huntsman said. "It is transactional at best."
Huntsman said he would like to refocus the military out of its 20th Century Cold War infrastructure, Politico.com reported.
"We still have remnants of a top-heavy, post-Cold War infrastructure. It needs to be transformed to reflect the 21st Century world, and the growing asymmetric threats we face," Huntsman said.
"For example, counter-terrorism needs to be a much larger part of our foreign policy. We must be prepared to respond to threats -- from al-Qaida and other terrorist cells -- that emanate from a much more diverse geography, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific," he said.
"This includes standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel as they manage a host of new challenges brought on by the Arab Spring, along with more familiar challenges, such as a hostile Iran, which will continue to be a transcendent challenge of the next decade," he said.
He said he would also strengthen relations with India, pursue agreements with Japan and Taiwan and wrap up the multilateral Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, which he said would open markets in Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, boosting U.S. exports. He called on Congress to pass pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama this week.
Huntsman also criticized former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, whose foreign policy, laid out Friday, called for increased military spending, including more Navy ship building so the United States could patrol the seas in world hot spots.
"Simply advocating more ships, more troops and more weapons is not a viable path forward," Huntsman said. "We need more agility, more intelligence and more economic engagement with the world."
Romney responded at a Veterans of Foreign Wars campaign stop in Milford, N.H., saying, "This is not a time for America to pull back on our commitment to a strong military."
Huntsman called for bringing back U.S. troops from Afghanistan during the next year.