Chris Christie: We need a "military approach" to China's advances in the South China Sea

War with China and a renewed federal war on drugs, even where states have legalized weed?

I think I’ve found my candidate.

Christie called for a “military approach” to China’s advances to “let them know there are limits to what they’re allowed to do.”

“That is an issue that we can handle militarily by going out there and making sure that we show them that we don’t respect their claims to these artificial islands in the South China Sea that they’re building that they’re saying are theirs that are hundreds and hundreds of miles from the coast of China and are clearly in international waters,” Christie said adding: “We need to send that signal to the Chinese very clearly that we do not acknowledge nor will we respect their claims to those areas.”

The U.S. military has begun actively — and more publicly — challenging China’s sovereignty claims over the half a dozen artificial islands Beijing has been rapidly constructing. The U.S. refuses to recognize China’s sovereignty over disputed islands and Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently said the U.S. would continue to enforce freedom of navigation in what it considers international waters.

We’re already taking a “military approach” to China’s man-made islands in the area, if by “military approach” you mean defiant flyovers by U.S. spy planes. I assume Christie wants more than that, though, given that the default position among GOP hawks in the primaries will be that Obama’s a wimp who isn’t doing nearly enough to protect U.S. influence in the far east. Makes me wonder if there’s a primary strategy behind his bluster or if Christie’s fallen far enough in the polls that he’s willing now to give his honest opinion on any policy issue, no matter how risky or damaging it might seem. I can see it both ways. As a strategy, maybe he’s decided that the only way to grab voters’ attention is to out-hawk everyone else, ideally ending up in a splashy fight with Rand Paul that earn lots of free ink for both of them. Or maybe there’s no strategy behind it beyond Christie’s supreme confidence in his own charisma, the idea that if he drops enough self-styled truthbombs on Republicans, no matter how unpopular his opinion might be, they’ll rally to him in admiration of the fact that he’s a straight shooter who’ll stand up to anyone — including them.

If you think that last theory is unconvincing, remember this is the same guy whose first big speech of the campaign was in support of entitlement reform, and who’s now assuring national audiences that he’ll crack down on marijuana as president even where it’s legal at the state level despite the fact that a majority of Republicans — not just national voters, but Republicans — support the feds staying out of it. Watch the second half of the clip below in which John Dickerson asks him specifically about Colorado: Isn’t that … an important swing state, where a majority of voters have already cast ballots in favor of legal weed? Yup, says Christie. And I’m coming after them. And they’ll agree with me or something. Quick, let’s nominate him.

Exit question: Is Carly Fiorina going to end up ahead of Chris Christie in New Hampshire?