Cruz compared Obama unfavorably to former President Jimmy Carter. "I think his foreign policy is every bit as feckless as Carter's was, but I think the consequences may prove more dangerous," he told Mike Allen during a Politico Playbook breakfast at the Newseum. "United States leadership has receded in the world and that has made the world a much, much more dangerous place. We've seen Russia's sphere expanding, we've seen Iran's sphere expanding, we've seen China's sphere expanding, and I think — you know, I certainly pray that the consequences is not massive loss of life, but I am not confident that that will prove to be the case."
The greatest danger lies in Obama's attempt to negotiate with the Iranians over their nuclear weapons program, Cruz said.
"We are repeating the mistakes that the Clinton administration made with North Korea," he said. "With North Korea, we relaxed sanctions, we let billions of dollars go into North Korea in exchange for vague and amorphous promises -- they took the billions of dollars and developed nuclear weapons. I think we are repeating that mistake with Iran, but I think the consequences are much greater."
North Korean leadership is susceptible to "rational deterrence," but Cruz suggested that a nuclear-armed Iran would not be due to their belief in "religious extremism and jihad."
"If they acquired nuclear weapons," he said, "the risk is unacceptably high that they would be detonated in Tel Aviv or New York or Los Angeles."
When asked later in the interview about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cruz described her as "misguided" before blaming her for Obama's foreign policy.
"I think she has been consistently wrong on domestic policy and foreign policy," he said. "I think if you look at the foreign policy disaster under President Obama, a great deal of that lands on her doorstep and she was directly responsible for it."