According to the Washington Post, Romney’s advisors are claiming that “the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.”
Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser stated:
“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation.”
That’s true – most likely we’d be a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Romney did after all, manage to offend our allies in his first trip abroad to showcase his command of foreign affairs. The fact is, Romney’s been gaffing his way through foreign policy for several years now. In his book, No Apology, Romney wrote:
“England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.”
In 2007, he said of France:
“…I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.”
Unfortunately for Romney, this is not actually a policy in France, as Salon noted (emphasis mine):
[the] seven-year marriage contracts are a plot point in the “Memories of Earth” science fiction series by Mormon author Orson Scott Card.
Another quote in Salon’s “Mitt’s Master Gaffe List“, from 2007:
“Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase — ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.”
It turns out the phrase does not belong to a free Cuba. It means “Fatherland or death, we shall overcome,” and it was a tag line for Fidel Castro.
“…Governor Romney remains mired in a Cold War mindset.”
Vladimir Putin on the other hand, while calling Obama “an honest person who really wants to change much for the better”, has stated:
“We’ll work with whichever president is elected by the American people. But our effort will be only as efficient as our partners will want it to be.”
In that respect, a Romney White House would begin from behind, having already referred to Russia as our “greatest geopolitical foe”, prompting Putin to respond:
“I’m grateful to him for formulating his stance so clearly, because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems. The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective.”
What should be more disconcerting than Romney’s foreign policy blunders, is the number of “Cheny-ites” on his foreign policy team. According to Reuters:
A Republican source aligned with some of the party’s conservative elements said there have been “huge fights over policy” which have roiled the Romney adviser corps, resulting in full-time staffers trying to limit Romney’s public statements on foreign policy.
Unsuccessfully, evidently. Romney’s statements on Iran such as:
“…I will back up American diplomacy with a very real and very credible military option.”
are typical Romney bluster masquerading as policy; yet it’s bound to cause concern among Americans who, according to a report by the Chicago Council for Global Affairs:
“Despite labeling Iran’s nuclear program as a “critical threat” to U.S. interests… oppose a military strike against Tehran and support a policy of UN sanctions and diplomatic dialogue.”
As Haaretz reported(article fee):
- 70% of Americans oppose a strike on Iran that is not authorized by the UN Security Council
- 51% are opposed even if the UN body does sanction the attack.
- 59% of Americans are opposed to US intervention on behalf of Israel in case of Iranian retaliation for a preemptive Israeli attack.
In general, the poll shows a shift in American attitudes towards global affairs in the 11 years that have passed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While still viewing the Middle East, international terrorism and rogue nuclear powers as the greatest threats to U.S. interests around the world, Americans are less inclined than before to support military intervention in order to counter the threat.
America doesn’t relish four more years of Bush foreign policy; we have yet to extricate ourselves from the wars they left us with four years ago.
Perhaps Romney’s biggest policy blunder for a wannabe Commander In Chief though, was not acknowledging our service members in his campaign acceptance speech, and then compounding the slight with this explanation:
“When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. And I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military. I think they refer to the same thing.”
No Mitt, they don’t. As General Wesley Clark put it:
“It’s more than an omission. It reveals a severe lack of understanding about the job as President; it doesn’t reflect well on what kind of leadership he would bring in. Frankly it’s just unbecoming of someone who wants to become Commander-in- Chief because our troops, veterans and military families deserve leaders. They are not an item on a ‘laundry list’; they are a priority for the President of the United States.”