Damn if I know, but whatever it is, it’s what Mittens wants to go back to.
The Romney campaign cast Obama as an outlier president who failed to continue a bipartisan tradition of a strong military and leadership in the world. Several times on the call, his advisers described Romney as following a tradition that included Presidents Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton while President Obama’s approach, they said, was similar to Jimmy Carter’s. Romney’s approach is “a restoration of a strategy that served us well for over 70 years” and will renew a “bipartisan vision” of foreign policy, Wong said. “[Obama’s] foreign policy is marked by passivity, by delay and by indecision.”
I question whether there was any one “strategy” that “served us well for over 70 years.” You’ve got to be completely ignorant of global history to even think such a thing. And the national security challenges of today are utterly different from what they were in the post World War II era, and these new challenges demand new approaches both diplomatically and militarily. There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach to foreign policy that might have worked in 1949 or 1962 and would still work in 2012. In particular, whatever happened to “9/11 changed everything”?
Again, Romney speaks of the military as if we need to be prepared to land on Normandy beach and advance to Berlin. But that sort of declared war between nations is unlikely to ever be fought again, or at least in our lifetimes.
Conservatives of the 1950s must be rolling over in their graves over praise of Truman who, after all, “lost China” and failed to win the Korean War. And Truman was the guy who said “I like Stalin.” Truman changed his mind later, but still …
Kennedy, Bay of Pigs? That was a bonehead move, although today people mostly remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. Historians are still arguing about how much Kennedy should be blamed for Vietnam.
Reagan’s incoherent Lebanon misadventure cost the lives of 241 servicemen, mostly Marines, in one terrorist attack. So Reagan withdrew and consoled himself by invading Grenada. If Reagan had been a Democrat, the Right would have put him in the Weenie Museum next to Carter. And Iran Contra? Really, Jimmy Carter never did anything that weird.
And conservatives had nothing good to say about Clinton’s foreign policies while he was in office. I’d agree that foreign policy wasn’t President Clinton’s strong suit, although he got better as he went along. And, of course, the Bush II administration (unfairly) blamed Clinton for 9/11. How soon they forget.
Even a fellow from the American Enterprise Institute understands that Romney has to do more than pretend to be Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Romney needs to persuade people that he’s not simply a George W. Bush retread, eager to go to war in Syria and Iran and answer all the mail with an F-16.”
Mitt will be speaking today at the Virginia Military Institute:
In a speech on Monday at the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Romney will declare that “hope is not a strategy” for dealing with the rise of Islamist governments in the Middle East or an Iran racing toward the capability to build a nuclear weapon, according to excerpts released by his campaign.
The essence of Mr. Romney’s argument is that he would take the United States back to an earlier era, one that would result, as his young foreign policy director, Alex Wong, told reporters on Sunday, in “the restoration of a strategy that served us well for 70 years.”
But beyond his critique of Mr. Obama as failing to project American strength abroad, Mr. Romney has yet to fill in many of the details of how he would conduct policy toward the rest of the world, or to resolve deep ideological rifts within the Republican Party and his own foreign policy team. It is a disparate and politely fractious team of advisers that includes warring tribes of neoconservatives, traditional strong-defense conservatives and a band of self-described “realists” who believe there are limits to the degree the United States can impose its will.
In other words, Romney is a bit fuzzy about the details
Each group is vying to shape Mr. Romney’s views, usually through policy papers that many of the advisers wonder if he is reading. Indeed, in a campaign that has been so intensely focused on economic issues, some of these advisers, in interviews over the past two weeks in which most insisted on anonymity, say they have engaged with him so little on issues of national security that they are uncertain what camp he would fall into, and are uncertain themselves about how he would govern.
Truly, as in all things that don’t involve leverage and tax shelters, Mitt cannot make up his mind.
Indeed, while the theme Mr. Romney plans to hit the hardest in his speech at V.M.I. — that the Obama era has been one marked by “weakness” and the abandonment of allies — has political appeal, the specific descriptions of what Mr. Romney would do, on issues like drawing red lines for Iran’s nuclear program and threatening to cut off military aid to difficult allies like Pakistan or Egypt if they veer away from American interests, sound at times quite close to Mr. Obama’s approach.
And the speech appears to glide past positions Mr. Romney himself took more than a year ago, when he voiced opposition to expanding the intervention in Libya to hunt down Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi with what he termed insufficient resources. He called it “mission creep and mission muddle,” though within months Mr. Qaddafi was gone. And last spring, Mr. Romney was caught on tape telling donors he believed there was “just no way” a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could work.
You’ll like this part:
Liz Cheney, who served in the State Department during the Bush administration and is the daughter of Mr. Bush’s vice president, has begun to join a weekly conference call that sporadically includes Dan Senor, who served as spokesman for the American occupation government in Iraq. Since the Republican National Convention, Mr. Senor has been assigned to the staff of Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, who in recent weeks has made Mr. Obama’s foreign policy a particular target.
Please, people, this man must not become President. Must. not. become. President. A Romney administration would be a global catastrophe.