Mitt: I’ll Bury Our Enemies With Platitudes

Mittens has an op ed in the Wall Street Journal called “A New Course for the Middle East” that I made myself read so you wouldn’t have to. Although you can if you like.

Executive Summary: The strategy appears to be that we are going to overwhelm the Middle East with our glorious greatness, and once they fully appreciate how gloriously great we are they will love us and stop misbehaving.

At one point, Mittens writes that he would place “no daylight between the United States and Israel.” That’s as close as he gets to any concrete policy. The rest of it is all verbiage that doesn’t say shit. Writing an article about new Middle East policy without using the words “Afghanistan,” “Iraq,” “troops,” “drones,” or “Islam” may provide a clue how utterly empty this op ed is. It is a mush of platitudes and straw men.

Mittens appears to believe that the United States can control everything that happens in the world if we just want to badly enough, and the fact that people in other countries misbehave is all President Obama’s fault. Typical paragraph:

The first step is to understand how we got here. Since World War II, America has been the leader of the Free World. We’re unique in having earned that role not through conquest but through promoting human rights, free markets and the rule of law. We ally ourselves with like-minded countries, expand prosperity through trade and keep the peace by maintaining a military second to none.

We mostly got to be “leader of the free world” because we were the only major power on the winning side of World War II that wasn’t left in ruins when it was over. And thanks in large part to the economic stimulus provided by government spending on the war, plus postwar programs like the GI bill, our economy was strong and growing while most of Europe and Asia were still struggling to just find their socks and make some breakfast. We were fortunate to have moderately progressive leaders, including Republican ones like Eisehnhower, who respected FDR’s New Deal legacy and who ignored the hotheads who wanted nuclear war with China. We also implemented the Marshall Plan and maintained sensible foreign aid programs even though conservatives grumbled about it. And that’s how we got to be “leader of the free world.” But after the Debacle that was Dubya, it’s hard to say that title has any real meaning any more.

But in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy. Our economy is stuck in a “recovery” that barely deserves the name. Our national debt has risen to record levels. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House. Finally, our values have been misapplied—and misunderstood—by a president who thinks that weakness will win favor with our adversaries.

Mitt Romney seems to think that history jumped from VE Day to the assassination of Ambassador Stevens in Libya with nothing happening in between. He describes President Obama’s policy as afflicted with “incomprehension.” I don’t doubt Mittens doesn’t comprehend it, as there are no tax shelters involved, but fortunately President Obama is a lot smarter than Mittens.

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East—that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

And who would that be, Mitt, except Bibi Netanyahu? And, frankly, I’m not sure many of us over here share Netanyahu’s “values,” whatever they are. The U.S. has a long policy of propping up anti-communist dictators, such as the Shah of Iran — notice how that turned out — and of forming alliances with people who openly are selling us out — think Pervez Musharraf. But when people in other countries win the freedom to finally elect their own choices, they don’t always choose people we might like. Our glorious greatness doesn’t always make an impression, I guess.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability—and the regional instability that comes with it—is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us.

And how are you going to do that, Mitt? Send them rotten fish in the mail? Insult their mothers? Threaten them with nuclear war? Don’t ever make threats you aren’t willing to carry out, dude.

It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel.


And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

See, Mitt, I don’t think anyone actually disagrees with that. The question is, how will you do it? That’s kind of the catch, son.

But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing.

One might question the degree to which our “values” ever had much to do with our foreign policy. But I don’t see that President Obama is anti economic or military strength, or that he has no values. And throwing money at the Pentagon to maintain some muscle-bound military prepared to land on Normandy Beach and slog toward Berlin doesn’t necessarily address current military need.

And how is it that this moron was such a success in “business”? Making boatloads of money must not take much in the way of smarts.

Update: See also Paul Waldman, “Foreign Policy Is Hard.”

15 thoughts on “Mitt: I’ll Bury Our Enemies With Platitudes

  1. I’m trying to imagine what other nations would be allowed “no daylight” in Mitt’s hugfest. (And, btw, does that permit copping a feel?)

    Mitt’s ancestral homeland, the U.K.? Our nearest non-drug-war neighbor, Canada? Or Canada only as long as their Conservatives are in power?

    It makes no sense that he would single out Israel, unless he’s following the old adage, “Keep your friends close, and your most dysfunctional friends with no daylight between ya.” Remember that one? Me neither.

  2. What Mitt knows about foreign policy would fit on the back of a cocktail napkin – with plenty of room left over for his economic policy:
    Foreign policy – STRUT & STOMP!
    Economic policy – Tax Cuts For Rich/Deregulate/Screw Everyone Else.

    In case anyone missed this yesterday, Chris Wallace asked Paulie-boy how Romney’s economic plan would work.
    Paulie said it was revenue-neutral.
    When Wallace asked how, Ryan dodged by saying it would take too long, and that there’s not enough time, but there would be tax cuts for all! (Sadly, he didn’t mention unicorns and ponies).
    Paulie-boy, not enough time to explain the plan?
    Time is the problem?
    Dude, you’re on FOX “News” – it’s a 24 X 7 X 365 propaganda outfit for you and Mittens!!!
    How is there not enough time to explain the plan?
    If you actually had one – or one that you cared to explain.
    But you can’t now, can you? That would scare Joe and Jane Sixpack, their lil’ chillin’s, and Granmama and Grandpawpaw.

  3. What about evildoers? I don’t get it. He asks us not to punish success, but yet he completely ignores our country’s need for punishing evildoers. How is God going to bless America if we don’t punish evildoers?

  4. Call me an asshole or any name that you think suits my stupidity, but if you want to know the main reason why 9/11 occurred, look to our Israel policy…it was our proping up or proxy policy of a clearly visible injustice in the middle east that gave impetus to that attack.We got hit because there was no daylight between us and we don’t stand on the side of justice.
    Muslims don’t hate us for our freedoms..they hate us for our injustice.

  5. Just granting for the sake of argument that there should be no daylight between our foreign policy and that of Israel, doesn’t the fact that WE are the leader of the world imply that it’s ISRAEL’S job to follow our lead, not the other way around?

    Why is Romney suggesting that our great and powerful country should be lead by the nose by the leader of a tiny, young country who doesn’t even have the full support of his own tiny electorate? That’s not global leadership!

    Not that our historical experience with determining the actual leadership of countries in the world would suggest that we actually control who runs Israel, of course. A reasonable case can be made that current Iranian nuclear conundrum is the result of our overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953.

    Still, it’s a bit confusing to hear the combination of “We are the pre-eminent leader of the world” combined with “we ought to do whatever Bibi tells us.”

  6. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House.

    Paulie only voted for a mechanism, he didn’t vote for sequestration. Games?

    Romney or his hack writers just don’t get it.. you sow negative, you reap negative. Americans are going to gravitate to hope, unity, national edification and the things that lift us up as a nation …not the things that tear us down or apart.

  7. Pingback: The Mahablog » Primer on Democracy and the Middle East

  8. The depth of thought in Mitt’s editorial, which I read, would have been more impressive had he just come right out and said he would use a pink unicorn to solve all our problems, because that is the only thing that could carry so much magical thinking. What goober wrote that for him? If he cannot think more clearly than to allow this to be presented as a “policy” statement on his behalf, then he is his own goober in chief. Sadly, I think it is his own product, because it so forlornly reiterates his mindless previous statements. I can just hear him saying all of this, with more pauses and confused looks. Sorta like W on some bad crack.

  9. “Making boatloads of money must not take much in the way of smarts.”

    Maha, you have just defined Republicanism in general, and Mitt Romney in particular.

    I, myself, draw a distinction between “clever,” the ability to make difficult things happen, and “intelligence” (also called “wisdom”), which is the ability to determine which things really need to be done, or are desirable to accomplish.

    Republicans almost universally are pathologically clever, with no sign of intelligence or wisdom. This is, by far, the worst possible situation. These kinds of people do ever so much harm…

  10. Make note of how many times Mitt use the words liberty and freedom. They are the mainstay of the repug puke…know that whenever you hear those words.. you’re getting played…or more exactly, you’re getting smoke blown up your butt!

    I remember reading about a Holocaust survivor who said.. “The only thing they couldn’t take from us was our consent” In that context, consent means freedom in its purist sense. The words Freedom and liberty can be the ultimate narcotic if you don’t understand explicitly how they are to be understood.

  11. Old Tom Jefferson told the truth when he said that money, not morals is the principle of a commercial nation (a quaint term for an imperialistic, free-market fiction posing as a beneficent god-father.) Mitt looks at the world the same way he looks at America – 67% of its people are free-loading, do-nothing, leeches sapping the life out of the rest of us – most especially Mitt and his cronies.

  12. Maha, Eric Margolis explained the whole situation and problem RE: the neocon mind set
    In his book, “American Raj”. Gladly, you and Swami echo Margolis.
    Sometimes I wonder if the US should just make Israel our 51st state, but thern I realize the states do what the feds say, and not the reverse.

    ‘Gulag, I caught some of Ryan’s speil on TV the other day. He could tell us the plan, but then he’d have to kill us. God, its like the giant douche and turd sandwhich on South Park last night.

  13. Willard’s policies are so shallow and full of arrogant Dubya-swaggering stupidity I half expected it to include the phrase “freedom fries”.
    Are there really that many people out there who can’t remember the aggressive disaster that was the Bush Administration?

  14. Add to your list of words not uttered “Palestine” and “the Palestinians”. From Casablanca to Karachi, the Palestinian cause is THE central emotive issue, and the motivating, unifying factor, across the Middle East (and for Muslims as a whole). That has been true since 1948. There will be no “peace” anywhere without a just resolution of the Palestinian issue.

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