Feature

Romney on foreign policy

Mitt Romney sought to burnish his foreign policy credentials in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute.

Mitt Romney sought to burnish his foreign policy credentials this week, arguing in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute that President Obama’s failure to show forceful leadership has made the world a more dangerous place. Declaring that “hope is not a strategy,” the Republican presidential nominee announced that he would increase military spending, implement tougher sanctions on Iran, and work to ease tensions between the U.S. and Israel. “It is time to change course,” he said. “We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds.” Romney lamented that the president “has failed to lead in Syria,” and pledged to work with “members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat” President Bashar al-Assad. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, an Obama supporter, dismissed the speech as “full of platitude and free of substance.”

Romney made a stirring case for a more assertive foreign policy, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The fires now burning across the Middle East—from the recent attack on our consulate in Libya to the 20-month-old civil war in Syria—“rage in a vacuum created by the perception that the U.S. is withdrawing from the region.” Obama’s weakness has emboldened our enemies. It’s time “for the world’s only superpower to reassert its leadership.”

Here we go again, said The Boston Globe. Romney shares with George W. Bush a “messianic belief in America’s ability to shoulder the world’s burdens alone.” That deluded worldview resulted in two unfunded wars that raised the national debt by $800 billion. Now Romney wants to bring back Bush’s failed policies, but today “we are even less able to afford them.”

Actually, Romney’s foreign policy is almost indistinguishable from Obama’s, said Michael McGough in the Los Angeles Times. Look beyond his forceful language, and you’ll see that Romney all but echoed the president’s warnings on Iran’s nuclear program and the importance of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. His aim was to sound tougher than Obama, while also adopting the president’s widely approved foreign policy. “Speak roughly, in other words, and carry a same-sized stick.”

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