Romney’s foreign policy speech

- October 8th, 2012

Mitt Romney will give a speech later this morning at the Virginia Military Institute that his campaign would like you to believe is hugely super duper important. I know this because the campaign has been pumping the speech like crazy, and leaking just about every part of it to various media outlets. Here’s one very good take on it:

In a foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute today, Mitt Romney will provide a comprehensive critique of President Obama’s national security policy. In excerpts released by the campaign, Romney argues: “The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East — a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.”

Romney continues, “The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.”

In a conference call held by foreign policy advisers Richard Williamson, Alex Wong and Eliot Cohen, the campaign suggested the tactic will be to paint Romney’s policy as part of the bipartisan tradition in foreign policy running from Presidents Harry Truman to John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Williamson, who took the lead in running the call (another indication that he is now the key foreign policy voice for the campaign) rejected a reporter’s notion that Romney was moving to the center. He said this is not a Republican or Democratic foreign policy, but a tradition in which Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are the exceptions. All those other presidents, save Carter and Obama, he argued, knew that “strength is not provocative.” Cohen echoed that view in castigating the idea of “leadership from behind.” He said that he can’t imagine Clinton subscribing to that view.

OK. Yes, I’m sure it will be an important speech. There are a lot of voters who would like to have a better sense of what foreign policy would look like under President Romney. But don’t get overly excited. Foreign affairs aren’t decisive for most American voters.

Still, I’m looking forward to the speech, which will carry live on Sun News during Canada Live. Make sure to tune in!

Categories: Foreign affairs

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