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Fake Tough Guy, Mitt Romney, Seriously Messed Up On Foreign Policy

May 21, 2012

What with the NATO conference in town and all, it was apparently necessary for Mitt Romney to once again display his stunning ignorance of foreign policy  (and his complete lack of logic) , this time via an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune. Not only does Romney not  acknowledge his own lack of expertise in this area, not only does he fail to heed the advise of his own expert advisers, he insists on forging ahead in some kind of make-believe ideal of what a Republican candidate should say. Honestly, he’s his own SNL spoof.

First there was the bizarre declaration that Russia is “without question our number one geopolitical foe” and the op-ed about China which Foreign Policy’s  Dan Drezner so aptly described as reading like it was composed by the Hulk. (See: Romney SMASH China!) Now, we have his Chicago Tribune op-ed on NATO which is not merely stupid, but hilariously nonsensical, too.

From Mitt’s post, my comments in red:

NATO has kept the peace in Europe for more than six decades. But today, the alliance is at a crossroads. It is time to speak candidly about the challenges facing the United States and our allies and how to rise to them….

Yes! Speak candidly – good start! Go on…

While military underinvestment is an old problem for NATO, a lack of American leadership on the issue is an alarming new development. Instead of working to strengthen NATO, the Obama administration has taken actions that will only undermine the alliance…

Yes, from here he goes ahead and blames Obama for the bipartisan spending cuts …

Last year, President Obama signed into law a budget scheme that threatens to saddle the U.S. military with nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. President Obama’s own defense secretary, Leon Panetta, has called cuts of this magnitude “devastating” to our national security. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has plainly said that such a reduction means “we would not any longer be a global power.” Despite these warnings, the Obama administration has pledged to veto an attempt to replace these cuts with savings in other areas…

With the United States on a path to a hollow military, we are hardly in a position to exercise leadership in persuading our allies to spend more on security. And in fact the Obama administration has failed to exercise such leadership. Quite the contrary; a multiplier effect has set in: The administration’s irresponsible defense cuts are clearing the way for our partners to do even less….

As has been pointed out elsewhere, not only is Obama not singularly responsible for those cuts, a great deal of those cuts are made with “real buy in” from the military’s top brass…

At this moment of both opportunities and perils — an Iranian regime with nuclear ambitions, an unpredictable North Korea, a revanchist Russia, a China spending furiously on its own military, to name but a few of the major challenges looming before us — the NATO alliance must retain the capacity to act.

Whoa, there!

1) North Korea and China? What does that have to do with NATO?

2) A “revanchist Russia”? Does he just want to prove he knows the word? Because I do not think that he does. Then again, I guess it dovetails with his equally incoherent earlier statements on Russia…

As president, I will work closely with our partners to bolster the alliance. In that effort, words are not enough.

I will reverse Obama-era military cuts. I will not allow runaway entitlement spending to swallow the defense budget as has happened in Europe and as President Obama is now allowing here.

Finally, we get to Romney’s biggest problem: he contends that our NATO allies have forgone their military needs in favor of, as he puts it, “ever more generous welfare states.” He then says that what NATO needs is a serious dose of leadership from the US! Instead of doing the same and reducing our own military budget, we should double down and lead by example.

Except… the reason our NATO allies haven’t been spending on defense the way we have is that they haven’t had to — because we have. There’s actually a whole body of knowledge out there on the economic realities of military alliances. Mitt Romney either isn’t aware of this, or just expects that you aren’t aware of this.  But you don’t have to be, you only need to think about it: if one super-power is spending beaucoup bucks on military build-up, what incentive is there for others in the alliance to do the same?

Moreover, the US has been out-spending all our allies combined on defense for decades — while they’ve all-the-while been cutting back on defense and investing it their dreaded “welfare states”. Why would things suddenly change just because Mitt Romney was in the White House?

Honestly, the more I hear of Romney’s “foreign policy”,  the more confused I become. I can’t decide if he’s just pushing the military spending  thing because he wants to benefit the likes of Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Northrup-Grumman, etc… or  if he just thinks he’s saying what a “tough guy” Republican should say.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2012 10:09 am

    Personally, I think the downright obliteration to discretinary spending included in te Ryan budget is more dangerous to our country than reducing military spending a bit. But maybe that is just me. Thanks for the post. I don’t know much about this issue, so it was helpful to read your thoughts.

  2. May 22, 2012 8:05 am

    Hey maybe Mitt was referring to Revan when he said revanchist Russia?
    The Revanchists, also known as the Jedi Crusaders, were a renegade faction of the Jedi Order who assisted the Galactic Republic during the Mandalorian Wars.

    Who knew old Mitt was a Star Wars fan? 🙂


  1. वसुधैव कुटुंबकम - Mitt-Man’s Foreign Policy Mess and I

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