Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Choice Before Us: Foreign Policy

Remember when George W. Bush said in his 2000 debate with Al Gore that he didn't think the United States should be about the business of 'nation building'? Three years later, we were invading Iraq, where we wasted something like 700 billion dollars and many thousands of American lives (not to speak of the countless Iraqi dead) doing exactly what Bush said he was against.

Watching the successful raid on Osama bin Laden
The point being that you can't always believe what a candidate says in a debate. It's better to look at their actions.

Mitt Romney has spent most of two years now slamming President Obama for being 'weak', 'an appeaser', 'naive', 'incapable', 'over his head', and 'unsuccessful' in his foreign policy. Yet in their third and final debate on foreign policy, Romney ended up agreeing with most everything that Obama has done when asked about the specifics. It was widely speculated that he wanted to sound like the 'peacemaker', in order to win over more of the women's vote in the next two weeks before the election.

What position hasn't Romney changed in the course of the last 10 years?  He becomes whatever he needs to in order to win an election.  Who knows what he will actually do in foreign policy when he gets to the Oval Office?  He has absolutely no experience in the field, so we have nothing by which to judge him.

This one is not even close.  President Obama has proven himself over his first term in office to be a cautious and pragmatic statesman and commander-in-chief.  He has pursued America's national interests all over the world in ways that have kept America safe.  He ended the Iraq War and will do the same in Afghanistan.  He is a centrist and sensible 'realist' in his foreign policy who has utilized the best talent he could find in either political party (Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State).  He seems to follow the judicious advice of Theodore Roosevelt, who recommended that the President "speak softly but carry a big stick."

We know what President Obama will do in foreign policy because we've had a chance to watch him in action for four years.  We have absolutely no idea what Mitt Romney will do.  (On the other hand, with foreign policy advisors like the fire-breathing John Bolton and other Bush people surrounding him, I have a sneaking suspicion about what he might do.)

The choice here is obvious: Barack Obama for Commander-in-Chief and America's Chief Diplomat.


  1. Romney won the debate – not just tactically, but strategically. Romney held onto his momentum from the past two debates, demonstrated that he’s extremely knowledgeable on world affairs, and demonstrated that he’s a competent man who’s someone you could trust as commander-in-chief.

    In his analysis, Charles Krauthammer said that Americans “care about how America is perceived in the world, and how America carries itself in the world. And the high point of that debate for Romney is when he devastatingly leveled the charge of Obama going around the world on an apology tour.” Obama’s answer, Krauthammer said was “about as weak as you can get,” and “Romney’s response was to say, to quote Obama saying that we dictate to other nations, and Romney said ‘We do not dictate to other nations, we liberate them,’ and Obama was utterly speechless.”

    NOT very presidential of Obama, not at all. He's toast.

  2. I'm not interested in who won the debates. Debates are a blood sport. If you fact check the "apology tour" nonsense, Obama gave NO APOLOGIES! But both sides will spin and spin till we are all dizzy. I don't trust Romney. He has been on every side of every issue. I fought very hard for women's issues a long time ago and I'm not willing to slide back into the 19th century with Romney and Ryan greasing the skids. Their "arithmetic" doesn't add up to deficit reduction either. This will be a VERY close election and I will be voting for Obama.