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Romney’s Foreign Policy Vacuums

| October 8, 2012

Give Obama this much: he had good reason, standing on that stage at the University of Denver last week, to feel contempt for Mitt Romney and wonder what on earth he was doing, sharing the stage with an intellectual vacuum cleaner. Today’s foreign policy address by Romney, to the Virginia Military Institute, was better suited for the Hoover Historical Center in Canton, Ohio. He spoke for about half an hour. He said absolutely nothing of substance. He did the expected, saying “hope isn’t a strategy,” blaming Obama for not standing by Israel (well, aside from sending Israel $10 billion in free military hardware, at our expense), blaming Obama for doing nothing about the 30,000 Syrians massacred by Assad;’s regime, blaming Obama for letting Iran march toward a nuclear weapon, blaming Obama for losing the peace (what peace?) in Iraq.

OK. He had to to that. It’s what good speeches are made of: diagnose the problem, then tell us how you’d do things differently.

But he didn’t.

Here’s what he said, for example, on Iran: “I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.” Really? You promise? Better yet: “I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its securityy—the world must never see any daylight between our two nations.” Good. I was really getting tired of Obama lumping Israel with North Korea and Iran in Axis of Evil Redux. And the last thing our dark-age relationship with Israel needs is daylight. “I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.” Funny, he didn’t mention any names. Let’s do that: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and a few other backward, anti-democratic, authoritarian and illegitimate regimes that think nothing of murdering their own citizens to keep their version of peace, and whom we, going back decades, have called “partners.” In that regard, there is no daylight between Romney and Obama.

pierre tristam flaglerlive editor's blogI was really curious about what he was proposing for Syria. “I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets.” That’s it? That’s it. Also, this: ” I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” That’s anice change from his famous address that included his slur about the 47 percent, when he trashed the two-state solution: ” “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. [...] “[S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.” No Romney speech is complete without a few barrels of flipflops.

And gross, outright errors. “The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years,” Romney said. Someone should be editing his speeches. Here, for example, is how one of a few thousand stories headlined it last October: OBAMA SIGNS FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS.” Notice the s in agreements. A little detail for the guy who is reportedly not even reading the briefing papers his foreign policy team is writing for him: “President Obama has signed into law the long-awaited free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, as well as the latest trade adjustment assistance for workers.

He also repeated a lie he’s made his own: “The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916.” He’s already been slapped with a pants-on-fire rating from Politifacts for that one. But he keeps repeating it: not just a liar, but a malicious one, too. He relies on a Heritage fear sheet about “The State of the U.S. Military” from 2010, which says, on page 17, that “The U.S. Navy’s fleet today contains the smallest number of ships since 1916. The total number of active ships in the Navy declined from 592 to 283 between 1989 and 2009.” Heritage does that with a straight face. It is literally comparing this:

To this:

That’s the sort of math we have to contend with from Romney. Not to take a sledgehammer to it, but considering the very large number of people who still take Romney seriously, it’s worth restating explicitly, as Politifacts did: “Counting the number of ships or aircraft is not a good measurement of defense strength because their capabilities have increased dramatically in recent decades. Romney’s comparison ‘doesn’t pass ‘the giggle test,’ ‘ said William W. Stueck, a historian at the University of Georgia. Consider what types of naval ships were used in 1916 and 2011. The types of ships active in both years, such as cruisers and destroyers, are outfitted today with far more advanced technology than what was available during World War I. More importantly, the U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carriers (plus the jets to launch from them), 31 amphibious ships, 14 submarines capable of launching nuclear ballistic missiles and four specialized submarines for launching Cruise missiles — all categories of vessels that didn’t exist in 1916.”

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15 Responses for “Romney’s Foreign Policy Vacuums”

  1. Jim R. says:

    Why is it that no one challenges the idea that Free Trade Agreements are something good and helpful to our economy?
    After the ongoing disaster of NAFTA you would think Politicians would be condemning them. The reason they don’t is that Free Trade Agreements are good for the corporations, and the corporations are what gets them re-elected and that’s who the are loyal to .

    • NortonSmitty says:

      If you loved the Giant Sucking Sound of manufacturing jobs leaving the country from NAFTA, (Remember how we laughed at Paranoid Ross Perot when he said that in the ’92 Presidential debate?) you’re gonna’ love what’s coming after the election, no matter who wins!

      Get ready for TPP, or The Trans Pacific Partnership. Never heard of it? The press says nothing, the Negotioators say it’s just a simple trade agreement (Boring!) but what has leaked out so far refers to it as NAFTA on steroids, a Globalist Corporate Coup d’etat, or the final nail in our coffins. It gives corporations, investors and financiers priority over the laws of any country that signs it. And the fact you never heard a word about it should scare you. This is no Conspiracy Theory or paranoid raving, this is a documented treaty that is being finalized and waiting for a moment of distraction to be signed.

      Just some of the agreements highlights are that If any corporation is harmed, IE it’s profits, are diminished by costs of environmental, labor, safety or other regulations the offending country can be sued for damages to be paid for by the taxpayers. Arsenic? Child Labor? Weekends? If they’re OK with them in Viet Nam or China, we can’t ban them here! No kidding, that’s just for starters.

      Here is an article with more: http://www.alternet.org/story/156059/trans-pacific_partnership%3A_under_cover_of_darkness,_a_corporate_coup_is_underway

      I know, it’s from Alternet, a Liberal sort of site. But the right-wingers and the NWO crowd are upset too.
      Google your favorite propaganda delivery system and prepare to be scared.

  2. Dorothea says:

    Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright called Romney’s foreign policy speech today at Virginia Military Institute, “shallow.”

    Sorry I can’t provide a readable source, but I heard Ms. Albright say this on NPR. Shallow is a better adjective than I would use. Romney is a liar, in addition to being shallow.

    Good editorial Pierre. Your description of Romney as an “intellectual vacuum cleaner” was spot on.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      I heard that. All I could think of was that this is the woman who in 1999 upon confirmation that the severe Sanctions imposed on Sadams Iraq between GulfWar I and II resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5, and almost nothing to Saddam and the Baathist rulers said ‘We Think the Price Is Worth It’.

      Madeline Albright can blow me.

      • Dorothea says:

        @Norton Smitty

        Madeline Albright became Secretary of State in 1997 and during her tenure the United Nations twice offered Iraq supervised food distribution in exchange for Iraqi oil. Saddam Hussein refused the offer. I have posted here a link and excerpt from the New York Times which gives a better perspective on why and whose fault it was that Iraqi children were dying.

        “The Security Council responded to these concerns earlier this year when it offer Iraq the opportunity to sell $2 billion worth of oil to purchase food and medicines under United Nations supervision, the second such offer in four years. Iraq rejected both as infringements of its sovereignty and has continued to demand an unconditional end to sanctions.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/01/world/iraq-sanctions-kill-children-un-reports.html?src=pm

        • Dorothea says:

          Sorry, I entered my correction before finishing it. George Bush’s Secretaries of State (James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger) imposed the sanctions. Clinton’s first Secretary of State was Warren Christopher, followed by Madeline Albright in 1997.

          The following excerpt from The Nation, with a definite left wing bias, explains further what happened under Albright’s tenure.

          “The Security Council has steadily expanded the oil-for-food program. In 1998 it raised the limits on permitted oil sales, and in 1999 it removed the ceiling altogether. Production has risen to approximately 2.6 million barrels per day, levels approaching those before the Gulf War. Oil revenues during the last six months of 2000 reached nearly $10 billion. This is hardly what one would call an oil embargo. Oil exports are regulated, not prohibited. Funds are still controlled through the UN escrow account, with a nearly 30 percent deduction for war reparations and UN costs, but Baghdad has more than sufficient money to address continuing humanitarian needs. Said Secretary General Kofi Annan in his latest report, “With the improved funding level for the programme, the Government of Iraq is indeed in a position to address the nutritional and health concerns of the Iraqi people.”

          http://www.thenation.com/article/hard-look-iraq-sanctions?page=0,1

          @Karma

          From FactCheck regarding you falsely accusing Democrats of disenfranchising the military vote.

          “Mitt Romney wrongly suggests the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the voting rights of military members through a lawsuit filed in Ohio. The suit seeks to block state legislation that limited early voting times for nonmilitary members; it doesn’t seek to impose restrictions on service members.”

          http://factcheck.org/2012/08/obama-not-trying-to-curb-military-early-voting/

          The drone strike and the attack on the American consulate in Libya are still under investigation. But you would rather draw your own conclusions before even waiting for your man Issa to finish his hearings or the FBI to finish their investigation. It is possible that Darrell Issa will find nothing just like he did in his previous witchhunt against Eric Holder and his infamous male only hearing on female contraception.

          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/10/speculation-israel-drone-intercepted.html

  3. D says:

    SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE ON THE WRITING STAFF IS A DEMOCRAT!

  4. Karma says:

    It is becoming easier to understand why democrats try to disenfranchise the military vote. Check out these poll numbers from the Military Times. R-66% O- 26% http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/10/military-times-poll-romney-bests-obama-2-1-100712/

    Four Americans are slaughtered in Libya, and not one mention of that country in your piece about that Charlie Foxtrot. Everyday we learn more about what happened there that night and the days and weeks prior to the 9/11 TERRORIST attack there. But Romney is the lair?
    You speak of Israel and peace in the region, yet yesterday they had to shot down a drone in their airspace and respond to an attack form Gaza. There will never be peace in the area and Israel is not the reason why.

  5. rickg says:

    I remember the first time I heard a candidate tell me that they had a secret plan to end the Viet Nam War… Sort of like Romney’s many unclear plans… it had no details. In Viet Nam 50,000 soldiers died. What kind of damage would Romney’s BS cost us?

  6. Sam says:

    I am an Independent and I read Flaglerlive every morning. This Mr. Tristam had written many articles in condemnation of the Republican Party and this is not helping his party of choice. I voted for Obama last election but this guy and the media is making very difficult for me to support Obama again. I want to read and hear both sides fairly.

  7. anon says:

    Romney’s foreign policy experience was his riding around France on a bicycle trying to convert people while dodging the Vietnam war.

  8. Anonymous says:

    That “trade adjustment assistance ” is an admission that these trade agreements are going to cost Americans their jobs, The Govt will kindly throw some crumbs to workers after their jobs go offshore and the big profits from cheap labor fill the pockets of the Corporate criminal class.

  9. Samuel Smith says:

    I wonder if his free market foreign policy stance might include selling America’s services to the highest bidder. He’s already advocated selling arms to Syrian rebels, maybe the real ticket here is Romney/Haliburton.

  10. Karma says:

    Thank You Dorthea, Now I understand how Gallup Finds 60 Percent Have Little or No Trust in the mainstream media.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/157589/distrust-media-hits-new-high.aspx

  11. Ralph says:

    Mitt Romney probably doesn’t have a perfect foreign policy plan. So what. I have never seen one yet. The public is voting to fire Obama because he has proven his policies are far worse, he is proven to be dishonest, and there is no reason to believe he will change course and correct his mistakes. Just make things worse if you can imagine that.

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