Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mitt Romney Tries Voodoo Foreign Policy


We've been trying to makes heads or tails out of Romney's incoherent foreign policy statements. He sounds absolutely clueless about one of the most important jobs a president has to do, which is worrying foreign leaders all over the world. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hit the nail on the head when she termed his speech the other day "full of platitude and free of substance." It's also worrying Republicans, including Republicans on Romney's own team. Our old friend, Russ Baker, covered that exceptionally well this week at WhoWhatWhy. He starts with a good laugh at the NY Times fumbling around the edges of exposing Romney as a silly dilettante in the foreign policy arena, using words to describe a speech devoid of seriousness like "vague" and "yet to fill in many of the details." Baker has a couple of questions though: "Given the common belief that national security/foreign policy is either one of the two most important areas a president must contend with or the most important one, it is reasonable to ask: What the heck is going on? How did we end up with a situation in which one of our two choices in November is a man who seems to know, or care, so little about the world? How is it possible that, with just weeks before the election, there is no dominant person or clique in Romney’s camp to articulate a vision of what the United States can and should do in an incredibly complex and explosive world?" And then he tries answering.
The truth of the matter is that, while the actions of the United States in the world are of utmost importance to all Americans-- and especially to the financial sector, oil/mineral and other natural resource extraction industries, importers/exporters and traders, and the humongous armaments industry-- we always seem to end up with candidates who are not really knowledgeable or strong enough to chart their own course.

...Bewilderingly, the article concludes by implying that what really is needed is a return to power of the same-old-same-old gaggle of seemingly immortal “foreign policy czars”-- presumably people like John McCain and William Kristol-- big backers of proactive wars and invasions ranging from Vietnam to Iraq to Libya:

"Missing from the team are the big names in establishment Republican foreign policy circles. The best known of them, Henry A. Kissinger, has endorsed Mr. Romney, but recently took a shot at his declaration that he would declare China a currency manipulator on the 'first day' of a new administration. Last week, Mr. Kissinger described both presidential candidates’ approach to China as 'extremely deplorable'.”

The unstated point is: American presidential elections are often little more than bad jokes. The two nominees are awfully similar on so many global issues. Worse, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that we will end up with a guy who has no idea what to do with the world-- and who is surrounded by competing cabals of self-important people who must know in their own hearts that they have no idea how to proceed judiciously and wisely. Privately, this whole gang must be terrified to be put in charge of an operation promising to outdo a president who has himself routinely embraced force, even outdoing his predecessor  on the particularly cruel and reckless policy of death by drone.
Obama and Romney will debate foreign policy on October 22. Romney better start boning up now. Because it's not as easy as where he and his shady accountants find tax shelters for his fortune or how much slave labor he can take advantage of in Chinese factories to make money for his wealthy investors.



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