Romney’s Foreign Policy
by Mykayla Sandler on Friday, September 21st, 2012
The President of the United States is our Chief Executive Officer, with a tremendous prerogative in the formulation of our foreign policy. No single individual has more of an impact on America’s presence around the world, and given our global role, there are few individuals who wield more power. Any presidential candidate should carefully articulate his foreign policy vision. At a time when our nation is on a “war footing,”as we have been since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a candidate’s views of our relations with allies and enemies are all the more critical. But during his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention on August 30th, Mitt Romney failed to even mention his position on the war in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama and Governor Romney clearly have fundamental differences in their approaches to domestic issues, such as taxes, welfare, and entitlements. What is less clear is whether they differ significantly on foreign policy, particularly the war in Afghanistan and the wider War on Terror. Governor Romney was clear about his negative views towards President Obama’s dealings with our ally Israel, his unsuccessful “talks” with Iran, his weak sanctions on Cuba and Iran, and his “flexibility” in dealing with Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. Nevertheless, he failed to fully define his views on our current war, as well as the specific strategies he would employ if elected president.
I myself would like to learn of Romney’s opinion on the course of America’s counter-terrorism. How will he deal with Al Qaeda, a hydra that continues to produce generations of terrorists intent on killing Americans? Will he continue to use unmanned drones to kill successive terrorist leaders? Or will he attempt to find a more permanent solution to this problem? Also, given the acknowledged success of “surges” –the deployment of large numbers of troops into nations in which the U.S. has a military presence– will Romney deploy more troops in Afghanistan or bring them home?
Interestingly, while campaigning before the election in 2008, then-Senator Obama was highly critical of President Bush’s foreign policy, most notably his use of surges and the use of Guantanamo Bay as a prison for terrorists. After assuming the presidency, however, Mr. Obama chose to continue many of Bush’s strategies.
Governor Romney needs to go on the record with his plans for prosecuting the War in Afghanistan, dealing with the War on Terror, and suppressing the unfolding crisis in the Middle East, because these issues will define America’s geopolitical position. At this year’s RNC, Governor Romney missed an opportunity to present a bolder vision in the realm of foreign policy. I suspect that his continued silence on the matter will tarnish his campaign and may ultimately cost him the presidency.
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