Below in italics are excerpts from Romney’s foreign policy speech at VMI on Monday. The sub-bullets represent my comments. In a nutshell, Romney’s speech was equal parts neocon talking points, lies about Obama, empty rhetoric, and inconsistencies. I would trust this guy as commander-in-chief as much as I would trust Dr. Christian Szell as my dentist.
· The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001
o And they may have had something to do with the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, the Challenger tragedy, and the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Seriously, there is no evidence tying binLaden’s al-Qaeda organization with this group in Libya. But since the same national security team that advised George W. Bush tried telling us that al-Qaeda in Iraq was operating with bin laden BEFORE 200, I am not surprised by Mitt’s erroneous claim.
· It is a struggle that has unfolded under green banners in the streets of Iran, in the public squares of Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen, and in the fights for liberty in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Libya, and now Syria. In short, it is a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.
o Sounds great except Romney’s foreign policy team is all for democratic elections in Muslim countries as long as a pro-U.S. government is elected. Further, the same guys that accused President Obama of throwing Hosni Mubarak under the bus and sending the signal that America no longer supports its friends, now supports the populist revolts. Classic Mitt: playing both sides.
· The relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains.
o Apparently Romney feels it is ok for a foreign leader to come to America and insult the President of the United States. Romney has no shame as he plays politics over patriotism.
· Across the greater Middle East, as the joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces, and growing economies, and developing democratic institutions, the President has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need.
o Let me get this right, the neocon puppet masters pulling Mitt’s strings loved Mubarak, hate the DEMOCRATICALLY elected Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and harangue the President for not supporting these new governments. In reality President Obama and his administration have extended further aid to the newly formed governments in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt, while Romney’s GOP brethren in Congress threaten to cut aid.
· In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran.
o Once again, Romney is about as far from the facts as Earth is from Kolob. The sectarian violence is the result of a failed neocon led reconstruction, and, once again, the same crew that worked for Bush is advising Romney, now leading to the rise of the Shia bloq. Yes Iran has tremendous influence in Iraq, perhaps we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq to begin with. These guys and Romney have the balls to blame to Obama for the sectarian violence in Iraq after they broke the country to begin with.
· The President has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months.
o Romney and the neocons can get their next theater of operation by arming Syrian opposition fighters, many of whom, are al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremist salafists. These are very bad guys who we will end up fighting in the future; something these guys know very well. Heck, if PBS’ Frontline can report the facts, why can’t Romney speak the facts?
· But Al-Qaeda remains a strong force in Yemen and Somalia, in Libya and other parts of North Africa, in Iraq, and now in Syria. And other extremists have gained ground across the region. Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.
o Insinuating al-Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia is part of the heinous organization behind 9/11 attacks is like saying Steve Martin’s Pink Panther is part of the Peter Sellars franchise. These wannabes are local actors with no reach beyond their local boundaries. Further, Romney falls into his usual trap of not offering any specifics. What is his ‘national security strategy’?
· It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.
o And we love pick-up trucks, apple pie and baseball. I may need to do some more research but this sounds like a Bush speech, perhaps written by Dan Senor, the American Baghdad Bob. The only thing missing was the axis of evil crack.
· 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. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
o I guess Romney missed the part about the riots in Tehran this weekend protesting, not against Israel or America, but against Ahmadinejad. Yes the sanctions are working and we would be even more effective if we hadn’t toppled the one guy who would have kept Iran in check.
· I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security—the world must never see any daylight between our two nations.
o More Romney and GOP bullshit. Never in its history as Israel received more aid and support in the U.N. from the U.S. In fact, the willingness of the Obama administration to bend over backwards in support of Israel has hurt out standing in the region while further isolating Israel.
· And I will roll back President Obama’s deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military.
o You mean the cuts related to the sequestration brought on by the failure of the Super Committee to get its job done? The same super committee that your running mate sat on?
· The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats.
o Yes because we must spend more than the next 20, no make it 25, heck why not 50 nations.
· The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years.
o That may come as a surprise to the governments of Panama, South Korea, and Colombia all of which were parties to three individual free trade agreements signed into law by President Obama in October, 2011. It would also come as a surprise to Speaker Boehner who said last October "years of perseverance have been rewarded today as American job creators will have new opportunities to expand and hire as they access new markets abroad.”
· I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.
o What values does he speak of? Clearly an Islamist government in Tunisia or Egypt does not coincide with our Judeo-Christian values, right? I mean after all we have been fighting back the threat of Sharia law here in the U.S. Does he mean the values that include supporting dictators or does it mean governments that allow us to use drones in their sovereign airspace?
· But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11.
o Apparently Romney thinks it was the Taliban that attacked us on 9/11. That is not surprising since he is being advised by the very same people who convinced President Bush that Iraq was behind 9/11 and posed a clear and present danger to our liberty. This neocon “we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” drivel is nothing more than beating the drum of perpetual conflict. Once again there is no credible evidence supporting these claims.
· and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security.
o Apparently Romney is as bad a reader of newspapers as Palin with as little intelligence of Latin America as the former governor of Alaska. Apparently he is unaware that Socialist Evo Morales is Bolivia’s President, Socialist Rafael Correa is Ecuador’s President, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez have included Venezuela into the South American Mercosur trade bloc. This hardly seems to be describing a continent where sovereign nations are resisting Mr. Chavez.
But don’t go by me, make up your own mind.