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Romney's failures on foreign policy

Today, Mitt Romney falsely accused the President of caving to Russia on missile defense. But his comments beg the question: what exactly is Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience? 

More than once, Mitt Romney has reacted to the news that the U.S. would be pulling its troops out of combat assignments in Afghanistan by mid-2013, saying that President Obama was “naïve.” You have to wonder at the use of the term, given Romney's flip-flop on the Obama strategy of an Afghan withdrawal at least three times: he was for it, then against it, before recommending “a gradual transition”—whatever that is.

In addition to his Etch A Sketch approach to Afghanistan, Romney seems particularly unsure of what the U.S. should do in the Middle East. His foreign policy white paper fails to lay out a concrete strategy for what America should do in Iraq, speaking in broad strokes and ending with a statement that the U.S. should use "the broad array of our foreign-policy tools" to establish a lasting relationship with the Iraqi people. That’s not a strategy; it’s an applause line. At one point Romney even claimed that President Obama was following Bush’s “wisdom” on Iraq, which seems, at minimum, a spectacular misuse of the term.

But maybe foreign policy just isn't that important to Romney. In 2008, while running for the GOP nomination against John McCain, Romney's canned foreign policy responses suggested he doesn't think a president needs to have any foreign policy experience at all. "If foreign policy experience were the measure for selecting a president,” he said, "we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole life in foreign policy." Which is to say, when it comes to foreign policy, Romney would just as soon have someone else show leadership.

Ben Labolt, OFA Press Secretary, said today:

“Once again Governor Romney is undermining his credibility by distorting the President’s words. Governor Romney has been all over the map on the key foreign policy challenges facing our nation today, offering a lot of chest thumping and empty rhetoric with no concrete plans to enhance our security or strengthen our alliances ... Instead of passing the buck, it is time that Governor Romney shared his foreign policy agenda with the American people.”

Romney should know: waffling on Afghanistan, engaging in sloganeering on Iraq, stating that a president doesn't need any foreign policy experience, and describing George Bush as “wise” does not exactly give the American electorate confidence that you’re ready to be Commander in Chief.