Romney’s Brave New World

Romney delivered his ostensible foreign policy address this week. In a nutshell, here’s what he declared:

Mr. Romney, whose vision generally called for a strong and resolute America to lead the world, also outlined eight specific actions he would take in his first 100 days if elected president. These include strengthening naval power by increasing shipbuilding; improving relationships with the country’s close allies like Israel, Britain and Mexico; increasing deterrent measures to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon; revisiting a missile-defense system; reviewing the country’s strategy in Afghanistan; and starting a campaign for economic opportunity in Latin America. (When he unveiled his economic plan in Nevada last month, he also offered the 10 actions he would take on his first day in the Oval Office).

Mr. Romney said he would use the “full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict.” Though much of the Republican field has yet to articulate their specific foreign policy views, Mr. Romney tried to differentiate himself from some candidates — as well as some members of the Republican Congress — who have advocated a more isolationist strain of foreign policy . . . In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world,” he said. “In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.”

Fortunately, one need not spend a great deal of time deconstructing the speech. For starters it’s from Romney and conveyed the conviction and steel of a teenager discovering pop music. Second, Romney himself is too smart to believe it. Part of private capital is show and puffery, but in the end it is ruthlessly empirical: do the numbers work? Romance is a no no. And the numbers simply don’t add up for any of Romney’s speech.

American Empire, Mitt Romney, Election 2012

It’s all very Gee Dub Bush. Anachronistic, old school. Pure positioning for the primary. Still, the practiced cynicism to deliver this speech on this scale is world class. One can understand why he was so personally disliked by the other candidates in 2008.

Even the domestic specifics of Romney’s speech, increasing DoD’s budget and adding an additional 100,000 to the Army are essentially non-starters in the real world of Washington, D.C. politics. (Smartly, the Marines are actively seeking to down size). Romney said in Afghanistan merely he would ‘listen’ to his generals.


  1. DrLeoStrauss says

    Should we wait for Rightists to denounce this ‘socialist welfare handout’?

    Newt: ‘It’s obvious to anyone remotely familiar with Afghan tribal history — and as a trained historian let me just say I’ve studied this all my life, first as a young boy following my father around as a service brat — that the idea of paying people not to fight will absolutely cripple, if not completely destroy, their capacity for self initiative and job creation, and this utterly ludicrous notion can only come from someone with a Kenyan perspective and contempt for American exceptionalism.

  2. RedPhillip says

    I think I was paying attention quite adequately. Perhaps we disagree about what were the most important aspects of the period in question. As far as I can see, at least on the national level, the policies of this Democratic administration and Party is to ratify virtually all the abominations of the Warlord regime – in some areas exceeding those outrages.

    In some respects I see the value of a Democratic Party holding action — buying time, as you say. I don’t see it happening, however. The controlling faction of the Democratic Party seem determined to out-Republican the Republicans by adopting virtually their entire program.

  3. jwb says

    @RedPhillip If you really believe this, you weren’t paying attention during the reign of Dubya, especially when the regent, Dark Lord Cheney, was in charge. I don’t claim that current Democratic policies do anything but buy time.

  4. RedPhillip says

    Blogfather IOZ recently dubbed Romney ‘Mittens’, and I think it’s use should be promoted. It has a certain appropriate dignity, I think.

    @ Comment: You’re right! Once we were governed by gangsters with style, not like the slacker aparat today.

    @jwb: Hard to see how things have been any less destructive under Prince of Peace Obama, than the case under the Warlord. The ratchet effect is in full control here, all the more as the situation becomes more difficult to manage. Deciding which faction of the oligarchy will be more savage than the other is like trying to pick which mafia family gets to run things.

  5. rkka says

    OTOH, with Mitt, the remnants of the Congressional Dems might oppose something. For Obambi they just roll over.

  6. jwb says

    @Comment Agreed. In this case, hollow and sane makes him more dangerous, because more electable, than the others. But in terms of policy there’s not a large difference among any of the candidates, and it’s those policies that pose the largest threat.

  7. rkka says

    Indeed, the Mittster is such a transparent phony that none of this is the least bit serious. He does have the advantage of not being insane, as the rest of the rethuglican candidates are.

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