Monday, July 30, 2012
Gotcha Morning | How Does Romney Differ from Obama on Foreign Policy?
Mitt Romney has spent the last several days traveling abroad in an attempt to bolster his foreign policy credentials. In London, he set up a restrictive ground rule for himself to refrain from criticizing or contradicting the President's foreign policy positions while on foreign soil. The prescription essentially prevented him from talking substantively about his own foreign policy plans. After the London leg of his trip did not go as well as planned, Israel gave Romney a second chance to control the story and send the ideal photo-ops back to Jewish Americans. But for the most part, the question of how his policies regarding the Middle East differ from President Obama's remained. As we saw on the Sunday morning political talk shows, Romney's surrogates had quite a bit of trouble elaborating on those presumed distinctions. On ABC's This Week, Senior Advisor Kevin Madden could not explain anything about Mitt Romney's stance toward Israel that was different from the President's except maybe that he's been there more times. On CNN's State of the Union, prospective vice presidential candidate Kelly Ayotte called President Obama's foreign policy "weak" in comparison to Mitt Romney's but could not point to anything specific that Romney would have done differently over the last four years.
By the time Mitt Romney spoke in Jerusalem Sunday evening, he clearly felt he needed to work in some not-so-subtle criticism of President Obama by saying that "diplomatic distance" between the U.S. and Israel "emboldens Israel's adversaries."
From his remarks above, it's not entirely clear what Romney would do differently to protect Israel from the threat of Iran, but it is clear that he will place Israel on a pedestal free from criticism. That could mean that he will blindly follow Israel into any preemptive war of their choosing without considering the interests of the United States. There may be a small number of Americans who prefer that course, including the only one who really counts to Mitt Romney: Sheldon Adelson. But I, and presumably many other Americans, want to keep those decisions in the hands of the President of the United States.