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October 15, 2012

Romney Advisers: His Foreign Policy Would Be Closer to Reagan Than Bush

I've been advocating this shift for months and months. Arguing Romney should declare a Reaganite foreign policy, not a Bushian one.

The difference? Well, Reagan is thought to be a Warrior but he didn't actually commit America to any major wars.

Plus, this idea of Bush's -- that we'll nation build and nation build and nation build -- costs too much in terms of money, let alone American life, and is extremely unpopular.

And this just isn't politics-- It's so unpopular the public will not permit a President to pursue it. So why leave any doubt that you intend to do that? You're not going to; what is the purpose of hinting you might do something so unpopular you won't be permitted to do it at all?

Rhetorically, it is a useful thing to say "My policy is Reaganite." There are few in the conservative movement that alienates, and most independents and even many Democrats think well enough of Reagan's foreign policy.

Romney has never been very forward-leaning on the use of force. He speaks very vaguely about it. If he had a McCain foreign policy in mind -- intervene everywhere; we are the world's policeman -- he could have announced it when it was still semi-popular in 2007.

He didn't.

I'm surprised it's taken this long.

A senior Republican strategist close to the campaign said Romney was groping for a "version 2.0" of the foreign policy of the Bush era, but one that would more resemble President Reagan's in the Cold War. It would seek to assert American leadership and values with a powerful military and bold rhetoric, but "with a more cautious view of where and when we use force."

The imperative is to avoid "the mistakes and miscalculations of the last decade," said the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about internal deliberations. "The Bush foreign policy is a terrible brand."

I don't mind bombing countries.

I don't mind decapitating regimes.

My problem comes with the United States cleaning up the messes that foreign despots have brought upon themselves. Filling the "power vacuum" with American troops, who will wind up being killed for no very good reason.

These countries will rebuild themselves -- just as they always have. Perhaps they will rebuild more slowly than with American aid; perhaps more civilians will be killed in ensuing power struggles.

Let's be grown up about this: That's not our problem unless we agree that it should be our problem.

When you go to war, you reap the whirlwind. I wouldn't mind if the citizens of regimes hostile to us understood that a little better.

And attempting to spare Iraqis and Afghans the full horror of war has just wound up shifting the horror of war to Americans -- and has prevented us from taking critical actions in our own national security interests.

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posted by Ace at 07:25 PM

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