The GOP nominee traffics in sweeping ideological statements, skimps on specifics, and promises to increase American belligerence.
The speech that Mitt Romney gave Monday ought to make every American nervous about what he and his ideological team would do if permitted to direct U.S. foreign policy. What a debacle.
"It is the responsibility of our president to use America's great power to shape history -- not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events," he said,* giving voice to the mistaken premise that made Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman allies. Anyone running for president ought to know that the president's actual responsibilities were set forth in the Constitution. That document was written long before America became a hegemon. Its signatories wisely and explicitly rejected the notion that a single man ought to be charged with shaping history. You'd think that the Iraq War would've served as a reminder that hubristic men who think they can shape history almost always fail miserably. But Romney mentioned Iraq only briefly, insisting we should've stayed longer. He doesn't realize or won't admit that occupying foreign countries makes America more rather than less vulnerable to uncontrollable events.
Despite the years of improvised explosive devices and the thousands of dead American troops, Romney insists that "there is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East -- and it is not unique to that region." America's closest ally, Israel, does not itself want to be led by America, nor does any other sovereign country. There are those who want America to lead others in some way or other, but it is as true to observe that there is a longing for America's withdrawal from the region. Neither longing tells us what America's role in the Middle East ought to be.