Desperately Seeking A Flip-Flop On Foreign Policy

Ilana Mercer, October 12, 2012


“He’s the first Nobel Peace Prize winner with a kill list.”

Excerpted from a PBS documentary, “The Choice 2012,” that is a pithy and apt adage to describe President Barack Obama’s warrior credentials.

Mitt Romney has promised that “there would be no ‘daylight’ between the United States and Israel,” when in fact there is little of the same between he and Obama, as far as foreign policy goes. If anything, the fact that Obama has resisted Benjamin Netanyahu’s calls to invade Iran plays in the president’s favor.

The sum of rival Romney’s foreign policy is this: Anything Obama can do, I can do deadlier.

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Michael McGough points out the same.

Against the wishes of war-weary Americans, Romney has vowed to arm the Syrian rebels. But Obama, discreetly, is already doing in that country what he did “for” Libya: Help level it and invite into it an evil even greater than The Dictator he helped oust.

Romney, like Obama, will continue to borrow from China—but not to keep Big Bird in business. Rather, he is likely to sustain the futile fiasco in Afghanistan, beyond 2014. Obama, who has already doubled down in that country, may well choose to do the same, depending how the political winds blow.

From behind familiar parapets, the neoconservatives at the Washington Post are egging Mitt Romney on to heights of depravity which Obama, in their book, has failed to obtain. Unhappy with the lack of “‘tangible new steps’ to pressure Iran, overthrow Bashar Assad and support [so-called] Arab secularists, the Post’s doleful conclusion: ‘In all, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr. Romney, like Mr. Obama, is avoiding the embrace of a more robust Mideast policy out of fear of offending voters weary of international conflict or of dividing his own advisors.'”

This president is perceived in the Middle East as hawk. Yet the WaPo would like to see him replaced by a vulture militarist.

On rare occasions, Rachel Maddow surprises with a streak of independence. In a recent televised monologue, the MSNBC anchor begged Mitt Romney to say something meaningful—anything at all—about US foreign policy. And, in particular, about the sitting president’s worldwide drone assassination program, which she, like any decent human being, abhors.

Staring as she did into the Romney foreign-policy abyss, Maddow demolished the challenger—and by extension, the man in office—for going AWOL. On this front, and thanks in no small part to a lack of “leadership,” Americans were morally adrift, unmoored.

From Maddow’s impassioned plea, I gather that were Mitt Romney to flesh out the details of an Old-Right, anti-interventionist position, exposing the immorality of Obama’s adventurism and infringements abroad, he’d earn her respect—and, if not her vote, that of many on the left, stateside. I suspect that independents as well as tons of rightists secretly feel the same.

Having turned the political flip-flop into an art form, Romney should try to elevate it in the cause of a principle, and do an about-face on foreign policy.

October 12

CATEGORIES: Barack Obama, Democrats, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Neoconservatism, Political Philosophy, Republicans, War