In a forceful and succinct speech on Monday at the Virginia Military Institute, Mitt Romney laid out the clear differences between his foreign policy views and those of President Obama. In actuality, he did much more than that. He demonstrated that between the two of them, only he understands the nature of the world we live in. Obama, starting with his apologetic speech in Cairo in 2009, has been guided by the notion that the force of his own personality and his Muslim ties, along with the pulling back of U.S. leadership from the international community would pacify radical Islamists and buy us credit in the streets of the world. This underlying assumption, as much as his fundamental faith in the effects of Keynesian economics, has proven to be tragically flawed.
The Short Extent of Obama’s Foreign Policy
Several months ago I wrote of my frustration that Obama had been given a pass on foreign policy decisions that were weakening us and endangering our country long-term. Everyone, including the Romney campaign, was fixated on the economy. The media had totally bought into the Obama narrative that Obamaâ€™s foreign policy was his â€œstrong suit.â€ Obamaâ€™s domestic policy could be stated in one sentence â€“ â€œGeneral Motors is alive.â€ That â€œ policyâ€ looked downright comprehensive compared to his foreign policy achievements â€“ â€œOsama bin Laden is dead.â€
After Romneyâ€™s speech, those days of collective myopia are now over. The attacks in Egypt and Libya on this yearâ€™s 9/11 were much like 9/11 ten years ago. While shocking, they were simply another reminder of some things we have known all along.
Romney’s Reality Check On Obama’s Political Agenda
At VMI, Romney clearly set forth those realities. Americans have died and embassies smolder around the Muslim world; 30,000 men, women and children have died in Syria, and Turkey is attacked while the Syrian insurgents beg for arms, and our allies in the region beg for American leadership. While pulling out all stops to keep bloody Assad (the â€œreformerâ€ according to Hillary Clinton) and Hezbollah afloat, Iran uses Iraqi air space to fly in fighters, arms and aid to its murderous allies â€“ air space, by the way, that the U.S. has recently abandoned.
Meanwhile the Administration is busy â€œcreating spaceâ€ between ourselves and Israel, while our closest ally in the region contemplates its chances for survival after Iran develops a nuclear weapon. Within the last couple of days the Israelis shot down an Iranian surveillance drone as it flew over Israel.
With regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, Obamaâ€™s policy has been to either get out immediately or to give our enemies a date certain for our withdrawal in order to fit his political agenda regardless of whether it unnecessarily harms our chances to prevent a Taliban takeover. Do the Obamaites, who spend so much time and resources on things like free contraception for women, have any clue about what the imposition of Sharia law will mean for women and girls in Afghanistan?
Wars Are Avoided By Â Strength And Credibility
Romney makes the one fundamental point that should guide a Presidentâ€™s thinking and therefore his policy: Wars are avoided by strength, and I might add, by the credibility of the country possessing that strength. The demonstration of lack of resolve by the United States of America is extremely dangerous. Our foes have misjudged our lack of resolve before and it has led to enormous bloodshed. Until recently, Democrats and Republicans both have agreed that the world is a much more dangerous place without American leadership. Presidents of both parties, as well as other leaders around the world, understood that and we avoided nuclear war. As Romney said, we are engaged in a struggle between liberty and tyranny. I want a President who understands that.
Lest we forget, there is more at stake here than just the Middle East. A newly aggressive Russia and China are watching all of this play out, as well.
In desperately trying to recover from last weekâ€™s debate fiasco, Obama and his team have now decided, after engaging in months of character assassination, to simply start calling Romney a liar, and in so doing they demean the office of the Presidency in an unprecedented way. I can think of only one thing that is more un-Presidential â€“ a President who does not understand, or refuses to acknowledge, the nature of the world he lives in. Fortunately, we have one candidate for that office who does.
-Â Fred Thompson