" />

Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Romney: A New Prince for the Neocons

Print Friendly

Late last week, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a high-profile address on foreign policy at the Citadel in South Carolina. Shortly before the address, he released an extensive listing of his foreign policy advisors and a white paper discussing his views in greater detail.

 

Although he has been cast by the media as representing a relatively moderate business wing of the Republican Party vis-à-vis his tea party rivals, Romney has revealed himself to be heavily influenced by political factions, like the neoconservatives, who promote fantastical notions about American power and exceptionalism. Romney’s advisors include prominent Iraq war architects and other Bush-era hardliners, including Elliot Cohen, Michael Chertoff, and Dan Senor, as well as leading neocon opinion makers like Robert Kagan. Indeed, as noted by Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service, with Kagan, Senor, and Eric Edelman on board, Romney has netted three of the four board members of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a successor organization to the influential Project for a New American Century—perhaps explaining his speech’s repeated references to the need for the 21st century to be “an American century.” Also listed was Walid Phares, a well-known Islamophobic commentator previously involved with the right-wing Phalanges militia in Lebanon, which committed numerous atrocities against Lebanon’s Palestinians and Muslims during the country’s civil war. Quipped one observer: “It seems unlikely that Romney knew much about this chapter in Phares’ career when he tapped him as an advisor.”

 

On balance, Romney’s declarations have been described as light on detail—limited mostly to his support for an even bigger defense budget and a bigger navy—and heavy on exceptionalist rhetoric, which Lobe says borders on “messianic.” "God did not create this country to be a nation of followers," said Romney. "America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will."

 

Some neoconservative commentators did note the paucity of policy detail. Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, while rating the speech good overall, expressed concerns about Romney’s wishy-washy statements on Afghanistan and said his remarks about Pakistan had “no clarity at all.” Pletka’s AEI colleague Marc Thiessen agreed, calling Romney’s address “very good” but containing “not a word about ‘victory’ or even ‘success’ in Afghanistan.”

 

In general, however, prominent neoconservative writers lauded Romney for his affirmations of exceptionalist rhetoric, contrasting Romney’s approach with that of President Obama or of more isolationist-minded Republicans. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin, for instance, wrote that while “[s]ome on the left will deride Romney’s speech as a rerun of the neoconservatism of the George W. Bush administration,” the speech proved that “belief in a strong foreign policy and a willingness to defend American values and allies is still the mainstream position in the GOP.” Also writing at Commentary, Max Boot called Romney’s statements “a classic ‘peace through strength’ foreign policy broadly in line with the foreign policy of Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.” Similarly, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin praised Romney’s white paper for “devising a roadmap” out of the “weakness and moral confusion that have been the hallmarks of the Obama years.”

 

Of course, asserting America’s greatness is a dubious solution to the sundry U.S. foreign policy quagmires around the world. But with the implosion of Rick Perry’s campaign and widespread popular fatigue for U.S. wars, leading U.S. neocons may feel like they’ve caught a break with Romney. They’ll only have to hope he doesn’t change his mind.

 

—Peter Certo

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and nominated by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Ideas in Action was a rightist TV program co-produced by the George W. Bush Institute and Grace Creek Media that often featured prominent neoconservatives opining on U.S. domestic and foreign policy.


The now-defunct internet magazine Tech Central Station served as a platform for advocates of militarist U.S. foreign policies.


Once described as the “heart and soul of the military-industrial complex,” the American Security Council was an influential old-guard conservative group during the early Cold War that continues to press a conservative U.S. foreign policy vision.


An academic center of the American conservative movement, the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs has been a vigorous defender of the war on terrorism and an unequivocal supporter for Israel.


Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has been a vocal advocate for staunchly militaristic foreign policies.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Two eminent foreign policy analysts, historian Andrew Bacevich of Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies and political scientist John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, discuss fundamental problems with American foreign policy and the Obama legacy, particularly with respect to Israel-Palestine.


Print Friendly

Not only is Monica Crowley, Donald Trump’s pick to head communications for the National Security Council, the subject of a wide-ranging plagiarism scandal, she pushed fringe conspiracy theories about “Islamist infiltration in the U.S.”


Print Friendly

From a territorial perspective the Security Council resolution 2334, stating that Israel′s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law, represents an escalation in the way the international community relates to Israel’s borders and its settlements in the West Bank.


Print Friendly

On Oct. 27, 2016, the UN adopted a resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapon. Two weeks later the US elected Donald Trump, who subsequently argued that the US must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”


Print Friendly

As Trump supporters gear up for a fight to weaken or destroy the Iran nuclear deal, a new poll has found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. public opposes withdrawing from the agreement.


Print Friendly

For all of its faults, the Obama administration was acutely aware of the limits to the use of American military force, whether it was struggling with terrorist organizations or contemplating the impact the use of force would have on achieving U.S. national security objectives.


Print Friendly

A senior Israeli government minister has announced that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement, part of a plan to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank .


RightWeb
share