" />

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

Brigette Gabriel, an anti-Islamic author and activist, is the founder of the right-wing group ACT! for America.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Frank Gaffney, director of the hardline neoconservative Center for Security Policy, is a longtime advocate of aggressive U.S. foreign policies, bloated military budgets, and confrontation with the Islamic world.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.


Huntsman, the millionaire scion of the Huntsman chemical empire, is a former Utah governor who served as President Obama’s first ambassador to China and was a candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.


Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is one the Senate’s more ardent supporters of militaristic U.S. foreign policies.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

AIPAC has done more than just tolerate the U.S. tilt toward extreme and often xenophobic views. Newly released tax filings show that the country’s biggest pro-Israel group financially contributed to the Center for Security Policy, the think-tank that played a pivotal role in engineering the Trump administration’s efforts to impose a ban on Muslim immigration.


Print Friendly

It would have been hard for Trump to find someone with more extreme positions than David Friedman for U.S. ambassador to Israel.


Print Friendly

Just as the “bogeyman” of the Mexican rapist and drug dealer is used to justify the Wall and mass immigration detention, the specter of Muslim terrorists is being used to validate gutting the refugee program and limiting admission from North Africa, and Southwest and South Asia.


Print Friendly

Although the mainstream media narrative about Trump’s Russia ties has been fairly linear, in reality the situation appears to be anything but.


Print Friendly

Reagan’s military buildup had little justification, though the military was rebuilding after the Vietnam disaster. Today, there is almost no case at all for a defense budget increase as big as the $54 billion that the Trump administration wants.


Print Friendly

The very idea of any U.S. president putting his personal financial interests ahead of the U.S. national interest is sufficient reason for the public to be outraged. That such a conflict of interest may affect real U.S. foreign policy decisions is an outrage.


Print Friendly

The new US administration is continuing a state of war that has existed for 16 years.


RightWeb
share