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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Romney's Weak Foreign Policy Credentials?

One knock on Governor Romney as a potential "Leader of the Free World" is his apparently thin record on foreign policy (another source claiming the same thing and another one). The link above shows how he's been "working on it" lately.

Most Governors will always get this critique when going up against Senators in elections for POTUS.

Here are a few sources about Romney's. This Boston Globe article reviews his meetings in Boston with many world leaders.

However, Gov. Romney does have significant international experience. How well this translates into good foreign policy is obviously a matter of debate. Consider the following:

He lived in France for 2 1/2 years continuously as a missionary from age 19-21. Having done similar missionary work myself in Brazil, I can attest that this does help open one's eyes to the fact that the world is more than our country, that great and evil people live in every land, and that we are all brothers of the "human race."

He was CEO of an international company (Bain Capital).

His involvment with the Olympics has obvious international experience. Besides the SLC games, he has since been to Athens in 2004 and Turino earlier this year where he was involved in IOC events and even received an award for his work with the SLOC.

He's travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo recently (obvious moves to bolster his credibility on the GWOT and foreign policy in general in preparation for his candidacy)

He's in tight with Gov. Leavitt from Utah who is somewhat of an expert on Chinese foreign policy.

Mort Kondracke seems to think that Romney has great potential as far as foreign policy goes (and most policies in general)

In his 1994 campaign vs Kennedy for the Senate seat Foreign Policy was brought up (Take this for what it's worth since it's from a piece called "Kennedy Should be Re-elected"):
"The contrast between Kennedy and Romney is most clear on foreign policy issues. Kennedy supports the approach used by Bush and Clinton; in other words, a multilateral approach designed to foster global cooperation to bring stability and order to the world scene. Romney has announced that he would not support such a policy, and would scale back U.S. involvement in world affairs to the point where we would only act when U.S. lives, territory, or the economy were at stake."
A lot has changed since 1994 of course, but at least Romney has studied the issues in depth and developed "foreign policy" stances previously.

Also, he's VERY strong on the related issue of Homeland Security and is looking strong on Immigration too.

I don't list these things to say that he's the ultimate "foreign policy master", but I think that some people may be selling him a bit short on this issue. I'd love to hear from others what their opinions of whether a Mormon mission, running the Olympics, and/or running an international company are credible "foreign policy" experiences.

Chime in please.


Miller said...

I think he is very capable in handling foreign policy issues, and he will surely continue to gain international experience before the election.

Romney is a rare talent. I feel great confidence in his abilities when listening to him speak. I will probably get blasted for saying this, but it is that same confidence that Bill Clinton was able to demonstrate in his speeches. In my opinion, Romney and Clinton are very similar in their intelligence, abilities, and oratory eloquence. Governor Romney has explained the need to erase the deficit--something Clinton was managing well before the Bush administration. In fact, Reagan and both Bushes were handled the national debt poorly. They had their individual strengths, but I don't feel like they were very successful.

Clinton was, in my opinion, one of the most effective presidents we have had. Both he and Romney are similarly moderate.

However, you have to draw the line somewhere in comparing the two: values and morals. Clinton's are weaker than Romney's. Therefore, Governor Romney is superior to Bill Clinton. That is really a huge compliment for Romney considering the success of the Clinton administration.

Clinton was great. It's too bad he has the ugly morality blemish that casts a darkness over what was a very successful eight years.

Thank goodness we have someone as gifted and morally straight as Mitt Romney in 2008.

Miller said...

I should conclude, to tie it back in to your topic, that it is because of Romney's prior international experience (that you alluded to) and his many strengths that he will be able to competently handle foreign policy. Governor Romney certainly recognizes that opponents will emphasize an alleged weakness in international affairs, so I would expect him to pursue opportunities in the near future that will better bolster his government-related foreign policy credentials.

Big Jay said...

Jeff, I had an idea. I think Romney supporters should adopt a similar tactic that John Kerry was told to take in the 2004 election. "When he says Saddam, you say Osama." Anytime somebody out in the blogosphere or in the press says 'I won't vote for Mitt because he's Mormon and they are all whacko', Mitt Romney supporters should respond with his track record. "I don't care if he's Mormon, he balanced the budget without raising taxes." Or "Mitt may be accused of being a northeast RINO and isn't in touch with regular voters." Respond with "How many northeast politicians do you know who fly Jet Blue?"

Jeff Fuller said...

Great idea Big Jay. I agree that the religion issue must be diffused . . . it doesn't help Romney one bit when people bite on the bait the anti-Mormon or anti-Romney crowd send out with religious slander. I think the more we bring the subject back to the REAL ISSUES the better it will be for Romney.

Jeff Fuller said...


Not sure how to respond when I'm used to cursing the Clinton name because of the moral decline he helped hasten in our nation. However, I do realize that he had some strong qualities and he sure could connect with the crowds.

Romney does seem to have this too . . . but I prefer to liken it more to Reagan than Clinton, but that's my Red bias.

Great to see the appeal that Romney has to pull some Blues over to the Red side! This is a testament on how strongly he may perform among independant voters.

Thanks for the comments.

Miller said...


Yeah, Reagan did appeal to the people, but didn't it cause concern to witness how frighteningly large the national debt grew under his leadership? Fortunately, Clinton impressively worked miracles to undo the heavy debt accumulated during the Reagan-Bush era.