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Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Romney to Travel to Asia"---Romney's Not "Weak" on Foreign Policy

Romney's heading to Asia after his stint in Miami for the RGA conference.

Japan, Korea, and China are on the itinerary. Looks like a good mix of political, economic, and education-related events.

Part of the article is quoted below:

``This is an opportunity for Governor Romney to learn more about an important region of the world,'' said Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney. Fehrnstrom added that the governor, who will meet with Asia-based representatives of Massachusetts companies, was also hoping his trip will promote ``cultural, educational, and commercial exchanges'' with the state.

The trip is being paid for by Romney, not the commonwealth, Fehrnstrom said. Traveling with Romney will be Bob White, a close friend of the governor's from Bain Capital who's been instrumental in raising money for Romney's political career, and Mitchell B. Reiss, a former director of policy planning for the US State Department who is now a vice provost at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

On Sunday, Romney will leave from Miami, where he has been leading the annual conference of the Republican Governors Association this week, and fly to Tokyo, where he will meet with government officials, a top Japanese journalist, the US ambassador, and members of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Then on Wednesday, Romney flies to Seoul and heads straight to the demilitarized zone upon his arrival. Romney will meet with soldiers from Massachusetts serving in the region, Fehrnstrom said. The governor will also meet with the US ambassador, South Korean officials, and representatives from American businesses.

Romney is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Thursday night, and will spend Friday and part of Saturday meeting with students at a top university, meeting with business representatives, and sight-seeing. He arrives back in the United States later on Saturday, Fehrnstrom said, and plans to be back in Massachusetts the following Monday.

Of course, skeptics and detractors will see this only as a "feeble attempt" to bolster Romney's foreign policy resume (as the Globe writer managed to "fit in there" TWICE in his first three paragraphs).

Personally, I've never bought the argument that Romney is "weak on foreign policy" or even relatively unexperienced. First off, who among his competetion (on either side) has made any executive decisions in international affairs? Giuliani, as a MAYOR, I guess has made some. However, Romney's senatorial competition on both sides of the aisle only get to hear about a lot (breifings)--but they don't make any executive decisions. Some of my arguments on the Romney/foreign policy issue (from over 5 months ago) are detailed here.

Also, in a previous post I also surmised that this would be one of the major criticisms of Romney as things ramp up.

Fit #4: His Foreign Policy qualifications "Stop at the water's edge"
I think Romney will work through this better than some realize. He's showed he can be strong with the Khatami affair last month (denying state protection or VIP teatment.) More importantly, he has considerable experience "beyond the water's edge" prior to becoming governor. He lived outside of the USA for 2.5 straight years. He was CEO of a multi-billion dollar INTERNATIONAL company. Also, his experience running the Salt Lake Olympics in the post- 9/11 world was truly an international acheivment.

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