Foreign policy is a difficult issue to follow from the cheap seats. Domestic policy is easier. It still takes work, but you can read up on it, watch a little of the news, apply everything to your own life, and form an opinion. Foreign policy is more difficult, because there’s not only a lot out there you don’t know, I’m sure there’s a lot out there you don’t want to know.
So I cut the President (any President) some slack, even if when I watch the news nothing he seems to be doing makes any sense. If you’re planning on running against the President in a few years, you don’t cut him slack on anything. Such was the case with former Governor and JBdotC fav Mitt Romney speaking to the Foreign Policy Initiative recently.
Here is JBdotC Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos with more…
President Obama’s skepticism about a troop build-up in Afghanistan came under fire on Monday from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican who ran for president in 2008 and is actively laying the groundwork for a second run in 2012. “This is not the time for Hamlet in the White House,” said Romney. “How in the world can he be saying at this stage the things that he is saying?”
Romney’s remarks were made to the conservative Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington, D.C., as part of a conversation with Dan Senor who sits on the organization’s board. After invoking the skepticism expressed by President Obama when he appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” Senor asked Romney: “What’s wrong with that? Why not take time?”
“You, of course, hope a president would be deliberate,” said Romney. The former governor added, however, that he hopes that Obama was thinking about Afghanistan during the campaign and during his first eight months in office. Romney noted that Obama has put his team in place in the region and urged him to heed the advice of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. As first reported in today’s Washington Post, Gen. McChrystal has sent Defense Secrerary Robert Gates a confidential assessment which states that he needs more forces in Afghanistan within the next year and that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure.”
Romney, who believes Obama has converted the US from a champion of freedom to a neutral arbiter between nations, said that the president appears as if he is laying the groundwork for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan. Romney warned that such a pullback would destabilize nuclear-armed Pakistan.
Foreign policy is M-Ro’s somewhat weak point. His economic background is on point, and domestically he can draw on his past experience on Governor. However there’s nothing in the past experience that had him committing troops to Afghanistan. Anyone running for President surrounds himself with cats who have studied all of theses issues (Romney surrounded himself with two of the best during his last run, Dan Senor and Liz Cheney).
The question is whether or not there’s a Republican who has the experience himself. President David Petraeus? I don’t know of anyone else.
UPDATE: Jen Rubin (another JBdotC fav) goes into more detail on Romney’s appearance, and had this to add…
It was in many ways a surprising outing for Romney, demonstrating more depth and verve than many in the room could recall from the campaign. Whether that message resonates outside the room, with the larger conservative community and with elected leaders, remains to be seen. But certainly we will hear more from him in the future.
We can only hope.