The Romney Rendition

A partisan critique of the President’s foreign policy is not a foreign policy plan. Mitt Romney’s VFW convention stump speech on foreign policy sounded remarkably similar to his stump speech about America’s standing. All fault, no forward. All will, no way. All blame, no shame. His grand strategy sounds like a clarion call for global domination. But he doesn’t practice what he preaches! He is the first major party candidate to express his faith in America by moving his money out of the country. The real question is what does he preach?

What uses of soft power does Romney propose? Where does he stand on the UN call for nations to give 0.07% of GDP to foreign aid? What is his approach to the military and political conflicts that have destablized and disrupted important African states? Does he see the connections between political stablity and gender equality recently outlined in Foreign Policy? What are his views on international agreements on fishing stocks? How will he limit the theft of intellectual property? Does he see AIDS treatment as an arm of American policy?

Will he switch to local purchases of food aid, a model that reduces workers’ risk, stimulates local markets, and broadens food aid’s impact? Will he strengthen ties with Brasil, already a major partner of China? Will he aid in developing Brasil enormous oil find or expand its steel industry, redirecting energy and infrastructure trade to a hermispherical partner? Does he support greater acess to education and greater economic opportunity for the world’s women?

Could Romney rally the world against Iran as the President has done? Will he continue drone strikes? Does he support rendition?

Romney’s policy seems to be a) search for enemies, b) spend billions more on building outmoded traditional defense like battleships and carriers, and c) restore imperialism. For him, global social reform means suppressing the rights of laborers and workers and controlling the results of democratic actions by organizing efforts to undermine self determination.

Romney’s biggest failure, as a candidate and as a leader, is that he doesn’t take responsibility for his own actions, a premise central to trust and success in foreign policy. Perhaps the widely leaked discussions his advisers held Tuesday in Britain reveal his basic principle, a “shared Anglo-Saxon heritage” that Romney is eager to “restore.” Values his advisers say the White House doesn’t fully appreciate or share. This thinly coded appeal to a culture-based, race-based imperialism, a doctrine of Western cultural hegemony thoroughly discredited and globally reputed no doubt showed an appalling ignorance to a nation once a colonial master whose population is now among the world’s most vibrant and diverse.

Perhaps the message was intended for voters in the US. England must feel exploited that Romney, whose grandfather lived in Mexico, would center his approach on questioning the affinity of a President whose grandfather from Kansas fought in WW2 to protect the liberty of England.


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