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Friday, December 28, 2007
posted by Timotheus | 8:33 PM | permalink
You know, it is okay to not have a lot of foreign policy experience heading into the White House. Ronald Reagan is a good example of just that. But what is required is a candidate who can consume information about the world quickly, master that information, and approach the problems with competence. In addition, surrounding yourself with good people is a must. Romney has the ability to advance our nation's security, mostly because he has tremendous problem solving and management skills.

Huckabee Fails International Relations 101. On the other hand, Huckabee fails international relations 101. What is interesting to see is Huckabee is failing mostly because of his own doing. What happens when a President says the kinds of things Huckabee does? When it comes to foreign policy, Mike Huckabee would have flunked out of even an elementary course.

Now, I am no foreign policy expert. I do have a degree, with honors, from UCLA in political science, with an emphasis in International Relations, but I have no further education or experience. Having given that disclaimer, I want you to consider a speech Romney gave in Israel back in January.

Romney Brings Creative Ideas to International Relations. In this speech, Romney talks about confronting Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. He talks about diplomatic isolation. Indicting Ahmadinejad. De-investing American pension plans of Iranian assets. He talks about creative methods to strengthen economic sanctions and to apply pressure to Iranian leadership.

Romney Understands the Risks Involved. In the speech, Romney also approached another subject of many college day discussions for me: Deterrence.

"[Some people assume] that it's possible to live with a nuclear Iran. That thinking is based on the theory that Iran, once granted the privilege of joining the nuclear club, will be a responsible actor."

"Neither their words nor their records justify that conclusion."

"[Other people believe] in the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War, and they think it will apply to Iran. But for all of the Soviets' deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. This assumption simply cannot be made about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom."

Here, Romney demonstrates a sound and thorough understanding of the problems with deterrence theory as applied to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Deterrence requires some pre-conditions in order to work. Romney aptly points out that there are serious reasons to be concerned about whether those pre-conditions exist in Iran.

Also, consider this exchange between Hugh Hewitt and Mitt Romney some time back:

HH: "Now Governor Romney, China's been pretty helpful with North Korea. They've done some good things. But with Iran, they have not been helpful at all, and now Iran announced yesterday 3,000 more centrifuges towards uranium enrichment. They're on a path towards nukes. And the question I hope gets asked of every presidential candidate is if George Bush comes before the people of the United States in the next two years and says absent military action, Iran is going to go critical and acquire nukes, and therefore, I'm going to take that action. If he made that statement, would you support him in that, Governor Romney?"

MR: "Well, you know, the challenge with threatening a military strike is that that becomes a headline in and of itself. I think America has to maintain the option of military action, any time its interests are threatened. And certainly, having a nuclear weapon in Iran would threaten not only our interests, but the interests of our friends, and would threaten the entire world. It's a setting which would justify military action. The only time one could ever consider such an action is if every other reasonable option had been exercised to keep from having to use that option, and we're a long way from there at this point. You point out, one of the key ways of influencing and putting pressure Iran, and that is through China. China really is the key, both to the nuclear armament of North Korea, as well as to Iran. They're a huge trading partner with both. And China, of course, wants the oil very badly to keep their economy going, and therefore, they don't want to iritate the Iranians. But we're going to have to build our own type of pressure, to make sure that we get from them the kind of support that we need from someone who we want to become more of a friend in the world, and that is by them putting in place very tough restrictions, and supporting our tough acts against the Iranians, our sanctions against the Iranians, as they develop nuclear weaponry."

Romney understands that how we talk about Iran is almost as important as what we do. We want Iran to think we might use military action but we also don't want to be irretractable from that position. You might call this flexible deterrence.

Words are important, ladies and gentlemen. They project American values and resolve into the international arena. Without understanding the issues involved, America is weakened.

Recently, Mike Huckabee, in response to the brutal assasination of Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, expressed “our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.”

What? Our apologies? What did we do wrong Mr. Huckabee?

I wonder what the supporters of Madame Bhutto, the ones who think Pervez Musharaff is behind the murder, would think if President Bush had said something like that? They might use that to argue America is partly responsible for the assasination. Why give them that chance, when you can have a President who understand foreign affairs enough not to say things like that.

Check out more informationa about Romney's foreign policy views on his website. You will see a depth and ability there that is lacking in Huckabee. Frankly, you will see a quality in him that is also missing from McCain. That is, Romney will be Presidential. He won't say, I know more about foreign policy than you and therefore, this is what we are going to do. Romney won't be completely condescending when he has to go before the American people and ask for our support to fight the war on terror. Romney will articulate and explain the best policy options available to America and work hard to implement them the best way possible. In short, Romney aces International relations 101.
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