Thursday, May 17, 2012

Foreign Body

There was a not-insignificant piece in the Sunday NYT about The Rominee and his (lack of coherent) foreign policy. What was particularly newsworthy was the fact that his advisers are getting frustrated. The bullee, it seems, is more concerned about impressing teabaggers with his toughness than listening to voices of experience, or thinking things through:

DURING the Republican primary debates in January, when Mitt Romney was still trying to outmaneuver the challengers who were questioning his conservative bona fides, he made a declaration about Afghanistan that led a faction of his foreign policy advisers to shake their heads in wonderment.

“We should not negotiate with the Taliban,” the former Massachusetts governor declared, just as diplomats dispatched by the president were in Qatar trying to get those negotiations going. “We should defeat the Taliban.” In case anyone missed his meaning, he drove home the point, saying the best strategy was, “We go anywhere they are and we kill them.”

Set aside for the moment that many of Mr. Romney’s supporters and foreign policy advisers argue that after a decade at war, the only option is a political settlement, which means talking to some elements of the Taliban. ...


It was just one example of what Mr. Romney’s advisers call a perplexing pattern: Dozens of subtle position papers flow through the candidate’s policy shop and yet seem to have little influence on Mr. Romney’s hawkish-sounding pronouncements, on everything from war to nuclear proliferation to the trade-offs in dealing with China. In the Afghanistan case, “none of us could quite figure out what he was advocating,” one of Mr. Romney’s advisers said.


BUT when pressed on how, exactly, his strategy would differ from Mr. Obama’s, Mr. Romney had a hard time responding. The economic sanctions Mr. Obama has imposed have been far more crippling to the Iranian economy than anything President Bush did between the public revelation of Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2003 and the end of Mr. Bush’s term in early 2009. Covert action has been stepped up, too...


More complicated for Mr. Romney, given his business credentials, is his position on China. He argues for more arms to Taiwan and much tougher use of trade sanctions to respond to China’s currency and market manipulations.

In the past, such actions have frozen Chinese cooperation with the United States, but, the white paper insists, “Romney will work to persuade China to commit to North Korea’s disarmament,” as if the last three presidents have not.

Such trade-offs are, of course, a bit too subtle for any presidential campaign. Yet so far this year Mr. Romney has spent little time on foreign policy, understandable given the length of the primary battles. The Romney strategy for now may simply be to portray Mr. Obama as a weak apologizer and figure out the details later.

Okay. I admit it. I don't like the guy. I think he's a faker, a panderer, a liar, an Easter bunny with a hollow center. He knows he wants to become president, and he'll do and say anything to get there. But he hasn't given a moment's thought about how to be president, if he makes it. Absent any beliefs held strongly enough to stick with, and having lied his way into untenable positions, he'll defer to the people that he wants most to impress; and, like any bully, it'll be the bigger bullies. John Bolton. Rush Limbaugh. Grover Norquist. And that should scare the shit out of everyone.


Anonymous said...

Dr. S: I agree with your assessment of Mitt Romney--but is he any worse than George Bush II as it pertains to knowing how to be president? George Bush didn't have a job til he was 40 and then it was (I think) owning a baseball team. Do you think he got into Yale on his grades or personal merit. Come on--these super wealthy, born-to-privilege guys (include Romney, JFK exclude Obama,Clinton, even Ronald Reagan) have no clue about "real life" issues facing 99% of the electorate. Maybe having that insight is what David Brooks is referring to as Obama's leadership style or "manners". He (Obama)brings a very unique perspective to the office and while he has made some mistakes I would choose him over an elitist, out-of-touch, disingenuous goof any day.

Anonymous said...

Republicans run on the premise that government doesn't work and, when elected, proceed to prove it.
The goal is to dismantle any impediment to our corporate overlords and any popular social welfare program while they're at it. Any discussion of public policy quickly devolves into vapid platitudes and per-digested talking points. There's a whole industry devoted to their manufacture.

That's why we can't have nice things. Serious discussions about real problems aren't even possible anymore, thanks to corporate media. Thanks, Rupert!

As to your arresting graphic, lemmee guess. The patient slipped and happened to sit on the bottle, right?


Anonymous said...

Of course he knows how to be President. The Republican version, anyway. Govern incompetently, blame government, then proceed to dismantle the parts that don't benefit our corporate overlords.

And, unless I miss my guess, the guy in the radiograph sat down on it "accidentally". General surgeons hear all sorts of stories, I'll bet.


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