Written by Bridget Nolan
Although the 2012 Presidential election will focus primarily on the economy—the candidates’ stances on foreign policy are not be ignored. In his second major speech, GOP candidate Mitt Romney spoke on foreign policy Friday, October 11th at The Citadel.
Reminiscent of the days of George W. Bush, Romney’s address asserted:  ”America’s right to unilateral action in the name of our vital national interests”, preemptive measures to deal with emerging threats before they turn into conflicts and a “full deployment of national ballistic missile defense system.”
He began his speech in a hypothetical 2015 world where:
Iran is a nuclear weapon state.
The Taliban is in power in Afghanistan—after the U.S. and NATO withdrew forces from the country.
A failed Pakistan could lead to a nuclear weapon in the hands of an Islamic Jihadist.
Putin is trying to “bludgeon countries of the former Soviet Union into submission.”
But these atrocities are far from likely under “future President Romney” because he has the, in his own words, “overwhelming conviction and passion” to lead. I have no doubt that Romney has overwhelming conviction and passion, but his plan is not one that will increase America’s strength, bolster our economy or lead us to a more peaceful world.
Romney claims that, “If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world.” But in the interim—President Romney would police the world. In his speech, Romney laid out the need for preemptive aircraft carrier task forces along the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Ignoring diplomatic solutions entirely—Romney’s calls for military action are not surprising when his foreign policy team is made up of people who would go to war with Iran. On Afghanistan, Romney would review the transition to turn over control of the war from the US and NATO to the Afghan military. But, as he alluded to in his opening hypothetical world, that might not be such a good idea because the Taliban could take over Afghanistan.
Romney also asserts that he would immediately reverse President Obama’s defense cuts. Romney believes that balancing the budget would weaken the military.
Experts have stated, however, that cutting the inflated U.S. defense budget is necessary if we are to get our fiscal house in order. As Admiral Mike Mullen has reiterated time and time again, the U.S. debt is one of the biggest threats to American national security. There are still further cuts to be made to antiquated programs and outstanding waste in the defense budget. Restoring all the defense cuts that have been made would be reckless in such a time of fiscal austerity. The programs that have been scrapped were not only useless, but known to be failing. Restoring them would be contradictory to Romney’s self-imposed task of rebuilding America’s economy.
Romney’s speech showed us a future of increased military presence all over the world and an even more inflated defense budget. Basically, a third term with George W. Bush… and if you loved the Bush Doctrine, then you will really love the Romney Doctrine.