Mitt Romney’s hope of demonstrating expertise and leadership in foreign policy with his recent trip barely got past his gaffes in London.
Many people were laughing over the fact that the Republican presidential nominee could have been so clueless as to diss the British – who were proud to again be in the international spotlight – over their Olympic preparations.
His remarks in an NBC interview had just hit the news when he landed in London. Prime Minister David Cameron didn’t like it one bit. He said, well, you know….this is a big and busy city; operating the Olympics here is not like holding one in “the middle of nowhere.”
That was a a clear reference to Mormon Utah, where Romney had presided over the 2002 Olympics. London’s mayor didn’t think much of the candidate, either, referring to him only as “a guy called Mitt Romney.”
You gotta love those British politicians. Even their conservatives are more civilized and rational than ours. But their tabloids are another matter. One notorious rag there called Romney “Mitt the Twit.”
Romney did his best to smooth things over and then get out of there as soon as possible. Next stop, Israel, where he spared no effort in trying to be as militaristic as possible in regard to Iran.
Prime Minister Netanyahu represents the right-wing forces of Israeli politics, and that was fine with Romney. He was more than willing to demonstrate that he can be as contemptous of the rights of Palestinians as Netanyahu has always been.
The problem is, America now has a clear two-state policy for the Middle East, which was first made official by none other than George W. Bush.
Under Obama, we have not budged one inch from our long-standing friendship with Israel. But we have tried to encourage more respect for the rights of the Palestinians, and to keep Israel on the road to peace and a two-state solution. We’ve been absolutely right to do that.
Would Romney stick to that course? Apparently not, given his hawkish statements. He tried to be even more hawkish on the subject of Iran. One aide, according to a news report, said that Romney had told the Israelis that if they were to attack Iran over the nuclear program, that would be fine with him.
Apparently, this man – no less than the Republican nominee for president – has not thought through the consequences of what a war between Israel and Iran could mean, not just for the region, but for the world.
Going abroad and rattling sabers, especially in the Middle East, should garner no one’s respect, and certainly does not recommend him to be Commander-in-Chief.
What about larger issues of war and peace? We know that the Republican party and the “conservative movement” that has hijacked it is filled with warmongers who would much rather invade than negotiate.
They’ll talk all day about “cutting government spending,” but they leave the Pentagon out of it, even though military spending is a quarter of our national budget.
Surely, over the next few years, the military-industrial complex will be lusting for a new war somewhere, anywhere. Would President Romney stand up to it, as Eisenhower and JFK did, or would he be an enabler of war?
Judging by his statements, he wouldn’t do anything to lead us from the disease of militarism and the ever-increasing Pentagon budgets that go with it.
Obama is not exactly a peacenik, either. But he has ended one war and is in the process of ending another.
Romney’s trip failed to demonstrate why we should turn command of the vast American war machine over to him.