Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a memo today expressing concern about Governor Mitt Romney’s foreign policy chops in which he listed 6 questions Romney must answer in Monday night’s debate. He wrote, “Romney, who once even said ‘a president is not a foreign policy expert,’ appears unprepared to be either.”
Kerry points out that the Romney Ryan ticket is devoid of foreign policy experience, at a time when we need a steady hand. “We live in a complicated world and need a leader who understands that complexity – and who has the right values to keep our country safe, promote our principles overseas, and confront the biggest challenges we face.”
The Senator notes that Governor Romney has failed to present specifics about ending the war in Afghanistan or a policy to go after al-Qaeda. “It is astonishing that Romney has run for president for six years and never once bothered to put forward a plan to end the war in Afghanistan, for example, or to formulate a policy to go after al-Qaeda. Romney, who once even said “a president is not a foreign policy expert,” appears unprepared to be either. It’s even more astonishing that Governor Romney took a foreign policy trip overseas and failed to outline any policy – but managed to insult America’s closest ally.”
Romney has said he would let the generals tell him what we need to do in Afghanistan. This really means that the Bush Cheney Rumsfeld gang in Romney’s foreign policy team and the weapons makers in his “military advisers” group would inform his “policy”. The translation is we would not be leaving Afghanistan.
Romney likes to score points by suggesting that you can’t set a timeline for withdrawal, but this only proves that he has either no knowledge of what it takes to drawdown or no interest in doing it. During our advice and assist drawdown in Iraq, it took us over a year to close down our bases. These things have to be planned. Furthermore, without a drawdown, there’s no motive for the security forces to train to take over and lastly, at least in Iraq, we did not have approval to stay after the deadline.
Senator Kerry highlighted the specifics Americans should be listening for tonight:
“Question #1: How exactly would you finish the job against al-Qaeda, and what would you do differently than the President has done? Remember: Mitt Romney has failed to put forth any sort of policy whatsoever to go after those who continue to plot and train to kill Americans. We all remember he said that it was “not worth
moving heaven and earth” to get the world’s most wanted terrorist, and declared that then Senator Obama’s statements that he would take out al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan were “ill-considered.”
Question #2: How will you end the war in Afghanistan?
Remember: Mitt Romney has failed to say how he would end the longest war in America’s history and bring our troops home.
Question #3: What will you do differently to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? Remember: Governor Romney has failed to say what he would do differently to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
Question #4: After months of reckless bluster on the campaign trial, how will you work with other countries around the world to achieve our national security objectives?
Remember: Governor Romney managed to insult our closest ally in the world during his foreign trip, and he talks like he wants to return us to the go-it-alone policies of the previous administration. This cowboy diplomacy cost us the cooperation we needed from our allies and partners to confront serious threats.
Question #5: How will you get tough on China?
Remember: Mitt Romney’s bluster on getting tough on China has no credibility, and his ideas have been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike as irresponsible and bad for American businesses and workers.
Question #6: What exactly would you have done in Libya?
Remember: Mitt Romney has been all over the map on Libya – he both called for action in Libya and criticized the President for acting. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner, then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters’ questions, then he said the intervention was too aggressive, and then he said the world was a “better place” because the intervention succeeded.
When Muammar Qadhafi threatened to attack and kill his own people, President Obama built and led an international coalition to stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and support the Libyan people as they overthrew a dictator. By working with our NATO allies and Arab partners, the President was able to accomplish this without putting American troops on the ground. What Romney Needs to Answer: After taking so many conflicting positions, what exactly would Romney have done to protect the Libyan people?”
Mitt Romney treats foreign policy like a backseat driving troll — he shows up at the worst moments to heckle and create chaos for political gain, while shouting what’s wrong with what our leaders are doing. He obscures the dialogue of the grown ups and minimizes the work of our military and intelligence communities by suggesting it’s all so simple that he could do what none of them can do — figure out within hours what happened in Libya. In doing so, he insults not only the President, but all of the experts and specialists who know so much more than Romney does about terrorism and combat.
While Romney’s economic record of increasing the debt and slowing job growth in Massachusetts is troubling, his complete lack of interest, let alone experience, in foreign policy is a red alarm of trouble. Senator Kerry, whose experience as the Chairman on the of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gives his opinion weight, wrote that we already have the leader we need in the White House, “We have that steady and strong leader today in President Obama.”
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.