Before I offer some commentary, let me quote from a few people I respect…
-Robert Spencer [tip of the fedora to Memeorandum]:
Not great, but better: Romney offers something approaching honesty regarding the Islamic jihad against the West — and that’s a commodity we have not seen in a long time.
Mitt Romney gave a generally fine speech today on the Middle East. Sensibly, he criticized the Obama administration for its Benghazi shenanigans, for the “daylight” with Israel, fecklessness vis-à-vis Tehran, and the cuts in military spending. Very justifiably, he called it “time to change course in the Middle East.”
But I worry about three specifics.
First, Romney’s policy ideas echo the rosy-tinted themes of George W. Bush’s failed policies in the region. Flush with optimism for Afghanistan, Iraq, and “Palestine,” Bush spoke a language that now seems from another world. For example, almost exactly nine years ago he predicted “a free Iraq [that] will be an example of freedom’s power throughout the Middle East.” I espy shades of this otherworldliness in Romney’s pronouncement that the Middle East hosts “a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair,” his goal to build democratic institutions in Egypt, and his dream of “a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security” with Israel. These are slogans, not serious policy.
Second, except in reference to the attack in Benghazi, Romney pointedly avoids mention of Islam, Islamism, or jihad. Rather, he refers to “terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology,” avoiding the real issue and portending problems ahead.
Third, his readiness to jump into the Syrian morass worries me. While one can hardly disagree with Romney’s call to “identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need,” those friendly members of the opposition are, in fact, a bedraggled few. Operationally, Romney is prepared to arm the Turkish-allied Islamists, a long-term prospect even more frightening than the Iranian-allied Assad regime now in power.
In office, I hope that Romney will shake the GWB-era illusions, not repeat them.
And then Bob gives his own take on the speech;
My thoughts on the speech…
-While Willard certainly has a better grasp of the world situation and understands the crucial importance of America exerting it’s just power over it, by this speech he shows that he still believes in the unrealistic notion, first espoused by people like Woodrow Wilson and TR, that the rest of the world shares our values and desires. They don’t.
Most of the Muslim world is barbaric in it’s thinking, adhering as they do to a belief system that has never gotten beyond it’s roots in desert Arab savagery.
-While George Marshall is justly praised for his service before and during WWII, he, except for the Marshal Plan, was a mediocre SecState who lost China and was against recognition of Israel, among many other sins.
-Those in charge of Egypt, and who will soon be in full charge in Libya, are our deadliest foes in the Mohammedin world: The Muslim Brotherhood. The only way you can effectively deal with them is to crush them, for they will never give up their quest for domination. They will never surrender and mean it. We must deal with them as we dealt with the Japanese in WWII. We must wipe them out.
-Mr. Romney said, at one point:
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.
Pure fantastical thinking born of a Wilsonian belief that the ‘Palestinians’ or their puppetmasters will, like magic, change their ways. They won’t as the last sixty-plus years have shown us. If Willard really believes a two-state solution is possible, then he must be dragged into Utopian rehab ASAP.
-All my criticisms aside [and I have more]: at least Mr. Romney grasps some essential truths about the world. So, it is imperative that we vote for him. But we must be prepared to hold his feet to the flame on issues both foreign and domestic.
Exactly so Bob. What we need to do as the sole remaining super power is to lead by strength and let the rest of the world know that what we as Americans have, freedom from tyranny and the liberty to do what we want as long as we don’t infringe on someone else s liberty, is available to everyone. But it is a gift that can’t be given- It must be earned, ala our own revolution that broke us away from the doddering British Empire.
And when we do need to go into another country to stop some foolishness, we need to go in hard, finish the job quickly and let the remaining government of said country know that any further foolishness will lead to more of the same. I call it the B-52 Doctrine;