Opinion

Monday’s foreign policy debate a great opportunity for Mitt

Photo of Michael S. Smith II
Michael S. Smith II
Co-Founder, Kronos Advisory
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      Michael S. Smith II

      Michael S. Smith II is co-founder and principal of Kronos Advisory, a counter-terrorism advisor to members of the United States Congress, and a senior analyst with Wikistrat. Follow him on Twitter via @MichaelSSmithII.

Hands down, the October 3 presidential debate ended with a “KO” victory for Team Romney. But even after making that splash, Mitt Romney is headed into Monday’s fight with a possible disadvantage. This is the first time in a long time that Democrats are enjoying more confidence in their foreign and defense policy credentials than Republicans. Nevertheless, and despite having less functional experience in this arena than the incumbent, the GOP nominee can easily deliver the Republicans another big win. Here’s a look at how.

If they’re as smart as they now seem, Mitt Romney’s advisers should be looking at this event as an opportunity to do one thing Barack Obama’s news media pals have so far refused to do: Have a frank discussion with the free world about how much less safe we now are with a too-clever-by-half amateur serving as America’s commander-in-chief. This means Mr. Romney’s delivery must be just as detailed in Monday’s performance as it was in his first.

It is imperative that the GOP nominee highlight as many of the frightening results of the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is Obama’s foreign policy doctrine as possible.

He must hammer home the fact that the results of America’s foreign policy pursuits are far more important than Mr. Obama’s intentions. Mitt should also look the president in the eye and say: It’s time for you to man up, and accept responsibility for your actions.

Today, no areas of the world are as ripe with the fruits of Obama’s dangerous foreign policy experiments as the Middle East, North Africa, and Persia. There we see the security of a top U.S. ally jeopardized in a most shameful way vis-à-vis the White House’s sheepishness in the face of Iran’s nuclear agenda. But perhaps more important to voters, we also see our own security imperiled by policies that are empowering radical Islamists to advance their anti-American agendas like never before.

Moreover, the terrorist attacks in Libya on 9/11/12 are a tragic sign that al Qaida — due in no small part to the support its senior leaders receive from Iran — is on the rebound. And policy vacuums in Washington are now proving just as helpful to terrorists as leadership vacuums did during the Arab Spring.

Unless we get off the road Mr. Obama sent us rolling down in 2009, things are going to get a lot bumpier — before they get even worse, and then go nuclear.

Beginning with his unwillingness to leverage Iran’s Green Revolution to inject positive change into the Middle East, in 2009 President Obama began to engineer a void of American leadership on the global stage. This, and analysts have long asserted regime change may be the only way to disrupt Iran’s role as a top sponsor of Islamic terrorism, al Qaida’s global jihad in particular. Since then, and despite claiming to be at war with al Qaida and concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons into the hands of terrorists, Barack Obama’s efforts to curb Iranian aggression have been anything but bold. Plus he’s been happy to issue “waivers” to countries unwilling to comply with U.S.-led sanctioning efforts.

Last year, President Obama’s foreign policy pursuits became most peculiar when he endorsed the ouster of a longtime U.S. ally, and a key partner in the war he claims to be waging against al Qaida, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Today, Egypt’s new president is making his country a haven for previously jailed or wanted top terror leaders. Among them are high-profile members of a group al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri helmed before merging it with al Qaida just before 9/11, along with leaders of the outfit once led by the Blind Sheikh. In response, the Obama administration has done nothing — aside from welcoming one such jihadi into the White House.