Monday’s foreign policy debate a great opportunity for Mitt
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.
While the president has been hard-pressed to articulate just what America’s priorities were during the Arab Spring, his de facto policy has been to accommodate the political rise of radical Islam.
There should be no doubts about the fact that such a policy as this serves the interests of no one more than Iran’s Supreme Leader and the leaders of al Qaida — psychopaths who dream of an apocalyptic demise for Western influence in the world.
Today, the president’s policies signal America is pleased to watch a proliferation of religious extremism across the Muslim world. Particularly aggressiveness toward the West that’s now being harnessed by Iranian operatives and al Qaida, while being bolstered by the Muslim Brotherhood’s permissiveness to just about anything that challenges U.S. interests, including the Iranian Navy’s use of the Suez Canal.
Furthermore, as talk won’t deter Iran from attaining nuclear weapons — clearly, cyber warfare is but a stalling tactic — Mr. Obama’s impish policies suggest he’s pleased to accommodate the proliferation of nuclear weapons into the hands of blood-thirsty Islamists who are anything but “rational actors.” Namely, Iran’s Supreme Leader and his minions in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, which manages Iran’s relations with al Qaida, Hezbollah, and other terror groups.
Afghanistan and Iraq should be focal points, too. For no one but the radical leaders of Iran, who are now using Iraqi airspace to arm their murderous ally in Syria, and President Obama have benefited from America’s premature withdrawal from Iraq. And the Afghan Taliban, which has buddied up to Iran, is comfortably awaiting the arrival of President Obama’s deadline for troop withdrawals to reclaim ownership of Afghanistan.
Mitt must also note these are not the only places we see a surge of anti-Americanism leftism unchecked by President Obama, whose administration just congratulated dictator Hugo Chavez for his “re-election.” Yet the most glaring example beyond these venues is not in Venezuela, but in Russia.
Vladimir Putin is not our friend. He is a Cold War relic who was programmed by his KGB handlers to do one thing above all else: Hate America.
Republicans are not stuck in a “Cold War mind warp,” as Barack Obama recently put it — but Vladimir Putin absolutely is. And Republicans aren’t the ones who think willful blindness to such realities should be part of the American foreign policy process. But Barack Obama does.
These are but some of the details Mitt Romney should throw down next. China would require its own essay. Meanwhile, Mitt might also be well served to describe the implications of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy failures in these terms: All of us are now packed in a bus that’s speeding down a two-lane highway with no brakes, and a swerving tractor-trailer hauling toxic cargo is heading our way — and fast.
Mitt Romney is America’s last hope for putting sanity back in the driver’s seat of the American foreign policy process. Barack Obama can indeed tout more foreign policy-making experience than the GOP nominee. Yet as we see with so many of the president’s efforts, he has yet to demonstrate any acumen for the job at hand. Killing Osama bin Laden was not an Obama administration policy — it was a decision the president had the pleasure to make after his predecessor’s oft-criticized policies proved successful.
Michael S. Smith II is co-founder and principal of Kronos Advisory, a counter-terrorism adviser to members of the United States Congress, and a senior analyst with Wikistrat. Follow him on Twitter via @MichaelSSmithII.