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The Romney Doctrine
September 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM

I'll step back on foreign policy: The president's foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception that he has that his magnetism and his charm and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like Putin, Chávez, and Ahmadinejad. And that they'll find we're such wonderful people that they'll go on with us. And they'll stop doing bad things. And it's an extraordinarily naive perception, and it has led to huge errors in North Korea, in Iraq, obviously in Iran, in Egypt, around the world. My own view is that that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength. Everything I do will be calculated to increasing America's strength. When you stand by your allies, you increase your strength. When you attack your allies, you become weaker. When you stand by your principles, you get stronger. When you have a big military—that's bigger than anyone else's—you're stronger. [Unintelligible.] When you have a strong economy, you build America's strength. For me, everything is about strength and communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. It's speaking softly but carrying a very, very, very big stick. And this president instead speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick. And that is, you know, that's not the right course for a foreign policy. I saw Dr. Kissinger in New York—you're not eating! [Audience laughs.]

Audience member: I'm mesmerized! [unintelligible]

Romney: He's bored to tears. [Audience laughs.] I saw Dr. Kissinger; I said to him, "How are we perceived around the world?" And he said, "One word: VEAK!" [Audience laughs.] We are weak, and that's how this president is perceived, by our friends and, unfortunately, by our foes. And it's no wonder that people like Kim Jong Un, the new leader of North Korea, announces a long-range missile test only a week after he said he wouldn't. Because, it's like, what's this president going to do about it? If you can't act, why, don't threaten. [To another audience member with a question] Please.

Audience member: [Asks about Iraq. (Garbled.)]

Romney: I'm just gonna taste this by the way. I just wanna show you how it's done: You take this in your fork…[Audience laughs.]…you put it in…That's good, that's good. [To audience member]: Please, go ahead.

Audience member: If you get the call as president, and you had hostages…Ronald Reagan was able to make a statement, even before he became, was actually sworn in—

Romney: Yeah—

Audience member: the hostages were released—

Romney: on the day of his inauguration, yeah.

Audience member: So my question is, really, how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?

Romney: Ohhhh. [A few chuckles in audience.] I'm gonna ask you, how do I duplicate that scenario.

Audience member: I think that had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceived Reagan would do something to really get them out. In other words [unintelligible]…and that's why I'm suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of the bomb is something that you would predict and I think that's something that could possibly resonate very well with American Republican voters.

Romney: I appreciate the idea. I can't—one of the other things that's frustrating to me is that at a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions that I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that's—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I'm afraid today if you said, "We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon," they'd go hold on. It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.


Do you think his proposed foreign policy doctrine will work?


  • imamomzilla
    September 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM

     Meh. I don't give much credence to those. They can be easily manipulated and doctored we've seen in recent events.

    Should we assume all the things Obama has said off the record (on hot mics) is his "doctrine"???




    Quoting Clairwil:

    Quoting imamomzilla:

     Doctrine? Was this off-the cuff?

    Where was this taped...the Food Network? WTH

    It was said to his peers in private, and secretly taped.

    As such, it is probably the most honest guide we have to his actual thinking and intentions. because he didn't feel underpressure to hide bits the media might use to scare the electorate with.


  • Carpy
    by Carpy
    September 29, 2012 at 4:08 PM
    On this, I fully agree with Mitt.
  • AdellesMom
    September 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM
    I agree.

    Quoting rccmom:

    From what I have seen and heard of Romney, I do not agree with his foreign policy. Strength is important, but so is diplomacy. We owe it to all our military men and women to try diplomacy first, and do it well and tactfully. As a last resort we use our military. I don't hear enough from Romney to see if he understands diplomacy, and his foreign policy examples so far have not been tactful.
  • jcrew6
    by jcrew6
    September 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM
    Quoting GardenerArtist:

    It's pretty clear that Mitt rules the roost, and Ann rules the rooster.  Therefore, he has to take his aggressions out somewhere, and if he's POTUS, we will be involved in WWIII

    This is the dumbest thing I have read on CM in a few weeks.
  • jcrew6
    by jcrew6
    September 29, 2012 at 6:12 PM
    Quoting imamomzilla:

    Off Mic, words don't align with TelePrompTer speech to Americans people. Why does anyone trust this man?
  • Meadowchik
    September 30, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    I like the way Rompney describes it in the transcript in the OP and the way he is more detailed in his formal plans, see below for excerpts from his fact sheet.

    It's not a one-dimensional "threaten with force" approach as Clairwil characterizes it. 

    Romney speaks of strength in terms of principles and military competence, and along with the bulk of his policies they have multidimensional applications:  for those who can appreciate nuance, standing by principles will help to build and fortify trust.  For those who are not interested in nuance--like for example individuals who demand the criminalisation of blasphemy by a central authority as a means to protect themselves from the thoughts of others--those who do not appreciate nuance will appreciate military strength, or nothing at all.  

    There must be both of those principles in action, along with more comprehensive plans:




    To View Foreign Policy White Paper Please See:

    The Threatening Trends Facing America
    America faces a bewildering array of threats and opportunities.


    • Nations with Rising Ambitions: Powerful countries such as China and Russia are growing in strength and seeking their place in the sun. Their economic success and rising power could contribute significantly to the health of an international system built on economic and political freedom. But it also could help unravel such a system. The authoritarian character of China and Russia already propel those countries to engage in behavior that undermines international security.
    • Radical Islamic Jihadism: Radical Islam poses a multifaceted challenge. It poses a direct terror threat to our homeland and to our allies. Jihadists seek to exploit fragile states across the world as safe havens from which to plan and launch attacks or to tip those nations into theocratic revolutions. In a world in which weapons of mass destruction can fall into the wrong hands, the United States faces a set of national security dilemmas that are as urgent as they are complex.
    • Struggle for the Greater Middle East: The broader Middle East is caught up in profound turmoil. This geostrategically important region—the cradle of the world’s major faiths—holds populations striving to break free from the stasis of authoritarian rule. It holds other populations suffering under the boot of dictatorships and/or locked in sectarian strife. It contains states too weak to police or protect themselves. It is the world’s primary flash point for nuclear proliferation. It poses a constant risk of catastrophic war that could take millions of lives and plunge the world economy into chaos.
    • Failed and Failing States: Failed or failing states, like Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are wracked by poverty, disease, internal strife, refugees, drugs, and crime. They are or can become safe-havens for terrorists, pirates, and other kinds of criminal networks. Their problems regularly spill across borders turning internal problems into regional and even global ones.
    • Rogue Nations: The rogue nations of the world—Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba—are diametrically opposed to American interests and values and they threaten international peace and security in numerous ways, including, as in the case of North Korea and Iran, by seeking nuclear weapons, or by harboring criminal networks, exporting weapons, and sponsoring terrorists. They deny their people the human dignity and well-being offered by economic opportunity and political freedom. They can be the source of intense regional conflict that can spread and endanger the peace of the world.

    Mitt Romney’s Strategy
    The threats we face are complex, but the one unifying thread that forms Mitt Romney’s strategy to address them is this: when America is strong, the world is safer. It is only American power—conceived in the broadest terms—that can provide the foundation for an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the United States and our friends and allies.

    Guiding Principles
    First, a Romney foreign policy will proceed with clarity and resolve. Our friends and allies will not have doubts about where we stand and what we will do to safeguard our interests and theirs. Neither will our rivals, competitors, and adversaries. As the world’s greatest power, the United States will strive to set the international policy agenda, create a predictable economic and security environment that enables other countries to develop policies that are in conformity with our own, and minimize those occasions in which the United States is confronted by instability and surprise.

    Second, a Romney administration will seek to maintain and advance an international system that is congenial to the institutions of open markets, representative government, and respect for human rights. History teaches that nations that share our values will be more reliable U.S. partners and will tend to stand together in pursuit of common security and shared prosperity.

    Third, a Romney administration will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict. Resort to force is always the least desirable option, the costliest in resources and human life. A Romney administration will therefore employ all the tools of statecraft to shape the outcome of threatening situations before they demand military action. Though the use of armed force will never be off the table when the safety of America is at stake, a Romney administration will take a comprehensive approach to America’s security challenges.

    Fourth, a Romney administration will exercise leadership in multilateral organizations and alliances. American leadership lends credibility and breeds faith in the ultimate success of any action, facilitating the participation not only of allies but others who are sitting on the sidelines. American leadership will also focus multilateral institutions like the United Nations on achieving the substantive goals of democracy and human rights enshrined in their charters. While America should work with others to advance our interests and values, America will always reserve the right to act alone to protect our vital interests.


  • rachelrothchild
    September 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    It seemed like he mostly just bumbled, tried to be funny, and then changed the subject, but whatever you say ;)

    Not surprising at all.

    Quoting Clairwil:

    Quoting rachelrothchild:

    What foreign policy doctrine?

    It appears, from the transcript above, to be primarily to rely upon the threat of force, to get people America disagrees with to toe America's line.

  • _Kissy_
    by _Kissy_
    September 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM
    We don't need another cowboy in the white house. Reagan turned alqaeda and Taliban into who they were on 9/11 and gwb gave them the steroids to make them worse. I can only imagine what Romney would do.
  • jcrew6
    by jcrew6
    September 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM
    You FAILED to include Bill Clinton's foreign policy.
    Narrow minded simplicity lacks logic.

    Quoting _Kissy_:

    We don't need another cowboy in the white house. Reagan turned alqaeda and Taliban into who they were on 9/11 and gwb gave them the steroids to make them worse. I can only imagine what Romney would do.

  • Mommy_of_Riley
    September 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM
    I agree with what you say...
    My husband is a Marine and I want a President who tries diplomat before sending my husband off to war.

    Quoting rccmom:

    From what I have seen and heard of Romney, I do not agree with his foreign policy. Strength is important, but so is diplomacy. We owe it to all our military men and women to try diplomacy first, and do it well and tactfully. As a last resort we use our military. I don't hear enough from Romney to see if he understands diplomacy, and his foreign policy examples so far have not been tactful.

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