October 9 2012

The Left Predictably Outraged and Confused by Romney’s Reagan Moment

Julie Gunlock

Yesterday, Mitt Romney delivered an important foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute.  It was tough, specific and redolent of Reagan.  Romney laid out specific areas where he differs from Obama and offered a clear path toward peace and stability through American leadership.

Predictably, Obama’s campaign hacks are out in force this morning criticizing Romney. Former Sectetary of State Madeleine Albright has been particularly annoying, trotting out her old anti-McCain talking points to smack Romney when it’s clear she neither heard nor read the transcript of Romney’s speech. 

Albright broadly states that the speech left her “confused” (this from a woman who drank champagne in Pyongyang with mass murderer Kim Jong Il; clearly she's often confused) on a number of issues, including whether Romney would arm the rebels in Syria. In her typical smug style, she said to the LA Times that Romney is “unclear where he is on Syria.”

Yes, well Syria is a very complicated issue and those bromides Ms. Albright is tossing around about lack of specifics on Syria might work on folks who didn’t actually hear the speech or read the transcript but I did and as usual, Ms. Albright’s confusion is due to one of two things: either she’s going deaf or she can’t find her reading glasses. 

About Syria, Romney was crystal clear, saying:

In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them.  We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines.  It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.

So, supply the rebels with arms to defeat Assad and support Syrians who are working to defeat the Assad-supporting Iran.  Yup…that’s totally confusing.  But then, Albright goes for the teen demographic, criticizing Romney in what can only be called “valley girl” style, saying “Romney has rolled out a lot of “rhetoric and things.”

Yeah, well, I have a problem with Obama because he’s a pacifist and an apologist, ‘n things. So there!

Returning to the land of the adults, Albright added that Romney doesn’t know “what the role of the U.S. is in the 21st century.” Except that he kinda does. Romney v-e-r-y  c-l-e-a-r-l-y lays out his vision:

There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region. It is broadly felt by America’s friends and allies in other parts of the world as well— in Europe, where Putin’s Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies, and where our oldest allies have been told we are “pivoting” away from them … in Asia and across the Pacific, where China’s recent assertiveness is sending chills through the region … and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security. But in all of these places, just as in the Middle East, the question is asked: “Where does America stand?”

I know many Americans are asking a different question: “Why us?” I know many Americans are asking whether our country today—with our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war—is still capable of leading.

I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us. America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America’s great influence—wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively—to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better—not perfect, but better.

Our friends and allies across the globe do not want less American leadership. They want more—more of our moral support, more of our security cooperation, more of our trade, and more of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind. So many people still have faith in America. We must show them that we still have faith in ourselves—that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power, and to lead the course of human events.

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms to toss around on Romney’s vision. It’s clear he sees a greater military role for American around the world. It’s clear he sees America as the world’s police force. There’s a lot to say about this; legitimate arguments to be made about this course for America. But saying Romney is confusing or lack’s clarity of vision simply isn’t a legitimate form of criticism.

But since Albright brought up foreign policy positions that are confusing, let’s talk about the President’s “vision” and utterly bizarre comments on Iran. The allegiance to the statement that “the sanctions are working,” is getting annoying.  Toward what goal are these sanctions working?  What is the point of these sanctions?  Are the sanctions supposed to end Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon? If so, they’ve failed; reports now put Iran four months away.  If however, sanctions are supposed to make life so miserable for the general population that they rise up in revolution and demand the government act as a responsible member of the international community and end the drive for mass murdering weapons, then those sanctions did work…in 2009.  And what was Obama’s response to the ’09 Green Revolution in Iran?  Silence. Romney discusses Obama’s weakness, saying:

Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability.  It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us.  And it has never acted less deterred by America, as was made clear last year when Iranian agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in our nation’s capital.  And yet, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out, “Are you with us, or are you with them?”—the American President was silent.

Across the greater Middle East, as the joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces, and growing economies, and developing democratic institutions, the President has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need.

Yet the refrain from the Obama Administration is to continue sanctions while failing to support our allies in the region. Romney envisions a dark world absent American leadership:

I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us. America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America’s great influence—wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively—to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better—not perfect, but better.

This dire prediction was echoed by Laura Logan, the CBS 60 Minutes correspondent who was sexually assaulted in Egypt while covering the “Arab Spring” uprising in 2011.  During a speech in Chicago last week, Logan shocked the other media types in the audience by revealing what no one in the mainstream media wants to talk about.  She aired their dirty laundry, saying “There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years. It is driven in part by Taliban apologists, who claim they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban.  It’s such nonsense!”

Covering the Logan speech, Chicago Sun Times reporter Laura Washington admitted that “As a journalist, I was queasy. Reporters should tell the story, not be the story. As an American, I was frightened.”  We should all be frightened. Washington quotes Logan as saying:

Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.

“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .”

Many of IWF’s followers might disagree with Romney’s clear interventionist approach to foreign policy and that’s a debate worth having.  But at least we have a clear vision with Romney, not the learn-as-you-go, on the job training vision of our current President.

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