The Foreign Policy Debate

Any advice for how Romney should approach it? Predictions? Drinking game ideas?

My advice: don’t dwell too much on the Libya timeline. 

I had this terrible nightmare that Romney got overly fixated on the Libya timeline, using all of his time arguing over it and making little headway. I hope that doesn’t become reality tonight. There is no shortage of things to criticize when it comes to Obama’s foreign policy record. Romney should make his point on Libya when the issue comes up and then move…

  1. Pencilvania
    When Libya is discussed and the President inevitably repeats yet again his brave insistence that the murderers be ‘brought to justice,’ I hope Romney abruptly asks him  ‘And what would be a just sentence for a person who assassinates a US ambassador and 3 US citizens?’  The answer, after the sputtering, might be illuminating.
  2. Devereaux

    I tend to agree with you. I believe pretty much everyone now knows they blew it. Congress will go into all the lurid details, and it is better to slow roast them over this, than try to get a “winner” in the debate.

    I think Romney would be far more presidential if he just dismissed the Libya fiasco as “something any rational person can clearly see was bungled. Let us, instead, speak to actual foreign policy,as practiced by this administration.” Then one can devastate a whole 4 years of goofy behavior, pointing out the weaknesses, the retreats, the illegal wars (Libya – and now attempting Syria) that the administration has dabbled in – all to no avail.

    I am sure that this can be filled out better, but you get the point. Be presidential. Speak to policy objectives, to losses we have sustained, to Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Salafist, Muslim Brotherhood, Chinese insults to our position. Point out all the dictators that now approve of Obama. Get his goat.

  3. Richard
    Pencilvania: When Libya is discussed and the President inevitably repeats yet again his brave insistence that the murderers be ‘brought to justice,’ I hope Romney abruptly asks him  ‘And what would be a just sentence for a person who assassinates a US ambassador and 3 US citizens?’  The answer, after the sputtering, might be illuminating. · 2 minutes ago

    The problem with that the president hasn’t really been bringing people to justice with trials or tribunals or with jail sentences. He has been doing it by firing Hellfire missiles at them from unmanned aerial drones. 

    I know we all are in love with the the-President-is-a-wus-on-foreign-policy meme, but not all his actions reflect that.

    When it comes to the use of drones strikes he is way more aggressive than Bush was. 

  4. Yeah...ok.

    Are the czars included as foreign policy?

  5. Richard Fulmer

    I think that Romney’s theme should be “peace through economic strength.”  The only way we can influence world affairs and face down countries like Iran is if we have a strong military.  And the only way we will have a strong military is if we have a strong economy.  Yes, Osama Bin Laden was killed by Obama’s order, but that order could not have been carried out if we did not have the military might to pull it off. 

    Romney’s policies will lead to a restored economy and a strengthened military.  Obama’s will not.

  6. C-Dub

    Mention Bin Laden FIRST, praise the Seals, Intel, policies from previous admin and commend the President for making the same call that any American in the same position would have made.

  7. David Williamson
    Richard: 

    My advice: don’t dwell too much on the Libya timeline. 

    That was Bill Kristol’s advice on FNS, but I am more in agreement with Roger Simon of PJM, who would like to see Mr Obama resign tonight (only downside with that scenario – Joe Biden).

    The details of Libya keep getting worse – as CinC why didn’t Mr Obama ensure his diplomats had adequate protection before the attack – like some Marines with ammo, for example? Why weren’t F18′s dispatched from Sicily during the attack? Why weren’t Special Forces dispatched during the attack? Instead, it seems that Mr Obama went to bed, without issuing any orders…  W(CoC violation)!

    It would be nice to see Mr Romney asking these questions, and more – we will see.

  8. Gary The Ex-Donk

    Whenever possible, pivot to issues that (while being of foreign policy in nature) relate directly to domestic policy.  In other words, show how a weak foreign policy makes us economically weak – energy policy, trade, huge deficits and the national debt as well as immigration.

    He should point out that dependence on foreign oil, a lack of competitiveness in trade, mortgaging our futures and unsecure borders all make America weaker and more vulnerable.  Point out how it will get worse under Obama and that he can change these conditions for the better not just for ourselves but for future generations (mentioning his 5000 grandchildren might be a wise move here).

  9. Doug Lee

    I’ll make this prediction:  Romney will tie his proposed energy policy to foreign policy in a big way.  He will argue at length that if we are energy independent, we will help stabilize the middle east and the rest of the world.

    Also, if we become energy independent, we will be better able to afford our rather costly national defense apparatus.  It all comes back to money, and oil=money.

  10. Mark Wilson

    I think Romney should mention how Bush worked closely with our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic so that, even in the shadow of a resurgent Russia, they could feel secure enough to cooperate with the United States and host ballistic missile defense assets within their borders.

    And then point out that after the Poles and Czechs flipped Russia the bird by deciding to stand under the US defense umbrella, Obama closed our umbrella and went home, leaving the Poles and Czechs standing in the rain with an angry eastern adversary and no protection.

  11. paulebe

    Mitt should simply ask Obama a single question every time he opens his mouth?

    “Precisely what did you mean when you told Medvedev you would have more flexibility after the election?”

    Every time he evades the answer, he should ask him again, for specifics.  

    Obama cannot answer that question honestly or he’s toast.  What could he possibly say that didn’t sound as lame as their foolish rationale for Bengahzi?

  12. Hydrogia

    That makes sense but risks getting lost in the underbrush and failing to make a clear  preferable distinction.

     Another strategy is to use Libya as the prism through which the dangerous failures of the Obama approach can be exemplified in a simple concise manner.  Think Big and Keep It Simple Stupid    

  13. Shane McGuire

    Drinking game—-take a shot, or have a swig of beer, every time you want to swear at the tv. Once you actually choose swearing over drinking, you need to stop watching the debate and get on NetFlix.

  14. Stuart Creque

    “Gee, Mr. President, you said ‘acts of terror’ in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, but two days later, after you got back from Vegas and the bodies of our murdered public servants got back from Libya, you stood next to Secretary Clinton as she blamed their deaths on the video. Three days after that, you told your UN Ambassador to tell the Sunday news shows that the video caused a spontaneous riot that killed our diplomats. And you yourself told the UN General Assembly that the video was to blame. When did you change your mind about it being a terrorist act? Did you not talk to your foreign policy and security advisors, or even your own press secretary, and tell them what you said in the Rose Garden – or was what you said about ‘acts of terror’ in the Rose Garden completely unrelated to the Benghazi attack? Is your Administration so scatterbrained that it couldn’t even get its story straight for two weeks?”

  15. Patrick in Albuquerque
    Doug Lee: I’ll make this prediction:  Romney will tie his proposed energy policy to foreign policy in a big way.  He will argue at length that if we are energy independent, we will help stabilize the middle east and the rest of the world.

    Also, if we become energy independent, we will be better able to afford our rather costly national defense apparatus.  It all comes back to money, and oil=money. · 57 minutes ago

    I hope you’re right. This is probably the only place where there is substantive difference between the two. (Bowing isn’t substantive in my book.)

    Another thing – the country doesn’t want another war. Romney has to avoid implying that he’s more likely to take us into another war in the ME.

  16. Nyadnar17

    These topics need to be brought up or there is no point in having a foreign policy debate.

    1. Libya

    2. Fast and Furious
    3. China(I don’t know that I agree with Mitt but it needs to be discussed)
    4. Iran, the bomb, and Israel.

    As for Mitt personally, I want to see him hammer home the important of energy independence and its affect on our economy.

  17. Redneck Desi

    For whatever reason, the CIA and the intelligence community is providing cover for Obama in the Benghazi fiasco…so I think the more subtle blasting as suggested by Devereaux makes a lot of sense. Be smooth, be presidential, bring it back to economic strength, have a witty line connecting the nobel peace prize and the arab spring, and say peace through strength about 10 times. Do you think John Bolton, Rob Portman, and Dan Senor have been working Mitt like Mickey did Rocky?

  18. The New Clear Option

    It should be obvious that it’s we are far more likely to find ourselves embroiled in a hot war in the ME if O continues his current policy of shunning Israel, thus signalling the Iranians that it’d be just peachy if they decided to finally make good on all their sabre-rattling about destroying Israel over the years. There is a new Neighborhood Bully, and it’s not Israel.

    Patrick in Albuquerque

    Doug Lee:

    …the country doesn’t want another war. Romney has to avoid implying that he’s more likely to take us into another war in the ME. · 4 minutes ago

  19. Aaron Miller

    I’m not sure either candidate can win on this issue, because it’s full of Catch-22s.

    We have no achieveable, measurable objectives in Afghanistan, so we should pull out immediately. But we can’t advertise when we are leaving or it will embolden our enemies (of course, we have already done this).

    Iran can’t be stopped from developing nuclear weapons without force, but nobody wants another war in the Middle East. And we can’t afford one.

    China is building its navy, but we don’t want another war. And we are not willing to cut our spending, so our debt will continue to fund our enemy.

    Russia does whatever it wants, but we don’t want another war. And we can’t afford one.

    Do you see a pattern?

    Romney’s best bet is to demonstrate knowledge (as Ryan did when he referenced Afghan tribes by name in the VP debate) and demonstrate poise. His stances on the issues are almost irrelevant.

  20. Mark Wilson

    Aaron, the bottom line is that Americans no longer seem to have the stomach for our position as the only superpower in the 21st century.  And Obama plays into that with his “everyone is exceptional” platitudes.

    Maybe the right leader could sway the public back to the side of strength instead of reserved passivity.

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