The Wall Street Journal reports that the Republican convention will turn to foreign policy today:
In a series of speeches starting with a Romney address Wednesday in Indianapolis, the Republicans will seek to portray the president as feckless and wavering in confronting threats in Syria, Iran, North Korea and China, Romney advisers said.
That’s not surprising, but what will they be saying that will be of any interest to most Americans? One of the recurring themes in the speeches last night was the importance of “American greatness,” but the greatness of America isn’t found in needless conflicts in the Near East or in taking sides in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. More to the point, it serves no U.S. interests for our government to become more entangled in Syria, more belligerent towards Iran, or more involved in disputes between China and its neighbors. We can expect to hear demands for one or more of these today. For the most part, the threats that are mentioned here are not threats to the United States or they are already reasonably well-contained. Any time spent on these issues at the convention today will be time wasted.
Later in the article, Romney’s adviser Richard Williamson struck again:
The Romney camp for months has sought to portray Mr. Obama’s policies place him outside of the bipartisan foreign-policy continuum stretching back to World War II. The campaign has been eager to draw parallels between Mr. Obama and President Jimmy Carter, whose presidency was overshadowed by the U.S. hostages in Iran and the failed attempt the rescue them.
“Romney is in the mainstream of U.S. foreign policy, while the outliers are Carter and Obama,” said Rich Williamson, a former U.S. ambassador under President Ronald Reagan and a Romney foreign-policy adviser.
What is this compulsion that the campaign has to make such obviously silly criticisms? Carter had a very poor foreign policy record, but it wasn’t because he went haring off in a “radical” direction. As disastrous as his tenure was, even George W. Bush was not far outside the “mainstream” as it was defined at the time. When he ordered the invasion of Iraq, he was backed up by many of the “serious” people in the foreign policy “mainstream,” and his policy of regime change in Iraq simply took the bipartisan consensus on Iraq to its logical and very foolish conclusion. That doesn’t excuse Bush’s mistakes and crimes, but it does avoid the now-fashionable pretense that Bush represented a major departure from the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. That is revisionism now being peddled by “centrists” eager to whitewash their support for the greatest foreign policy debacle in a generation. The examples of Carter and Bush might tell us something about the flaws inherent in the bipartisan foreign policy consensus and the “mainstream of U.S. foreign policy.”