Noah Millman is right about Romney and foreign policy:
All signs point to Romney being cut from a Republican version of the same cloth [as Clinton]. The global context is different, and therefore the policies would undoubtedly be substantially different as well, but what I’d expect from a Romney Presidency is neither a moderate Eisenhower foreign policy of cautious consolidation of a hegemonic position, nor a radical Bush II foreign policy of imperial dragon-slaying, but a lot of gratuitously alienating bombast around a policy aimed at short-term political considerations and the interests of international finance.
That makes sense. As Noah says later, “There is no evidence that Mitt Romney has given the subject [foreign policy] a second’s serious thought.” That is my impression as well, which is why I continue to be surprised by how frequently he tries to attack Obama on these issues. It’s his obsession with attacking Obama on foreign policy that distinguishes him a bit more from Clinton. It’s true that Clinton criticized the elder Bush for his post-Tiananmen handling of China and later for “coddling” Hussein before Desert Storm, but looking back over the ’92 presidential debates there are remarkably few disagreements between the two major party candidates*. Clinton’s acceptance speech earlier in the year was similarly devoid of significant disagreements.
As we all know, part of what gave Clinton an edge over other Democratic politicians and would-be nominees was that he had the distinction of not having opposed the Gulf War. He was working to neutralize the Democrats’ post-1972 and post-Carter political liabilities on foreign policy by endorsing most of what Bush had done in office. Republicans have the same problem with post-Bush liabilities on foreign policy, but Romney seems intent on reminding the public why it is they soured on the Bush administration and the GOP in the last decade. To that end, he insists on creating differences with the administration where none exists. Romney claims to be most interested in promoting economic revival, but it seems that he can’t go more than a few days without returning to foreign policy arguments to fling charges of appeasement and weakness. He hasn’t given the subject a second’s serious thought, but for some weird reason he can’t stop talking about it. Noah is probably right that Romney would have a Clinton-like foreign policy once in office, but so far he is being very unlike Clinton in the sheer amount of time he devotes to foreign policy criticisms during the campaign.
* It is easy to forget that one of the areas of agreement between Bush and Clinton during the campaign was the refusal to deploy American forces in foreign conflicts. Clinton said during the first debate, “I agree that we cannot commit ground forces to become involved in the quagmire of Bosnia or in the tribal wars of Somalia.” It certainly didn’t turn out that way.