Even some of us who don’t take our talking points from Rush Limbaugh grumbled a bit about the “apology tour” in Obama’s early weeks. But that’s gone away as he’s settled into office.
The trouble with this is that there never was an apology tour. Obama never offered anything to any other nation that could reasonably be interpreted as an apology. This didn’t “go away” over time–it never existed! The “apology tour” is a complete fabrication. If Romney said this as a throwaway applause line once or twice, we could dismiss it as cheap politicking and no one would care, but this criticism has been at the core of Romney’s foreign policy message for the last two years. It is the main conceit of his campaign book, No Apology, whose foreign policy section is painfully bad. Romney has decided for some reason to put an obvious falsehood at the center of the argument why voters should trust him to set U.S. foreign policy.
Something else Romney said in his speech was more annoying because it could have implications for how Romney would conduct foreign policy:
American strength caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This is at best only partly true, and it is potentially very misleading. It smacks of self-congratulation, but worse than that it perpetuates the myth that it was principally U.S. policies, rather than the efforts of the populations of eastern Europe and the USSR, that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. George Kennan dismissed this idea as nonsense:
The suggestion that any Administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is simply childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.
If Romney thinks otherwise and somehow wins the election, America could face many of the same dangers of overreach and hubris that we faced during the Bush years.