Home/Daniel Larison/Obviously, Romney’s Foreign Policy Is Nothing Like Kissinger’s

Obviously, Romney’s Foreign Policy Is Nothing Like Kissinger’s

Charles Moore makes an outlandish claim about Mitt Romney:

He does value alliances, especially the US/British relationship; he does maintain the simple belief, often mocked but always true, that America needs a bridge to Europe (and vice versa) and gets it best from Britain. His foreign policy is classic conservative – more Henry Kissinger than George W Bush [bold mine-DL].

That last part would be news to Romney and his foreign policy team. Regardless of what sort of foreign policy one favors, it is ludicrous to think that Romney’s policy views are closer to Kissinger than Bush. Romney mocks diplomatic engagement with any and all authoritarian regimes as appeasement. Kissinger worked on realizing the opening to China, and he clearly had no objections to cooperating with various authoritarian regimes all over the world. Romney loathes the “reset,” so one can only imagine how low his opinion of detente with the Soviets would be. The point here certainly isn’t to hold up Kissinger as the model that Romney ought to follow in everything, but simply to emphasize how incredibly far apart Romney’s foreign policy is from the one associated with Kissinger in the Nixon (and Ford) years. On almost every foreign policy issue, Romney berates Obama for being too much of a realist.

Romney’s positions aren’t just significantly different from Kissinger’s views back then. Romney’s position on China policy is diametrically opposed to the one Kissinger has articulated in his book On China, and one of Romney’s advisers is Aaron Friedberg, whose preferred U.S. policy towards China could scarcely be less like Kissinger’s. What makes More’s claim even harder to take is that George W. Bush‘s foreign policy was arguably more Kissingerian than the shambles of a foreign policy that Romney has presented so far during his campaign. That’s what Romney is offering the public: a third Bush term without any of the (very minimal) realism.

It’s interesting that Moore feels obliged to make such an obviously untenable and misleading claim as part of his Romney sales pitch to Telegraph readers. There is no way to make a return to Bushism sound appealing, and there is also no way to deny that Romney’s foreign policy is substantively very similar to Bush’s (except where it is more irresponsible).

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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