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The Obnoxious Foreign Policy Ideas in Romney’s Convention Speech

The GOP nominee has gone out of his way to make sure that relations with Russia will sour if he is elected.

Most of Romney’s acceptance speech seemed dull to me, but I am not part of the audience he was trying to reach. He saved all of his standard obnoxious foreign policy remarks for the very end to make sure that anyone still watching him after 11:00 p.m. Eastern would be put off and irritated. Romney launched into his remarks on foreign policy by saying, “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour.” The apology tour never happened, and Romney’s numerous references to it are all dishonest. I assume that this means that Romney’s promised “jobs tour” will be every bit as real as the “apology tour.” I expect that Romney’s “jobs tour” will produce just as many jobs as there were apologies in the “apology tour.”

The rest of Romney’s claims are just his usual boilerplate. Compared to another inexperienced governor focused on economic issues, Romney spent a bit more time on foreign policy issues, but managed to say even less than Clinton did in 1992. Romney repeats the lie about “abandoning” Poland. There is also the misrepresentation of Obama’s “flexibility” comments, and then there is the absurdity of accusing Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus” by stating longstanding U.S. policy. None of what Romney said was accurate, and even when he was referring to things that did happen he greatly distorted their meaning. Heather Hurlburt had this to say in response to Republican missile defense criticism:

Tonight, we will likely hear again the claim that the Administration “cancelled” a missile defense scheme with Poland and the Czech Republic. This is only true if you define “cancelled” as meaning “substituted a system that might actually work” (Poland) or “agreed not to deploy a system the Czech Parliament had made it clear it was not going to approve.”

One doesn’t need to believe that the new missile defense plan will “work” to recognize that Romney’s charge on Poland in the speech is nonsense. On Russia policy, James Lamond and Bill French add this today:

The party’s standard bearer, Mitt Romney, is creating a relationship with Russia that is adversarial, making it more difficult to work together to address mutual interests – the very point of the “reset.”

The strange thing about the Republican position on Russia is that it doesn’t seem to be aimed at achieving anything in particular. It doesn’t seem to concern Romney and his supporters that working with Russia will become more difficult, because they don’t seem to see anything of value in Russian cooperation. Irking Russia appears to be its own reward. Calling out Putin by name in this speech may get him a few cheers from delegates and some glowing reviews from his stenographers in the media, but it will confirm Putin in his assumption that Americans aren’t to be trusted and should be viewed with suspicion. Romney has gone out of his way to make sure that relations with Russia will sour if he is elected, and I don’t think he or his advisers have thought through what that might mean for the U.S. The same goes for all of the other foreign policy positions the Romney campaign has taken so far.