Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave his much anticipated foreign policy speech today at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA. He began by citing its contributions to the nation both in war and in peace by the students’ “transformation into citizens and warriors and leaders.”
Romney continued, “Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall—the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war. General Marshall once said, ‘The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.’ Those words were true in his time—and they still echo in ours.”
Romney then began in earnest to demolish the president’s foreign policy by raising the issue of Benghazi. “As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do. These are the right questions. And I have come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events—and to share with you, and all Americans, my vision for a freer, more prosperous, and more peaceful world.”
“The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East—a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.”
“The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.”
Lara Logan, CBS correspondent told 60 Minutes in a passionate plea, “that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: ‘You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script. Our enemies are writing the story and there’s no happy ending for us.’”
Romney emphatically said it is the “responsibility of our President to use America’s great power to shape history—not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. Unfortunately, that is exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.”
The world is in the throes of a crisis and this president has grabbed at baubles and glitter, made endless speeches, attended fundraisers and played at least 100 rounds of golf.
Romney said he would support Israel, the nation most obviously at risk if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, and charged that Obama’s poor relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has helped embolden Iran and other adversaries.
“I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security,” Romney said. “The world must never see any daylight between our two nations.”
He closed his speech with optimism, “The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.”
“The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty—and honor—to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.”
Bing West echoes my sentiment about Romney’s speech today: “In summary, Mr. Romney has presented a foreign-policy view akin to that of President Reagan, asserting faith in American leadership—while equating Mr. Obama’s leadership to that of the timid President Jimmy Carter.”