Some people, including many critics, ask what Mitt Romney would do differently on the foreign policy front if elected President.
The answer is that Mitt Romney would do a lot of things differently.
A President Romney would not appease Putinist Russia, sign unequal treaties obligating only the US to cut its nuclear deterrent, give up missile defense deployment plans for no Russian reciprocation, stand silent about Putin’s human rights violations and intimidation of Russia’s Central European neighbors like Poland, or about Russia’s repeated usage of natural gas as a weapon of intimidation. Nor would he ignore Russia’s diplomatic protection of, and in many cases, supply of weapons to, anti-American regimes in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea. He would build a robust missile defense system in the US and in Europe, and as he has said, on that issue, there will be no “flexibility” with Putin.
A President Romney would not appease Communist China either. He would not ignore China’s massive human rights violations, its massive military buildup, its intimidation of its neighbors in Eastern Asia, its supply of ballistic missile Transporter-Erector-Launchers to North Korea, its diplomatic protection and trade with North Korea, Iran, Syria, and other anti-American regimes, or its intimidation of unarmed American ships, laser attacks on US satellites, and cyber attacks on US computer networks.
He would not deny Taiwan the weapons it needs to defend itself autonomously.
He would label China as a currency manipulator and act decisively to protect American copyrights and patents.
He would also properly resource America’s defense posture in East Asia, instead of pretending to be “pivoting” there while deeply cutting America’s defense.
On the defense front itself, he would not make deep, crippling defense budget and capability cuts, nor would he terminate crucial weapon programs that the military deems necessary. Nor would he make deep cuts in the size of America’s already-overstretched military, and he would boost the currently-inadequate size of the Navy – inadequate according to two independent, non-Republican panels: the QDR Independent Review panel and the CNAS. The US Navy is already unable to supply 41% of Combatant Commanders’ needs. Romney would address this inadequacy by boosting the Navy’s size and finding savings elsewhere to pay for it.
He would enact real reforms of the DOD – something that Obama has failed to do in his almost four years as President. Today, as in January 2009, weapon program costs are rising, the programs are being delayed, requirements are changing like the weather, and the DOD is far too bureaucratized – it has as many bureaucrats as troops and far more admirals (335) than ships (284).
Romney surrounds himself with competent, experienced defense experts such as Jim Talent, John Lehman (President Reagan’s SECNAV and bureaucracy eliminator), and Dov Zakheim. Zakheim was previously the DOD comptroller who, upon taking office in 2001, found that over $2 trillion worth of DOD assets couldn’t be accounted for. By the end of his tenure, he reduced that amount to a few tens of billions of dollars – a lot less than what he inherited from the failed Clinton Administration, which did nothing to reform the DOD, and only gutted the military.
Romney would not use the military as a hostage to a tax hike agenda like Obama is doing (he’s threatening to veto any bill to repeal or defer sequestration unless it contains massive tax hikes). In fact, Romney would not use the military as a hostage or agent for any non-military agenda.
Romney would not appease Iran as it races towards nuclear weapons, and would put the Iranian mullahs on notice that if they don’t give up their nuclear weapon ambitions, there will be serious consequences, and on that issue, a President Romney would stand in unison with Israel, a country that Obama has never visited as President (but he has found the time to visit many Muslim countries and apologize to Muslims for America’s alleged sins).
Romney would treat America’s allies with dignity and respect instead of pulling the rug from under them. He would rebuild America’s alliances with Poland (a country that a previous Democratic President, FDR, sold out at Yalta in 1945), the Czech Republic, Israel, Britain, and others. He would make his first trip as President to Israel, a great ally whom Obama has never visited as President. He would not snub Benjamin Netanyahu, nor would he side with Argentina against Britain over the Falklands and call the islands the Malvinas (the islands were never Argentine, except a short period in the 19th century and an even shorter period in 1982; its residents consider themselves British).
In short, a Romney Administration would rebuild America’s defense, revive the stagnant US economy, and restore America’s alliances with loyal, proven allies, while standing firmly up towards veteran KGB thug Vladimir Putin, the Communist Party of China, the Iranian mullahs, Kim Jong Un, Hugo Chavez, and the Castro brothers. No flexibility, no appeasement, no unilateral concessions. That’s what Ronald Reagan did, and it worked.
So, as we can see, Romney would do a lot of things differently.