Romney’s Realism Redux
The key to my understanding of Mitt Romney's foreign policy rollout is the assumption "this is fundamentally a campaign document rather than a governing platform."
Dan Drezner and Daniel Larison each have insightful essays on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy rollout, both of which mention my Atlantic piece “Romney’s Realist Foreign Policy Is a Lot Like Obama’s.”
The key difference between their analysis and mine is that I undertake mine with the assumption “this is fundamentally a campaign document rather than a governing platform.”
Drezner, by contrast, grades it as if it were a submission for a graduate foreign policy course with himself as the target audience. So, for example, he downgrades for the “unadulterated horseshit” of the shibboleth uttering of referencing Obama’s “apology tour” while I dismiss this as “stump speech polemics.” (True story: “unadultered horseshit” was in my original draft as well; I softened it once I decided that I had something worth pitching for outside publication rather than an informal blog post.)
Similarly, Larison is bemused at my conclusion that Romney has articulated a Realist foreign policy, dismissing it as “an indication of how vague and inclusive that term can sometimes be.” But this is because I read around hand-waving about the grave threats to US national security posed by Russia, China, and Iran and instead find comfort in that he proposes to deal with said threats through diplomacy and economic suasion rather than the hard hand of war.
As noted in my essay, I’m somewhat concerned about Romney’s policy prescriptions on China and naval power and his working assumptions on Israel. But I’m genuinely pleased with the sanity of the policy he’s articulated.