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.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    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.)

    Think about that for a minute.

  2. sam says:

    I dunno JJ, with Abrams and Kagan aboard, I’m not sure Romney is sailing around on the USS Realist.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Rob in CT: It’s a matter of style, not substance. I take strong exception to Romney position points in the piece, even allowing for political base touching. I’m snarkiest on Twitter, occasionally snarky on the blog, and more straightforward in pieces submitted for publication to an audience that doesn’t know me. For every increment, snark is replaced by analysis.

    @sam: I’m not terribly troubled that he has some neocons on his roster of advisors, any more than I am that Obama has some absurdly staunch humanitarian interventionists. And Cohen and Kagan are actually quite thoughtful representatives of the neocon tradition. But I’d have preferred a Chuck Hagel writing the Foreword to an Eliot Cohen.

  4. ponce says:

    Your opinion of the value/importance of America maintaining a global military presence is probably a function of how well you think our military has performed overseas during the past couple decades.

    I’d say the odds of the world being better off without it are higher than 50/50, especially factoring in the $500 billion or so a year America would save dismantling it.