Monday, October 8, 2012

Romney's Foreign Policy Speech at VMI

Virginia Military Institute resisted integration of African Americans until it had to accept them in 1968, just like the Mormon Church refused to treat African Americans as equals until that policy threatened their tax exemption.  VMI was the last of the US service colleges to admit women.  The school fought inclusion of women all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The college has had a number of outstanding graduates, though, most famous of whom was Gen. George Marshall.

Three months after I was inducted into the US Army, Romney created a scam involving being a missionary to France, to avoid service in the Vietnam War.  While dozens of my friends and tens of thousands of Americans were being maimed and killed in Vietnam, Romney argued with French people he hoped to convert, in favor of the war he avoided so smarmily:
At the Mission Home, he enjoyed far more comfortable accommodations than he previously had elsewhere in the country. When the French expressed opposition to the U.S. role in the Vietnam War, Romney debated them in return, and if the French said to get out of Vietnam and slammed their doors shut then that reinforced Romney's support for it.
Listening to or watching Romney on foreign policy, I often shake my head.  Whenever he tries to say something bold, he frequently shows off the shallowness of his viewpoints.  His summer European-Israeli tour was an unMITTigated disaster.

His foreign policy speech Monday at VMI was well-delivered.  But he said a lot of stupid stuff.  His penchant for swearing to rebuild aspects of the American military in ways the American military branches do not want or need has been noted many places before today, but he revisited that:
The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin.
Most of his speech could have been given by Obama.

His accusation of Obama not being friendly enough to Israel begs the question, "How fucking friendly does one need to be?"  Obama's administration has not stopped settlement expansion, has increased military aid to and cooperation with the IDF, and has vetoed every UN measure that might have benefitted the Palestinians, just as he was ordered to.

Michael Cohen, writing for The Guardian today, summed up how little light there was between the speech Romney gave at VMI, and what Obama's positions are:
I dare you to try and identify any difference between this policy and the policy currently being implemented by President Obama. Aside from perhaps a slightly more punitive approach to sanctions, and a more direct reference to the use of force in the last sentence, the two candidate's approaches are almost completely identical. Monday's entire speech from Romney was like this. 
• On Libya, Romney says he will "support the Libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them" – this is President Obama's strategy. 
• On Egypt, Romney says, "I will use our influence – including clear conditions on our aid – to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel". This is President Obama's current strategy in Egypt. 
• On Afghanistan, Romney says, "I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation". 
Again, this is the same approach taken by President Obama.
Here is the entire speech:

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