Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Neocons' Long Game

Romney’s new foreign policy tack was evident on the very first question of the night, in which moderator Bob Schieffer served the issue of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks to him on a plate. Romney chose not to re-boot his fumbled criticism of the Obama administration from the last debate, something his hawkish surrogates and the GOP's Fox News annex have been pushing hard for over the last week. Rather, Romney chose to draw back to a broader view of a region in chaos. His Obama-esque declaration that "We can't kill our way out of this mess," while surely appealing to voters tired of war in the Middle East, was sure to disappoint the neocons, for whom there are few problems in the world that can't be solved through the application of American ordnance.
It wouldn't be the last time Romney echoed the president last night. With regard to the prospect of U.S. military interventions, Romney insisted that "We don’t want another Iraq," even though neocons still proclaim the Iraq war a success (a commanding majority of Americans disagrees). On Iraq itself, though he criticized the failure to achieve a new status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, Romney recoiled from President Obama's suggestion that he didn't support withdrawing American troops. On Syria and Afghanistan, Romney took positions 180 degree opposite what his neoconservative supporters have been advocating, assuring viewers that "I don't want to have our military involved" in the former, and agreeing with President Obama's withdrawal timetable for the latter.

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