It is not unusual for people to emulate their heroes and attempt to equal or exceed their achievements that are successful. There are problems, though, when a politician strives to imitate a previous politician’s tactics and accomplishments especially if the politician’s agenda turned out to be disastrous. Willard Romney has demonstrated time and again that he intends to equal the accomplishments of George W. Bush in every area and particularly in giving incredibly large tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of the economic health of the nation. However, as catastrophic to the economy and nation’s deficit as giving trillions away to the rich is, Americans should be mortified at Romney’s intent to repeat Bush’s war-mongering that will cost taxpayer dollars, military hardware, and countless lives.
This column has reported for months that Romney is anxious to start a war with Iran and that he persists demeaning the President’s Middle East policies and particularly that President Obama has abandoned Israel. Romney’s close ties to Benjamin Netanyahu are common knowledge, and his delusional belief that his Mormonism qualifies him as a latter-day Jew in latter-day American Israel, although not common knowledge, are driving him to believe Iran must be attacked to preserve Israel and by Romney’s twisted beliefs, America. However, his cult beliefs aside, he is emulating Bush’s “crusade” against Islam and based on his choice of foreign policy advisors, he informs his intention to initiate a “substantial war” with Iran if he wins the presidency. Although Romney avoided ever mentioning Bush throughout the Republican primary, he intends to return to Bush’s America as a unilateral interventionist state despite Americans’ weariness of over ten years of war.
Romney is a foreign policy dolt, and to make up for his lack of experience he assembled a foreign policy team that includes Bush neoconservative advisors that are war-hawks, to the right of Bush, and closely aligned with Israel’s right-wing war-mongers. Romney’s rhetoric during the primary insinuates he will use cowboy diplomacy as a first option, reset President Obama’s foreign policy by refusing to negotiate, return to Reagan-era antagonism towards Russia, and begin an economy-killing military buildup at home. The Washington Monthly called Romney’s proposed foreign policy vision the “more enemies, fewer friends doctrine” that portends a rapid return to the Islamic nation-destroying Bush doctrine President Obama inherited and corrected with diplomacy and measured use of force. A foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, Christopher Preble, said a Romney presidency is “likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were to be elected.”
What Americans should be most alarmed at is Romney’s foreign policy advisors that include eight neoconservatives from the Project for a new American Century (PNAC) who signed a letter urging both the Clinton and Bush administrations to attack Iraq, and John Bolton, the man who “never met a war he didn’t like” who told Israel before the Iraq invasion that Syria, Iran, and North Korea would be the next American targets. Bolton has pushed Israel to drag America into another costly war on Islam, and campaigns for Romney as a proponent of war with Iran. When he endorsed Romney, Bolton said “Mitt Romney will restore our military, repair relations with our closest allies and ensure that no adversary—including Iran—ever questions American resolve,” and Romney responded with “John’s wisdom, clarity and courage are qualities that should typify our foreign policy.” Bolton’s wisdom and courage are non-existent, but he does exhibit the clarity of a warmonger who will never be in harm’s way except when facing questions on why he and his cohorts pushed for a war with Iraq when there was no evidence to remotely suggest Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, a nuclear program, or assisted Al Qaeda in the terror attacks of 9/11. Another Romney advisor and a founder of PNAC, Eliot Cohen, labeled the war on terror “World War IV” and contended after 9/11 that Iraq was an “obvious candidate, having not only helped Al Qaeda, but…developed weapons of mass destruction,” and in 2009 urged President Obama to “actively seek the overthrow of Iran’s government.”
Willard Romney has spent a major portion of his campaign reiterating a PNAC white paper’s contention he first revealed in a speech at the Citadel that President Obama believes “there is nothing unique about the United States” and “issued apologies for America” and other hawkish and prohibitively costly proposals such as increasing the number of Navy warships, placing a defensive missile shield over Europe, stationing two aircraft carriers off the coast of Iran, and increasing the size of the military by 100,000 troops. A senior fellow at the New America Foundation said that Romney’s Citadel speech was “was one of the most inchoate, disorganized, cliché-filled foreign policy speeches that any serious candidate has ever given” demonstrating Romney is following his neocon war council’s recommendations that are Bush’s cowboy diplomacy to the extreme.
Of the 40 members of Romney’s foreign policy team, 70% were instrumental in pushing America into the Iraq war and Cato Institute expert Preble said “I can’t name a single Romney foreign policy adviser who believes the Iraq War was a mistake” despite the mountain of evidence it was a calculated disaster; over two-thirds of Americans believe that invading Iraq was a mistake. Like most of Romney’s foreign policy positions, he chooses to align himself with neoconservative warmongers and Americans who believe so strongly in their distorted vision of American exceptionalism that they share his belief that the United States has divine right to impose its will, death and destruction, and pro-Israel stance on every country in the world including Russia, but particularly Islamic nations. In fact, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post in March, Romney wrote regarding war with Iran that, “Either the ayatollahs will get the message, or they will learn some very painful lessons about the meaning of American resolve.” So, if Willard wants a war with Iran and will increase the size of the military by 100,000 troops, he can prove his resolve by sending his 5 sons as the front line of an invasion force and if he is ill-prepared to do that, he is just another chicken hawk and a coward draft dodger like one of his warmonger heroes Dick Cheney.
America cannot return to George W. Bush’s cowboy diplomacy of bomb first and never negotiate any more than Romney’s version of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Another war and increasing the military budget will decimate the economy to prove that America is exceptional if one believes Romney and his warmonger foreign policy team. He plans to spend at least 4% of GDP on defense that is a 38% increase over President Obama’s budget, and according to Merrill Goozner of the Fiscal Times, “Romney’s proposal to embark on a second straight decade of escalating military spending would be the first time in American history that war preparation and defense spending had increased as a share of overall economic activity for such an extended period,” wrote Merrill Goozner in the Fiscal Times. “When coupled with the 20 percent cut in taxes he promises, it would require shrinking domestic spending to levels not seen since the Great Depression—before programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid began. Such cuts, would likely throw the U.S. economy back into deep recession.” Even Grover Norquist and the Cato Institute urged Congress to make serious Pentagon cuts and it led to a manic pushback from the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute who echo Romney’s belief that drastically increasing defense spending is necessary to keep American exceptional.
It is exceptional lunacy to return to Bush-era warmongering as much as exceeding his tax cuts for the wealthy that together portend a devastating blow to the economy and fragile recovery President Obama has lead with spending on Americans instead of another war. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a candidate emulating a previous politician’s agenda and policies, but Romney’s choice of George W. Bush is remarkable; no, stunning that he would choose the worst president in America’s history who presided over two unnecessary and unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy, and destroyed America’s reputation around the world. However, that is the path Willard envisions for America and not only is he a chicken hawk coward; he will be the undoing of the economy and any goodwill President Obama has fostered from America’s friends and enemies alike. If Romney were not a coward, he would campaign as Bush incarnate and promise voters to exceed Bush’s malfeasance and record of unprovoked war and economic destruction that he promises to repeat if he wins the White House.