Tonawanda News

October 9, 2012

LEFFLER: Romney's foreign policy statement is frightening

By Scott Leffler
The Tonawanda News

— I was just sitting at home the other day thinking to myself, “We don’t have enough wars right now. We should get out there and shake some trees — see if we can’t rile up our enemies.”

OK, no, I wasn’t really thinking that. But apparently Mitt Romney was.

Seeing an opportunity to score points with the people in this country that think we’re supposed to be the master of the rest of the world, Romney delivered what he called a “major” speech on foreign policy on Monday, basically calling the Obama administration weak and suggesting that the real problem we have in America is that we’re not out there enough fighting for freedom in other parts of the world.

Romney suggested Monday that Obama has arbitrarily cut military spending in dangerous ways, giving “the enemy” an opportunity to strike at the heart of America — specifically our American outposts in Muslim-majority countries around the world. Essentially Romney is say that because we don’t spend enough to defend our embassies, our nation may fall.

Ironically, when compared side-by-side, Romney and Obama have almost identical foreign policy plans. And they’re both too confrontational for my liking. Me? I would prefer we take a more neutral stance on the rest of the world’s problems. I’m not a fan of the “military industrial complex” and would prefer that “national defense” actually had something to do with defense and wasn’t a code word for creating “freedom colonies” throughout the Mid-East.

I’ve always found it odd that in the time of the Founding Fathers, we had a secretary of war, but pretty much kept to ourselves, while we now have a secretary of defense while pretty much always playing offense.

We have miniature wars all over the world on an ongoing basis, but we don’t even refer to them as wars. Hell, we we in Vietnam for the better part of two decades and we call that a “police action.”

Ironically, when compared side-by-side, Romney and Obama have almost identical foreign policy plans. And they’re both too confrontational for my liking. Me? I would prefer we take a more neutral stance on the rest of the world’s problems.

My big concern is that Romney is a figure on the world stage. And although his opinion matters very little until the election, to large parts of the rest of the world he is America — or at least half of America. As such, to large parts of the rest of the world, his “major” foreign policy statement served as a shot across the bow that “America is coming to get them.”

I think sabre rattling and tough rhetoric does very little to help us and in fact puts lives at greater risk than cuts to military spending ever could. When that sabre rattling is little more than politicking, that’s downright dangerous and is no better than creating an anti-Muslim movie knowing the effect it would have on the world — and on our place in it.

I’m not saying that Romney isn’t entitled to his freedom of speech. But he should speak carefully.

Scott Leffler doesn't tell you what to do you your house. And asks that you not tell him what to do in his. If you want to know what he does, though, you can follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.