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What Romney Needs to Say in His Foreign Policy Speech

At the New York Times, Danielle Pletka writes that Mitt Romney needs to do more than simply criticize President Obama’s mistakes during his foreign policy speech today. He needs to provide an alternative vision, which he’s been reluctant to do so far:

Mr. Romney can make the case that when people fight for their freedom, they will find support — sometimes political, sometimes economic and sometimes military — from the American president. When Russians and Chinese demand accountability from their governments, we can stand with them and work with their governments to further common interests. When terrorists target us, we will not simply eliminate them with drones while ignoring the environment that breeds them. And when our allies look to us for support, we will help them fight for themselves.

Criticisms of Mr. Obama’s national security policies have degenerated into a set of clichés about apologies, Israel, Iran and military spending. To be sure, there is more than a germ of truth in many of these accusations. But these are complaints, not alternatives. Worse yet, they betray the same robotic antipathy that animated Bush-haters. “I will not apologize for America” is no more a clarion call than “let’s nation-build at home.”

Romney has been able to avoid delving seriously into foreign policy for most of the election, but the attack in Benghazi changed that. People will be looking for him to give more than slogans today; he’ll need to present both details and a broader vision. It’s not that we haven’t seen glimmers of this from him in the past. At the Clinton Global Initiative, Romney presented a thoughtful plan on foreign aid, which emphasized democracy and free trade promotion. But obviously Romney will touch on subjects today that are much more contentious than foreign aid.

At the Weekly Standard, Daniel Halper posts some preview excerpts of today’s speech, including some very tough words for the Obama administration on Benghazi:

The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long.  No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.

Romney speaks at 11:20 a.m. EST at the Virginia Military Institute.



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