February 20, 2012

What does Mitt Romney really feel about foreign policy?

Foreign policy has never appeared to have been of much active interest to Mitt Romney, unlike to, say, Rick Santorum, who can wax eloquent on the Ecuadorian Threat. Romney's large list of national security advisers is mostly the same cast of idiots who helped get us into these messes distinguished senior statesmen with years of experience with whom Republican primary voters can rest easy knowing that Romney isn't planning any major changes in the foreign policy mindset that has been such a winner for the GOP in the past.

But how does he really feel? Let's psychoanalyze Mitt using a minimal set of datapoints (or datapoint). The most memorable political event of his young manhood was when he was on Mormon missionary duty in France in 1967 and his Presidential candidate father announced his newfound opposition to the Vietnam War. When asked why he had changed his mind after announcing his support following a four-day visit to South Vietnam in 1965, George Romney replied:
"I just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get when you go over to Vietnam. Not only by the generals but also by the diplomatic corps over there, and they do a very thorough job." 
Romney said that sinbce then he had delved into Vietnamese history and "I have changed my mind inb that particularly I no longer believe that it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression in Southeast Asia and to prevent Chinese Communist domination of Southeast Asia."

Romney Sr. was roasted for various reasons for this comment, but, really, it seems like a pretty good two-fold lesson for a loyal son: watch how you say things, but don't trust the foreign policy establishment. 

But, does anybody have any idea if he drew the second conclusion?

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

US lost the war in Vietnam(and then won the Cold War), and so it's fashionable now to say VW wasn't worth the trouble.

But the thing is Vietnamese-American lobby doesn't amount to much. Many may be offended by an American politician saying, 'yeah, we should have let commies overrun the South early on', but they don't constitute a political force. So, they can be ignored.

But it's a different matter with Jews and Cubans. To win Florida, politicians have to play to Cuban-American anti-communism(as if Cold War is still on). And given Jewish power is THE POWER in America,
no politician--no matter his personal feelings--can say anything but "I'll do anything to make the whole world safe for Jews and Israel."

Kaz said...

'Vietnamese-American lobby'

Haha yeah I'm sure

Gotta get that .001% vote

Michigan primary said...

He is against importation of Vietnamese cars.

Anonymous said...

And he was right! Our pulling out of Vietnam did nothing to strengthen China's strangehold on the region.

I'm going to go to Wal-Mart, buy me some Made in USA goods! Who ELSE would be making them, after our wise decision to pull out of Vietnam so the Chinese could do absolutely nothing of consequence to anyone, ever?

Mercer said...

" Romney isn't planning any major changes in the foreign policy mindset "

He has said on his first day he would charge China with currency manipulation and start sanctions against them. If he did it would be a big change in our foreign policy.

Everything else I have heard him say on foreign policy is empty rhetoric about having a more aggressive attitude then Obama.

DaveinHackensack said...

The Defense Department is to the GOP working class today what manufacturing was to it in Reagan's day. I think Romney understands that, and that's the main reason he emphasizes the "strong on defense" plank in his platform. But if you listen closely, he also says he wants the US military to be so strong that no one would risk challenging it. Which suggests to me that he'd take a page from Reagan post-Lebanon: lots of military spending, but avoiding committing troops anywhere where they could suffer heavy casualties. Romney seems more interested in domestic issues, such as getting the debt under control, reducing the trade deficit, etc.

Anonymous said...

"I'm going to go to Wal-Mart, buy me some Made in USA goods! Who ELSE would be making them, after our wise decision to pull out of Vietnam so the Chinese could do absolutely nothing of consequence to anyone, ever?"


Remind me again why Africa isn't our biggest trading partner. Oh, yeah, they can't get their act together enough to produce much of anything. We buy from China because they produce. Consumers buy stuff. That is why they are called consumers.

Anonymous said...

I repsectfully disagree. The biggest foreign policy question re: Romney is his relationship with Mexico.
Romney Senior effectively got Mugabe'd out of his family's longtime residence in Mexico. Althought this pre-dates Mitt's birth, these are family legacies which are doubtless relived at dinner table conversations throughout Mitt's youth.
Like it or not, Mexico is our neighbour. How our potential president feels about Mexico is huge and vitaly important. Why he's not been asked about his family legacy is mind-boggling

Steve Sailer said...

Mitt's father and grandfather won a 26-year-long court case against the Mexican government, splitting a $9,000 judgment in 1938. (I'm guessing that the Mexican government settled because of something having to do with the nationalization of the oil industry that year.)

RKU said...

Mercer: He has said on his first day he would charge China with currency manipulation and start sanctions against them. If he did it would be a big change in our foreign policy.

Look, China sends us "cargo" and we send them IOUs. Problem is, China already has plenty of IOUs, and doesn't really need any more. What if they just used their huge existing stash of IOUs to buy the raw materials and other goods they need from around the world, and just stopped sending us all that nice "cargo." If the cargo stopped flowing, WalMart prices would double and I think the American Regime would collapse almost as fast as all those Third World countries kept afloat by foreign aid.

In case you haven't noticed, America doesn't really produce too many tradeable goods these days, except for MBS derivatives, "intellectual property", and Hollywood movies. And I think China could survive using pirated copies of Avatar III.

America "sanctioning" China is a lot like Egypt "sanctioning" America...

Anonymous said...

Romney has changed positions on many issues. I remember seeing Ted Kennedy say "he's pro-choice, he's anti-choice, he's multiple choice". Romney goes with the flow. I've seen commenters here take his anti-amnesty stance seriously. I think they're naive.

Ron Paul and Santorum appear to be sincere on a lot of issues. Romney doesn't. It's hard to imagine him ever being an independent force, pushing policy in some direction. What direction? He's like a local news anchor reading the news, trying to beat his local rivals in the ratings, angling for a network job in New York. Not all men find world affairs interesting.

If he wins this thing, and during his term elite opinion coalesces behind bombing Iran, he'll bomb Iran. If it coalesces behind anti-slavery reparations, he'll do that too. If Mars attacks and manages to monopolize elite opinion, he'll be for feeding our livers to the Martians.

Anonymous said...

America "sanctioning" China is a lot like Egypt "sanctioning" America...

Yeah but "America" isn't just America - it's the UK, Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc. and the 1,000 military bases overseas that all do what America says. It's the whole world except for Russia, China, and Iran (which may get regime changed in the near future and become part of "America").

edgy gurl said...

"If the cargo stopped flowing, WalMart prices would double and I think the American Regime would collapse almost as fast as all those Third World countries kept afloat by foreign aid."

Globalist shill!

The prices have doubled when you consider the planned obsolescence of many items along with the general low quality of the merchandise.

More importantly, we still have the basic manufacturing infrastructure including people who have industry knowledge. In a few more years, we'll be starting from scratch as ignorant of the manufacturing process as a developing world nation that never had an industrial revolution.

Anonymous said...

In a few more years, we'll be starting from scratch as ignorant of the manufacturing process as a developing world nation that never had an industrial revolution.

By then, I don't think the elites will care about or want an industrial base with a diverse and increasingly diverse populace.

They themselves don't need it. They can always afford imports. And they have environmental concerns and don't want a large industrial base (NIMBYism basically). And they don't care about giving Hispanics industrial jobs.

The only thing that would get them to pursue re-industrialization would be serious military threats and challenges, which is probably why they're pursuing hegemony and a global drone infrastructure - so they can avoid having to go to re-industrialization.

DaveinHackensack said...

"I've seen commenters here take his anti-amnesty stance seriously. I think they're naive."

I don't think that's the case. Romney showed some consistency ahead of the Florida primary, sticking with his opposition to amnesty, and he won the Latino vote there regardless (not just the Cubans, if memory serves). Another source for legitimate hope is that Romney is highly numerate, and concerned about the deficit. That suggests he's aware that illegal immigrants tend to consume more in government resources than they pay in taxes, so he'd realize that a liberal immigration policy would be at cross-purposes with his goal of getting the budget under control.

Anonymous said...

The one thing (and I mean the only thing) that I like about Romney is that he, alone among contenders on both sides, actually understands how money works. If a Romney/Ryan ticket could win, we'd still stand a chance of getting out of this mess. (And by the way, was ever a mess this catastrophic so completely unnecessary?)

The problem for me is, here we are, five years and two presidential campaigns in, and I still don't have the tiniest clue about why Mitt Romney, the actual man, personally wants to be president.

Riding around in Air Force One has got to get stale after say three months.

Anonymous said...

"And by the way, was ever a mess this catastrophic so completely unnecessary?"

Same commenter as above, here, just wanted to elaborate a bit on that thought.

Think of it.

It's August 2001, 9/11 hasn't happened yet. The Cold War has been won, peace in the civilized world is largely established, the budget is balanced, welfare is reformed, the massive crime of the early 90s is mainly under control, AIDS has become treatable, the former totalitarian empires are mainly toothless, America has invented the internet, life is good. Sure there was a tech bubble burst, but recessions happen, it's just a part of life, we'll get over it.

So hey, I've got an idea! Let's flood the country with poor and useless illegal invaders, and hand them over our schools and hospitals, and all our social services, so we can't use any of them ourselves! Why, now we have to work twice as hard, to pay for all the goodies we created for ourselves but now can't use, as well as for all the private substitutions we'll need that we actually _can_ use!

Then we'll promise them free houses, no money down! Oh, and anybody else who can't afford a house, you grab one too! Oh, and we had a traumatic attack, but instead of responding intelligently, let's do exactly what our enemies want us to do, and spend all our money and the lives of our young men on pointless wars on the other side of the planet that have nothing to do with solving the problem! Plus, let's invite all our enemies to come move in with us! And let's give all our money to rich hostile elites who hate us! And put ourselves in total irredeemable hock to the only country smart enough, big enough and strong enough to actually defeat us if push came to shove! What could go wrong?

Why didn't we just hang a big sign on the country's front door that said, "America: We Don't Really Want It Any More, Will Give It Away For Free OBO."

So now we're, what, $15 trillion dollars in debt mostly to our sworn enemies, over nothing, and what did we do with the money? Prop up useless state-govt sinecure jobs for incompetent minorities who also, oh yeah that's right I nearly forgot, ALSO HATE US TOO?

It's not like the Space Nazis landed in all our cities and we had to fight to the death to repel them. Of course, all our cities were in fact invaded by aliens, it's just that instead of fighting them, we went into hock to feed their ninos.

Chinese 4-D space historians of the 35th dimension will be extremely puzzled by us. Or at least, why we did what George Bush said.

Anonymous said...

rick s. is such a joke. The man thinks our policy towards Honduras is like 10 times more important than legal immigration (a subject he ignores). I think he's itching for a Weekly Standard endorsment.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul and Santorum appear to be sincere on a lot of issues. Romney doesn't. It's hard to imagine him ever being an independent force, pushing policy in some direction. What direction? He's like a local news anchor reading the news, trying to beat his local rivals in the ratings, angling for a network job in New York. Not all men find world affairs interesting.


If he wins this thing, and during his term elite opinion coalesces behind bombing Iran, he'll bomb Iran. If it coalesces behind anti-slavery reparations, he'll do that too. If Mars attacks and manages to monopolize elite opinion, he'll be for feeding our livers to the Martians.



Granted that Romney can be swayed by opinion - through not by "elite" opinion. I'm just not sure why you see this as a bad thing. It would be a good thing if we had more politicians who saw their job as representing what other people want rather than cramming their own ideas down the electorates throats.

George W Bush was "sincere" on the issue of turning the US into a Latin American country. Obama is "sincere" on the issue of the federal governemnt controlling every aspect of our lives. So what? Ae you going to applaud them for their "sincerity"?

Santorum is even more pro-Israel than Rommney. Not that Romney is remotely anti-Israel, but as you say, Santorm is "sincere" in his pro-Israel postion. He really, really means it.

The thing is that unless some candidate is "sincere" about issues I care about, I'd prefer that they not be sincere at all. And since I don't get the sense that Santorum is sincere about any issues I care about, I don't see him as being superior to Romney.

Anonymous said...

Romney has changed positions on many issues.


Unlike who? Obama? Gingrich? Reagan?

If you crave consistency, politics and politicians are not for you.

Hunsdon said...

It says wonders about the state of American politics that the people who support Romney all play a variation of the "but he can't really mean that" card. Our hopes for Romney are hopes that he's lying to us now, in order to do better later.

hailtoyou said...

"What does Mitt Romney really feel about foreign policy?"

I believe that to understand a person's motivations, one must know something about the person's ancestral-identification. (This is probably particularly true of Mormons, who are legendary for their passion for genealogy.) Not necessarily a man's ancestry per se, but rather the ancestry(ies) with which he identifies, and those ancestries' particular narratives, baggage, historical grievances, whatever.

Mitt Romney's ancestry is:

40.6% England — Mostly Northwest England, partly W.Midlands.
18.8% Scotland
28.1% Colonial-Yankee
12.5% North-German

...among his ancestors, we find many intriguing stories. One was that his father was born on a Mormon colony in Mexico, but was expelled while still a boy. That was century ago this year.

In other words, Romney probably rejects, implicitly, the PC line that Whites Are Evil -- which on some level animates a lot of foreign and domestic policy these days. His own father was the victim of Antiwhite Rage.

Anonymous said...

The problem for me is, here we are, five years and two presidential campaigns in, and I still don't have the tiniest clue about why Mitt Romney, the actual man, personally wants to be president.


What an odd thing to say. Why do you think that e.g. Newt Gingrich wants to be President? Why do you think Obama wanted to be President?

Mr. Anon said...

Given that George Romney was born in Mexico, what possessed him to think that he could run for President - he most clearly was not a "natural born" citizen.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

What an odd thing to say. Why do you think that e.g. Newt Gingrich wants to be President? Why do you think Obama wanted to be President?"

Quite so. Most people who run for the office just want to be President, because they're shameless egotists and careerists. Likewise, Romney wants to be President, perhaps because it's the biggest job there is. Also perhaps in order to be the first mormon President - because it will bring respectability and acceptance to his religion, which may serve as a recruiting tool for them.

Anonymous said...

It says wonders about the state of American politics that the people who support Romney all play a variation of the "but he can't really mean that" card. Our hopes for Romney are hopes that he's lying to us now, in order to do better later.


Huh?

What is if that you you think we have to hope "that he is lying to us now" about? What is it he says that you think we have to hope that "he can't really mean that"?

Reading you comnent conjures up an image of a candidate running hard to the left, as McCain did in 2008. But Romney ran to the right in 2008 and in 2012.

Propeller Island said...

"Problem is, China already has plenty of IOUs, and doesn't really need any more. What if they just used their huge existing stash of IOUs to buy the raw materials and other goods they need from around the world, and just stopped sending us all that nice "cargo.""

Huh? What do you think China had been doing lately? Have you noticed what happened in the last few years to the prices of oil, gold, steel, and so on, even concrete? This is to a large degree due to China's buying spree. Chine is buying as much of that as it wants and it would be extremely stupid to buy more concrete than you absolutely need.

"In case you haven't noticed, America doesn't really produce too many tradeable goods these days, except for MBS derivatives, "intellectual property", and Hollywood movies."

In reality, America's manufacturing sector is larger than the whole of China's economy; but the kind of things America makes are not normally sold at Walmart, so you are not aware of them.

Anonymous said...

"He has said on his first day he would charge China with currency manipulation and start sanctions against them. If he did it would be a big change in our foreign policy."

This is good. Will he do something about the Jewish manipulation of the Fed, media, foreign policy, etc?

Chinese are cruel buggers but can we afford the American Way without cheap exploited Chinese labor? Sure, many US jobs were shipped to China, but the fact is Americans want more loans, more government spending, more everything. All the goodies that people demand cannot be made available based on traditional American-standard labor costs. The government needed to print more money to have more money to spend on everyone. What does printing massive amounts of money do? It causes inflation. How to keep inflation down? Find slave laborers to work for a pittance so we can have access to cheap goods(china) and cheap services(India). And if China accumulates trade surpluses, borrow their money and spend it more on our excessive demands for goods, services, loans, etc. And since Chinese economy is dependent on US market, Chinese have no choice but to keep lending us more money. And when all goes bust and we can't pay back anything, we blame it all on the Chinese, find reasons to break ties, and write off all our debts to China. It's so easy. All we have to do is say, 'Look at Chinese human right abuses in Tibet!!! We can no longer do business with such a cruel nation, so unless China frees Tibet, we won't repay our loans.' Of course, China will not let go of Tibet, and that gives us a moral cover to renege on our debts. Chinese think they are smart, but they are really dumb. Jews are taking them for a ride, just as Jews took Muslims and Wasps for a ride.

Paul Craig Roberts got it mostly right.

David said...

>I'm going to go to Wal-Mart, buy me some Made in USA goods! Who ELSE would be making them, after our wise decision to pull out of Vietnam so the Chinese could do absolutely nothing of consequence to anyone<[sarcasm]

Good gosh. Are you saying that America was in Indochina wiping out untold numbers of natives for the simple purpose of preserving America's hegemony in global markets? What are yer, a Chomskyite?

Anonymous said...

For the first time in 20 years, we have a electable candidate from either party who aggressively opposes illegal immigration.

So let's dismiss him based on some irrelevant details.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 7:28 a.m. said: Huh?

What is if that you you think we have to hope "that he is lying to us now" about? What is it he says that you think we have to hope that "he can't really mean that"?

Hunsdon replied: War with Iran, for one thing.

Whiskey said...

Rick Santorum has identified the enemy. Satan. Who is even now, marching upon America.

Meanwhile, Romney is like Ike. Yes, not a man of massive charisma. Not Obama. Or Clinton. That's a good thing. Romney like Ike is an organizational man who seems to want a strong defense to deter attack.

Don't forget, Ike launched Operation Chrome Dome to have B-52s circling the Arctic with nukes on board to annihilate the Russians on a moments notice. The Cold War "pause" between Korea and Vietnam was maintained by a highly aggressive nuclear stance (and a phony missile gap manufactured by Kennedy). With Romney, you'd get as close to Ike as you could get these days. Technocratic in a good way, a desire for technology driven solutions instead of massive mobilization, strength to deter attack, government by data analysis not cronies and deeply held "feelings." In short about as big a repudiation of the Clinton-Bush-Obama style as you could get. Also of Reagan, and Carter, and LBJ, and Kennedy, and FDR.

Some good and near-great Presidents had the same aristocratic reserve: Washington, Polk, and Coolidge come to mind.

Particularly since we can't roll back the power of the Presidency that Obama created: rule by fiat with Congress irrelevant and useless -- getting a guy like Romney in is critical.

Anonymous said...

"Romney has changed positions on many issues."


"Unlike who? Obama? Gingrich? Reagan? If you crave consistency, politics and politicians are not for you."

All politicians play cat and mouse out of pragmatism, but Romney changed 180 degrees like a chameleon. Obama may be slick and deceitful but liberals at least know he's a liberal who played the 'game' in a Saul Alinksy Rules for Radical way.
With Romney, we really don't know because he changes so fundamentally and then pretends he was the same guy all along. He's a Mormon moron.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Chinese are cruel buggers but can we afford the American Way without cheap exploited Chinese labor? Sure, many US jobs were shipped to China, but the fact is Americans want more loans, more government spending, more everything. All the goodies that people demand cannot be made available based on traditional American-standard labor costs."

If Americans had higher-paying jobs, they wouldn't need as much borrowing and government spending. All that consumer debt and government spending has been used to paper over the stagnation in average incomes due in part to our trade deficit with China.

Cheap Chinese labor hasn't prevented inflation in anything but consumer goods -- we still have had plenty of inflation in health care, rent, gasoline, food, etc.

Anonymous said...

All politicians play cat and mouse out of pragmatism, but Romney changed 180 degrees like a chameleon.


I'm not seeing the distinction there, other than you don't like Romney.


He's a Mormon moron.

Yes, I get it, you don't like him. You just have trouble explaining why.

Anonymous said...

Hunsdon replied: War with Iran, for one thing.


Again, huh? You have convinced yourself that Romney is going to take us to war with Iran? And that Santorum won't?

You're not making a lot of sense here.

Anonymous said...

For the first time in 20 years, we have a electable candidate from either party who aggressively opposes illegal immigration.


Who are you talking about? All candidates technically oppose illegal immigration. Even Bush technically opposed it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the elites will care about or want an industrial base with a diverse and increasingly diverse populace.



I thought we had already figured out that the elite utopians just want to get rid of 99% of the populace. They never criticize China's brutal population control measures. They probably would love to just sterilize us all.

Anonymous said...

"If Americans had higher-paying jobs, they wouldn't need as much borrowing and government spending."

That's true. The problem is not higher wages in America. It's higher spending by US government and vast increase in NGO's that do nothing. To support them, government has to print a lot of money and that raises inflation. After awhile, higher wages and costs cannot be sustained. And so we look to cheaper labor overseas.

Bourbon said...

Mitt Romney feels nothing. Mitt Romney does not feel; he simply exists.

Hunsdon said...

anonydroid at 3:37 said: Again, huh? You have convinced yourself that Romney is going to take us to war with Iran? And that Santorum won't?

You're not making a lot of sense here.

Hunsdon replied: Sir, let me assure you, if I have said a kind word for Rick Santorum it was in a moment of weakness. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney are forcing me to contemplate the hitherto impossible: a vote for the Democratic candidate in the 2012 presidential.

Among Republican candidates, I vastly prefer Ron Paul, while understanding that I am charging at windmills while riding Rocinante.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

The difference between Romney and Gingrich/Santorum, is that when Gingrich/Santorum go on their warmongering-invade Iran-defend Israel spiel, I actually believe them. In this case, Romney's wishy-washiness works to his advantage, as far as I'm concerned. When he goes on a similar spiel, I think there's a chance he isn't really sincere and is just saying what he thinks his base wants to hear. That's enough for him to get my vote.

Anonymous said...

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney are forcing me to contemplate the hitherto impossible: a vote for the Democratic candidate in the 2012 presidential


Who did you vote for in 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, etc? Because if none of Santorum, Gingrich or Romney are preferable to Obama in your eyes, I have a hard time believing that you've ever been anywhere on the right.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid asked: Are you now or have you ever been . . . no, wait.

Who did you vote for in 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, etc? Because if none of Santorum, Gingrich or Romney are preferable to Obama in your eyes, I have a hard time believing that you've ever been anywhere on the right.

Hunsdon replied: Well, sir, if you doubt my rightist credentials, I shall simply shrivel up and die.

2008 sat out, 2004 Bush (reluctantly), 2000 Bush (enthusiastically if misguidedly), 1996 Dole (reluctantly--"bag man of the welfare state" and all that), 1992 Bush pere (with some enthusiasm).

A possible Hunsdon vote for Obama would be based solely on the fact that in his second term Obama would be less likely to initiate a war with Iran, which I regard with horror.

Mr. Anon said...

"Propeller Island said...

In reality, America's manufacturing sector is larger than the whole of China's economy; but the kind of things America makes are not normally sold at Walmart, so you are not aware of them."

And what are those things?

David said...

>For the first time in 20 years, we have a electable candidate from either party who aggressively opposes illegal immigration.<

You shameless tease! Please tell us his name - please!

Anonymous said...

Romney has changed positions on many issues. I remember seeing Ted Kennedy say "he's pro-choice, he's anti-choice, he's multiple choice". Romney goes with the flow. I've seen commenters here take his anti-amnesty stance seriously. I think they're naive.

Every now and again (I know we all know this) take a step back and reflect on what that means.

He refuses to come out and support a measure which, if he was the only candidate to do it, would close to guarantee he won the election. And he wont do it.