Foreign Policy: What is the Romney Vision?

 

We expect all of these topics to be covered tonight but we would have swapped “soft power” for “Syria.” Our guess is that Syria will be in the debate headlines on Tuesday morning.
Romney has already made it a sharp contrast and says “In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets.”

What is the Romney vision? he says “Obama thinks America’s in decline. It is if he’s president. It’s not if I’m president.” In his 2010 memoir No Apology, Romney has a chapter titled “Why Nations Decline.” He says the “improbability of decline by the great has long piqued my interest.”
He goes on to observe that “No great power in history has endured indefinitely.” The Ottomans, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the British — all great powers in their day — eventually crumbled, one after another. In Romney’s estimation, each succumbed to some combination of isolationism, protectionism, profligacy, or cultural decay.
Each ignored the warning signals of impending collapse, “turning their ears instead to the comforting voices that claimed continuity and comfort.” Now, Romney argues, it is America that is spending too lavishly and borrowing too heavily.
America’s culture — defined by hard work, educational attainment, risk taking, and religiosity, according to Romney — is “under attack.” Indeed, he writes, “each of the conditions that existed in the failed great states of the past is present in America today. This alone is cause for concern.”
In the past, world powers failed to correct their course because of their “failure to see growing threats, the short-term self-interest of common citizens.” There were “warning voices” among the Ottomans, Spanish, and British, he notes, but they were ignored. Romney will once again give us that warning tonight.
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Advancing The Cause of Freedom — George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address

 

January 20, 2005. Bush describes his freedom doctrine and calls for the overthrow of tyrannies and the establishment of democracies. He makes it clear that human rights should be a guiding principle of U.S. policy.

With protests now occurring in Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen, the Bush Second Inaugural Address has never been more timely. President Bush said only liberty would “break the reign of hatred and resentment” which had led to 9/11. Bush kept his promise to advocate human rights and democratic reforms and his record is well documented in the Middle East WikiLeaks cables. Excerpts from Bush’s address appear below.

For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders.

The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.

Our goal is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.

We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people.

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men.

From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom?

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom.

When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner “Freedom Now” – they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.

America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength – tested, but not weary – we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.