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.”
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.