— by Jason Berger
Tonight, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are squaring off in a foreign policy debate, giving the American people a glance at what their Commander in Chief will look like over the next four years. As American Jews, what the candidates say tonight will be particularly relevant to us. For us, the status of the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s security, and thwarting Iran’s nuclear program are particularly important issues. Between his comments and behavior surrounding U.S.-Russia relations, the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden, Iran sanctions, and security cooperation with Israel, Romney has shown that he is not ready to be Commander in Chief. Let’s review the governor’s flubs since he started running for president:
During his trip abroad in July, Romney had at least one gaffe at every single one of his stops:
- During Romney’s visit to London on the day of the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics, he insulted the British by saying that he saw, “a few things that were disconcerting,” questioning the UK’s preparedness.
- While in Jerusalem, Romney offended both the Israelis and Palestinians when he made an inappropriate comparison between the two nation’s cultures.
- In Poland, one of Governor Romney’s aides cursed at a reporter who was trying to ask a question while the campaign was making a visit at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Before he departed on his trip, NJDC issued 10 Israel questions for Romney to answer. A number of them remain unanswered.
While at home, Romney has also made quite a few relevant foreign policy gaffes:
- Romney pledged to “do the opposite” of President Obama on Israel, despite the unprecedented security cooperation between the United States and Israel.
- After his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Politifact gave his “apology tour” attack a Pants on Fire rating. Politifact said, “A review of Obama’s foreign travels and remarks during his early presidency showed no evidence to support such a blunt and disparaging claim.” Since the speech, this has been a common complaint from the Romney team in regards to Obama’s foreign policy.
- During his interview with Wolf Blitzer in March, Romney took his eye off of Iran and designated Russia as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.” Not only was his assertion panned by the foreign policy community, but he ignored the realities of Russo-American cooperation as well as Russo-Israeli cooperation.
- While stumping in 2008, Romney said that the United States should learn from the kind of diplomacy that Hezbollah employs in Lebanon.
- In a 2007 interview with the Associated Press, Romney when asked about finding Osama Bin Laden, he said,
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
- Romney pledged during a debate to start all foreign aid at zero, despite the pro-Israel community opposing such alterations to the foreign aid budget.
Thus far, Romney has been unable to pass the Commander in Chief test on a number of issues. Judging by his foreign policy credentials alone, he’s clearly not ready for prime time.