More Foreign Policy Problems for Romney

More Foreign Policy Problems for Romney July 2, 2012

Reuters reports on more infighting between Romney’s many foreign policy advisers, with the divisions falling along the same lines that have long divided Republicans — neo-cons who almost never see a foreign war they don’t like against the more traditional realpolitik crowd.

Romney’s official campaign website lists 42 official foreign and defense advisers, including some of the Republican Party’s most prestigious experts, many veterans of past administrations.

But the team includes personalities strongly identified with contending factions whose internecine battles have dogged Republican foreign policy circles for a generation. One, more pragmatic, group is known as the “moderates.” Members of the other, with a harder ideological edge, are loosely known as “neocons,” short for neo-conservatives.

Already, fights have broken out over touchstone issues such as Russia and China, according to individuals close to the campaign.

One Romney campaign contributor who has interacted with the outside advisers said they held only one meeting as a group, in the offices of former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. It ended in an argument between moderates and neocons over Afghanistan policy.

And then there are the leaks from insiders on where Romney really stands (if anyone could really tell):

A long-time Republican activist who has been in contact with some of the Romney camp’s more centrist elements said that moderates “are very concerned about the fact that if Romney needs to call anyone, his instinct is to call the Cheney-ites.”

This is a reference to acolytes of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Several top former Cheney aides are among Romney’s advisers…

One of the few other prominent Republican foreign policy figures who several campaign sources said also had frequent access to Romney is John Bolton, a Cheney ally and former State and Justice department official and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Bolton, who has made several campaign appearances for Romney, has fiercely attacked President Barack Obama, suggesting at one point, while on the stage with Romney, that Obama “has done almost everything possible to weaken the United States, to jeopardize our interests and our friends around the world.”

That should scare the hell out of any sane person.

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  • oranje

    “That should scare the hell out of any sane person.”

    Very much so.

  • Michael Heath

    What’s really interesting about this is that we see one conservative group competing for power in spite of the failed policies, administrations and people, in spite of the fact they also have access to Republicans who had successful policies, administrations, and people.

    We know conservatives do this in partisan squabbles, rejecting positions and people merely because of their being Democrats in spite of demonstrated success. But here we see conservatives keeping viable people and policies which spectacularly failed in spite of also having access to fellow partisans and policies which were successful. I think the neo-cons survive because conservatives in general are so strongly wedded to an ideology where history, reality, and performance are not factors.

  • Larry

    Mitten’s Foreign Policy:

    If it didn’t work under Bush II, let’s give it another try. It’s sure to work now.

    Good god, no wonder they need to prevent people from voting with policies like that.

  • But here we see conservatives keeping viable people and policies which spectacularly failed in spite of also having access to fellow partisans and policies which were successful.

    Examples of the latter, please?

  • abb3w

    I still think the term “neocon” is too vague; I think the term “jingocon” is a more precise neologism for the faction. Alas, the usage does not appear to be picking up as a meme.

    (Sancho Panza, my horse!)

  • daved

    Oh, neo-cons do have their uses. For example, you could probably run a reasonably successful foreign policy by just seeing what Bill Kristol is advocating, and doing something else.

  • ManOutOfTime

    Of course, the Obama policies with the worst impact on our standing – drone strikes, failing to fix Guantanamo, failing to pull out of Afghanistan fast enough, and the furthering of the police state anti-privacy policies – would only be made worse per Repug advisors. The ones they criticize – not attacking Iran, What a clown show.

  • d cwilson

    Can’t the so-called moderates just pick Mittens up and shake him until all memory of the neocons’ advice has been erased?

  • mikeym

    That should scare the hell out of any sane person.

    I don’t think the GOP are trying to appeal that particulaer voting bloc, anyway.

  • Michael Heath

    Raging Bee writes:

    Examples of the latter, please?

    My goodness; George H.W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Jim Baker, and George Schultz are all examples of U.S. foreign policy leaders who historians generally consider successful at foreign policy. All are great examples of diplomats who avoided war except the one where we had few if any other viable options – The Persian Gulf War; where we also observe how H.W. Bush’s objectives were modest rather than adventurous.

    Another weakly arguable though highly instructive example would be Colin Powell. ‘Weakly arguable’ given his culpability for the Iraq War. That because his previously stellar record is now smeared because he was incapable of the type of immoral bureaucratic in-fighting played by neocons like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. [My argument rests on the first paragraph, I point out Powell because they’re lessons to be learned about playing with the neocons, you get burned.]

  • kassad

    Neo-cons… *shiver*

    I remember Paul Wolfowitz sneering at an admiral who was saying that they will needed more men on the ground for the transition in Irak than for the invasion itself. That was a great moment to assert the foreign-policy credentials of the neo-cons.

  • slc1

    Re kassad @ #11

    The neo-cons certainly bad mouthed former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki for having the temerity to tell a Congressional committee that several hundred thousand troops would ultimately be required for the Iraq adventure.