The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Foreign Policy Update: More Critiques of Romney’s Team

by Newsteam Staff
May 15, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, April 27, 2012 (Matt Sullivan/Courtesy Reuters). Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, April 27, 2012 (Matt Sullivan/Courtesy Reuters).


A story from the New York Times’ David Sanger on a lack of a unified vision among presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers has opened the door for analysts to deliver their critiques of his foreign policy and national securitycamp.

Disagreement within the Romney campaign is a reflection of greater foreign policy disagreements within the Republican party, says Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. “Beneath the fratricide in the Romney foreign-policy camp lies the deeper problem that, at least since Sept. 11, GOP foreign policy has largely assumed that limitations of public money and public will should not constrain American foreign policy,” Beinert says. “The problem is a Republican foreign-policy narrative that pretends that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the financial crisis have not imposed serious new limitations on American foreign policy.”

TPM’s Ben Armbruster says internal disagreements on policy make it clear why Romney has been struggling on foreign policy.

“Romney’s inexperience on foreign policy and national security issues has dogged his campaign with confusion, ignorance and private and public disagreements among Romney’s campaign advisers and surrogates,” Armbruster says. “So it’s clear why Romney doesn’t want to engage on foreign policy and national security issues in this year’s presidential campaign: his advisers don’t agree with him or each other. And Romney either doesn’t have any national security policies, they aren’t different from President Obama’s, or as recent polling has suggested, they aren’t very popular.”

TIME‘s Michael Crowley says the broader implications of Sanger’s piece are “that Romney is surrounded by foreign policy experts frustrated enough with him to feed the Times a negative story, to the point of implying that Romney doesn’t thoroughly understand or possibly even care much about foreign affairs.”

For more on the candidates’ stances on major foreign policy issues, check out all of CFR’s Issue Trackers.

Suggested Other Reading:

President Barack Obama’s campaign seems dismissive of any foreign policy savvy Romney might have, says the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, and the positions he put out during the primary as unsustainable if he does win in November.

At National Journal, Sara Sorcher and Peter Bell use an interactive map to look at ten foreign policy and national security hot spots the next president will have to face.

In Foreign Policy, Ian Bremmer writes that multinational institutions are taking the place of traditional world powers, and U.S. policymakers should be preparing for a “G-Zero” world.

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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