Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy
Former Republican Governor (MA)
ROMNEY: Very simple. You start off by saying that you don't allow an inch of space to exist between you and your friends and your allies. The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America. He addressed the United Nations in his inaugural address and chastised our friend, Israel, for building settlements and said nothing about Hamas launching thousands of rockets into Israel. The right course for us is to stand behind our friends, to listen to them, and to let the entire world know that we will stay with them and that we will support them and defend them. And with regards to Iran, which perhaps represents the greatest existential threat to Israel, we have to make it abundantly clear: It is unacceptable--and I take that word carefully--it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation.
The right answer is not to believe in European solutions. The right answer is to believe in America--to believe in free enterprise, capitalism, limited government--and to believe in the constitution, as it was written and intended by the founders
Like the Ottomans, the Spanish and Portuguese achieved wealth through plunder, and then shut their borders--and their minds--to innovation, technology, and learning.
China declined [because] as ships from foreign lands docked in their ports, the Chinese feared cultural contamination. China's cultural and economic isolation continued in the 20th century: Mao saw learning and innovation as threats.
By 1860, Britain's economy was the biggest in the world, But whereas other nations embraced new technology, Britain reversed course and tried to contain it.
The different countries' paths of decline [all included] isolation; most important, isolation from knowledge. This is a lesson that shouldn't be lost on us.
China's leaders see things quite differently They believe that the economic vitality produced by free enterprise, combined with the stability and vision of wise leaders, unaffected by popular whim, creates the winning strategy. Autocracies of the twentieth century were often wedded to socialism; its abject economic failure doomed these governments. But China is banking that having embraced a form of free enterprise, their autocratic future will be very different than their past failures.
So the president and the leaders of both parties shifted America's foreign policy. America took on the task of anticipating, containing, and eventually defeating threats to the progress of freedom in the belief that actively protecting others was the best way to protect ourselves.
Broadly construed, the new order had three pillars: active involvement and participation in world affairs; active promotion of American and Western values including democracy, free enterprise, and human rights; and a collective security umbrella for America and her allies.
America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world, whenever there has been conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. [The US] took no land. No land from Germany, no land from Japan, no land from Korea. America is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty, for itself and for freedom loving people around the world. The best ally peace has ever known, and will ever know, is a strong America.
A: Putin is heading down the same road that we’ve seen authoritarian leaders in Russia and the former Soviet Union head down before, and it’s very troubling. You see a leader who wants to reestablis Russia as one of the great powers of the world, potentially a superpower, potentially the superpower. And he has -- the evidence of that, of course, is his elimination of the free press, his terrorizing and imprisoning political prisoners, \ and unexplained murders that are occurring. It’s another repressive regime, which he is overseeing. And the question is what do you in a circumstance like that and what it portends for the future of the world. What we have today in the world is four major, if you will, strategies at play. One, they’re the nations with the energy, like Russia. They’re trying to use energy as a way to take over the world.
A: You’ve got to think about who Fidel Castro is, and who Raul Castro is as well. We call them strongmen--dictators, totalitarian leaders. And yet these are individuals who are not strong. Look at what they have done: People wearing a wristband that says “change” are arrested--25 of them just for wearing a wristband. These Castro brothers are cowards, and we have to recognize they are cowards. And for that reason, the course for America is to continue our isolation of Cuba. It is not to say, as Barack Obama on the Democratic side said, that he would dignify the Castros with a personal visit to Cuba. That’s not the way to go. Instead, it’s to bring our friends together to isolate Cuba, to put together a strategy that helps all of Latin America, weakens Hugo Chavez who is propping up Castro. We need a Latin American policy that frees Cuba and that eliminates a threat of people like Hugo Chavez.
He said state funds could not be used to protect Khatami during his visit and that all requests from Harvard for police escorts or VIP courtesies would be denied. Amid protests, inside the walls of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Khatami gave his speech, but the students didn’t let him off the hook. They asked challenging questions about human rights in Iran. Ironically, they were doing the same thing Khatami had imprisoned students in Iran for doing years earlier.
A: Democracy is not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings of democracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in a place that has the rule of law. And that’s why our effort to spread democracy should continue, not to just spread votes, but instead to encourage other people in the world to have the benefits that we enjoy and to welcome democracy. There’s no question in this country, we need to reach out, not just with our military might--although that we have, and should keep it strong--but also reach out with our other great capabilities.
Q: Did Pres. Bush fail to appreciate the nuance you’re talking about now?
A: I’m not a carbon copy of Pres. Bush. And there are things I would do differently.
We bring together not just America, but all the nations of the civilized world. We help draw these folks toward modernity, as opposed to having them turn toward the violence and the extreme. And that kind of a campaign of values, combined with our strong arms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Roosevelt said, that will help move the world to a safer place.
We’d love it if we could all just come home and not worry about the rest of the world. But the problem is, they attacked us on 9/11. We want to help move the world of Islam toward modernity so they can reject the extreme.
A: You don’t take options off the table. All over the world we’re seeing the same thing happening, and that is, people are testing the US. We have to make sure they understand that we’re not arrogant. We have resolve. And we have the strength to protect our interests and to protect people who love liberty. For that to happen, we’re going to have not just to attack each one of these problems one by one, but say, “How do we help move the world of Islam so that the moderate Muslims can reject the extreme?” And for that to happen, we’re going to have to have a strong military and an effort to combine with our allies in such a way that we combine for an effort to help move Islam towards modernity. There is a war going on, and we need a broad response to make sure that these people have a different vision.
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