On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered a foreign policy speech to cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He was correct in his indictment of the Obama administration for its numerous failures -- especially in the Middle East
-- and his embrace of Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" philosophy.
A strong and respected America is less likely to be attacked.
The Obama administration's approach to foreign policy has been one of apology, genuflection to dictators and inconsistency. "...it is the responsibility of our president to use America's great power to shape history," Romney told the VMI cadets. "Not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. Unfortunately, that's exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama."
Romney reached back more than 60 years for this quote from George Marshall, secretary of defense in the Truman administration: "The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it." The Korean and Vietnam Wars followed. Were they preventable?
Romney's speech was serious, especially this line which came after his call for a "change in course in the Middle East": "That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might."
I'm fine with that, but perhaps in the Oct. 22 presidential debate on foreign policy, moderator Bob Schieffer might ask Romney what is our cause, what is our purpose and where has might, alone, caused that purpose to be successful? Iraq? Afghanistan? Vietnam? Will it work with Iran? Does Romney think bombing Iran, with or without Israel's assistance, will deter the mullahs from their goal of acquiring nuclear weapons? Maybe it would, but can he be sure?
Would Israel, and possibly America, be able to tolerate a counterstrike and possible terrorist acts on U.S. soil by Iranian and Hezbollah agents that could very well be in the U.S. awaiting instructions?
John F. Kennedy said in his 1961 Inaugural Address that we were willing to "...pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."
Eleven years later as America was being torn apart by the Vietnam War, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern said the United States "...can't be the policeman of the world."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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