Steve Chapman

Even as the drones fly, Romney pretends the president is in the grip of a naive pacifism. He denounces Obama's "radical cuts in the military," referring to the possible sequestration of $500 billion over the next decade -- which in truth were part of a budget deal agreed to by congressional Republicans.

Romney says modifying our missile defense plans in Europe was "abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic." Seriously? We are fully, unequivocally committed to their protection as part of the NATO alliance. Romney published a 44-page white paper on foreign policy. It doesn't mention NATO.

He faults Obama for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin after his dubious election victory. Would any president do less with a leader whose help we need on matters like Iran? Has Romney forgotten George W. Bush's far warmer embrace of Putin?

Romney says Obama betrayed the cause of freedom by not more vocally championing Iranians who marched against the Tehran regime in 2009. He omits why Obama held off: not because he didn't want to help the Green Movement, but because he did. He knew an ostentatious show of support would make the opposition look like American stooges.

One problem with Romney's approach is his habit of fudging or ignoring facts about Obama's record. A bigger one, though, is his view of our position in the world as deeply insecure. He sees us beset by formidable foes whom we can deter only by endlessly flaunting our willingness to go to war. He's a man with a hammer, looking for nails.

The beginning of wisdom about American foreign policy is to see the world as it really is. Being vigilant is one thing. But there is nothing to be gained from always running scared.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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