The other Republican candidates offered only big talk in the substantive debate on foreign policy in November. Rick Perry announced that he would start at zero in calculating how much foreign aid to send to everyone, including Israel. His wise men spent the rest of the week backpedaling, trying to limit damage, but it was another example of Perry's inexperience on a national stage about an international issue.
Jon Huntsman has had direct foreign policy experience as the ambassador to China. But like all diplomats, he's only comfortable strolling softly while carrying a little stick. He supports Obama's withdrawal from Afghanistan. This contrasts starkly with Romne'sy warning that "this is not the time for America to cut and run."
No one can doubt Newt Gingrich's grasp of foreign policy and the strength of his hawkish views, but questions abound about his temperament. Rick Santorum has foreign policy smarts -- he served on the Senate Armed Services Committee for eight years and wrote the legislation sanctioning Syria. He supports the opponents of the Iranian regime. But his star dimmed in New Hampshire after glowing briefly in Iowa.
This leaves Romney. A plurality of New Hampshire voters appeared to choose him because they concluded that he has the best shot to beat Obama in November. In the months ahead, the public focus will return to terrorism. The pre-trial proceedings at Guantanamo against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the evil mind behind the 9/11 attack on America, may begin as early as March. This will be the needed reminder that terrorists are not sleeping, and neither should we be. The proceedings against Mohammed will remind as well of the importance of Guantanamo, which President Obama once foolishly promised to close.
In his victory speech in New Hampshire, Romney accused Obama of failing to understand the need for overwhelming American military superiority in a world populated by a lot of bad guys, and vowed that he would "insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it." That hasn't been the focus of attention in the primary season, but you can bet it will be before the leaves fly in November.