Leah Barkoukis

When the names of Condi Rice and Gen. David Petraeus were thrown into the mix as possible VP options, the foreign policy experience they’d bring to the ticket seemed like an attractive option. What I heard in the news reports after Ryan was chosen is that there’s an obvious deficit in foreign policy experience between the two, which is a major weakness for the ticket. But as KT McFarland points out in an interview with Fox News, that’s hardly the case and I’d have to agree.

Adding Ryan to the ticket strengthens U.S. foreign policy for several reasons. Most notably because the greatest threat to U.S. national security is the economy. Adm. Mike Mullen famously warned of this and with 43 years of experience in the military, I’d say he knows what he’s talking about.

In 2010 he said this:

"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," he told CNN Wednesday. "And the reason I say that is because the ability for our country to resource our military -- and I have a pretty good feeling and understanding about what our national security requirements are -- is going to be directly proportional -- over time, not next year or the year after, but over time -- to help our economy.

And he continues to advance the idea:

At one time you said in a different context that the national debt was a threat to national security. What was your thinking?

Actually the way I said it was -- and I still believe this -- that it's the single biggest threat to our national security. Obviously it's complex, but the way I looked at it, if we didn't get control of our debt, there would be continued loss of confidence in America.

I was in the military for over 40 years, and one of the principles I kept with me was that there's an expectation globally that the that the U.S. will lead. Questions about that expectation have certainly risen in recent years. The fact that there's even a question about that is worrisome to me, and I think needs to be for a lot of people.

The Second reason McFarland points out is the looming threat between Israel and Iran. The U.S. must see eye-to-eye with Israel, she says, and Romney’s longstanding relationship with Netanyahu will go a long way to this end.

The connection between Romney and Netanyahu goes back decades. It started in the mid-1970s when they were corporate consultants at the Boston Consulting Group and has lasted nearly 40 years -- with Netanyahu, the world-wise politician, occasionally offering advice to Romney, the successful financier turned politician.

Yet the friendship until recently had gone largely unnoticed, or at least until Romney emerged as the likely 2012 GOP presidential nominee and during a primary debate brought attention to it. Responding to a controversial statement Newt Gingrich had made about Palestinians, Romney said: "Before I made a statement of that nature, I'd get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu" and ask for his advice.

Finally, to handle the rest, Romney will need to put together a “blue ribbon” committee of advisers, which he will have no problem doing. With a Romney/Ryan ticket, McFarland says it’s like having Reagan again: 


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography