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John Bolton
This guy, along with Dick Cheney, is
Mitt Romney's spirit guide on foreign policy.
(Gage Skidmore)
Mitt Romney will fly off Wednesday on a six-day trip abroad during which he'll deliver two foreign policy addresses. But his campaign says they won't be that big a deal. Romney will visit London, Warsaw and Tel Aviv. It's hard to imagine he won't try in the latter case to exploit the idea that Obama is not really a friend of Israel. And we're likely to hear some additional drumbeats about war with Iran. But no specifics have as yet been forthcoming.

Officials of the Obama campaign say Romney should provide some details about what he is going to say:

“The bar really is whether or not Mitt Romney is finally ready to shed a little light on what appears to be the secrecy of his foreign policy plans,” campaign adviser and former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs declared on a conference call set up by the campaign.

Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said, “If Romney thinks it’s time to use military action against Iran and abandon diplomacy this early, I think he owes it to the American people to actually say so.”

While neither of two of Romney's top pugnaciously ultrahawkish foreign policy advisers—former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and former Vice President Dick Cheney—will be physically on the trip overseas, they will as usual be operating from the shadows and have a huge impact on what Romney will include in whatever he says. But the big speech may happen before Romney embarks. On Tuesday, he will be in Reno at the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference. We may hear something detailed then.

Romney has sought to play the tough guy on foreign policy since his campaign began, and given the make-up of his foreign policy team, that's no surprise:

Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, “Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected.” On some key issues, like Iran, Romney and his team are to the right of Bush. Romney’s embrace of the neoconservative cause—even if done cynically to woo the right—could turn into a policy nightmare if he becomes president.
The venality of that team, and the stuck-in-the-past approach that has led its members and Romney himself to refer more than once to the Soviet Union as a present day U.S. enemy, provide some idea of where a Romney presidency would take us. Down a bloody road we've already been.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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