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Mitt Romney (http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/6749812147/sizes/z/in/photostream/)
Last year at this time, Mitt Romney was at the Citadel in South Carolina, another military college, where he delivered his first full-blown foreign policy speech of the campaign:
Our next President will face many difficult and complex foreign policy decisions. Few will be black and white.

But I am here today to tell you that I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world. [...]

Let me make this very clear. As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.

That's the language of the warmongering Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative movement whose imprint was stamped so solidly on the Bush Administration.

Today, as was seen in his speech at the Virginia Military Institute, the hand of the neoconservatives who make up so many of his key foreign policy advisers was obviously still firmly in place. John Bolton, Dan Senor, Liz Cheney, Eliot Cohen, Elliott Abrams. The VMI speech contained a few more details than the one at The Citadel. But it was, in effect, the same speech.

A bit more chest-thumping and some hints about where Mitt Romney, were he to become president, might send some of those 100,000 extra troops he says he will recruit once in office. Some place to spend that four percent of gross domestic product he wants to give the Pentagon each year, another $2.2 trillion in a decade. Overall, it was a typical Democrats are "weak-on-defense" speech. And a promise to get tougher with Russia, with Egypt, with Syria, with China, with Iran, with Afghanistan, with al Qaeda, with Iraq, with NATO. And be nicer to Israel.

No big changes other than to be a bit more of the jingo in this public voicing of his views compared with what he said in October 2011. But there's the public voice and the private voice. At VMI, he said:

I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.  On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region.

In the 47 percent videotape, he said:
I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. [...] [S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem […] and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Committed to the unthinkable. Romney makes it unthinkable by dissing the Palestinians as uninterested in peace. That shows, as did his trip to Britain, Poland and Israel—like his foreign policy pronouncements both in the heat of the moment, such as the aftermath of the slayings of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, and in the supposed coolness of deliberation—that what is unthinkable is this man running U.S. foreign policy for even Day One of a four-year term.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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