Cross posted from Blue Virginia
I just got off a conference call with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Obama for America's National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt, responding to Mitt Romney's remarks a little while ago at the Virginia Military Institute. A few comments by Albright jumped out at me:
*She watched the speech with great interest, trying to figure out what Romney's foreign policy ideas really are, but came away even "more confused" than ever.
*Romney's flip flopped on numerous positions, such as being FOR Libya intervention before he was AGAINST it.
*It's unclear where Romney is on Syria, he sometime seems to be saying he'd arm the rebels, other times that he's just kind of do something or other to help them.
*For someone who's spent her whole life in foreign policy, there's a lot of rhetoric with Romney, but when we get to specifics, Romney doesn't seem to have a plan for the U.S. role in the world in the 21st century.
*Romney advisers are comprised of neoconservatives, a few realists - exactly the people who brought us the Bush administration's foreign policy, the adverse consequences of which we're still living through
*In many ways, this was a speech that might have sounded pretty good to those who aren't really into foreign policy, but basically it's full of platitudes. Exactly what would Rommey do differently?
*Some of his facts are just dead wrong. On trade, President Obama has negotiated and signed three trade agreements, now is working on a trans-Pacific agreement.
*The Romney campaign just asserts things that are simply not true.
Albright on the "weird" things Romney's said, his "Cold War nostalgia":
*Of the various weird things Romney has said, his position on Russia is truly out of date. If you were living in the 20th century, his position might have made some sense. In the 21st century, terrorism/al Qaeda is our #1 geopolitical threat, not Russia.
*I'm beginning to think that Gov. Romney simply doesn't have the facts, such all the things we've done vis-a-vis Russia. The Russians actually have been pretty helpful on Iran (although not so much on Syria). We can't look at Russia like we did in the Cold War. Romney has Cold War tone/nostalgia.
With regard to Romney's false assertions that there's some sort of rift between the U.S. and Israel, Sec. Albright responded:
*I know from my conversations with Israelis that they are VERY satisfied with President Obama's assistance - e.g., the Iron Dome system, assistance to maintain qualitative military edge, etc.
*Israelis believe the U.S.-Israel relationship is as good as it's ever been, that we're on the same wavelength, that the level of cooperation has been excellent.
*One of the flip flops of Gov. Romney and inappropriateness during his trip was saying that Palestinians are some sort of different culture. Now he's talking about two-state solution, but that obviously doesn't track even the things he himself says. President Obama believes in two-state solution.
Asked about Romney's short mention of Latin America, which focused solely on Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers, Albright said:
*It's absolutely inappropriate for Romney to focus only on Hugo Chavez and the Castros.
*To characterize Latin America in that way is an insult, frankly.
*We've had new trade agreements with Columbia and Panama.
*The President has spent a lot of time thinking about Latin America, meeting with leaders in the region.
*Romney's speech was mostly a Middle East speech, he threw in a few other things probably just to show that he was aware there was a broader world out there, like 2 sentences on Latin America, very little on Africa, China and Russia.
*Romney's comments on Latin America are an example of how he and his foreign policy team do NOT have a full understanding of foreign policy, national security.