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Published: Friday, 7/27/2012

EDITORIAL

Romney's foreign policy

LOS ANGELES TIMES

As he makes a week-long trip to Britain, Israel, and Poland designed to burnish his foreign policy credentials, Mitt Romney is offering a critique of President Obama's military and diplomatic policies that is long on bluster and short on detailed disagreements.

So far, he has provided mostly hyperbole, broad and vague criticisms, and cheap shots. In a speech this week to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he said that Mr. Obama had "given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due."

He revived the canard that the President has traipsed around the world apologizing for America. He accused Mr. Obama of undermining Israel's position and speaking "as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem."

"If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president," Mr. Romney told the veterans. "You have that president today."

Mr. Romney was frugal with details. There has been friction between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as there has been between American and Israeli leaders in the past. But Mr. Romney's indictment of the President as unfriendly to Israel was almost comically over the top.

Also deceptive was his claim that national security is threatened by "Obama's massive defense cuts" -- a reference to planned across-the-board spending cuts agreed to as part of last year's bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Stripped of its exaggerations, Mr. Romney's speech yielded surprisingly few differences of substance. He played up the fact that he opposed Mr. Obama's decision last year to downsize the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan "during the fighting season." But he also noted that his goal is to "complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014" -- the very plan the President and NATO are pursuing.

Mr. Romney insisted that Iran cease enrichment of uranium, but the Obama Administration and United Nations Security Council also seek a "full suspension" of enrichment. Mr. Romney didn't say what he would do if Iran resisted this demand. In the past he, like Mr. Obama, has supported economic sanctions and a threat of a military option.

Mr. Romney's supporters suggested that the candidate would use his remarks on the eve of his journey to spell out significant ways his foreign policy would be different from the President's. We're still waiting.

-- Los Angeles Times



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