Rather than present meaningful specifics or outline how he’d defend American interests abroad, Mitt Romney chose to give a foreign policy speech that was full of platitudes but free of substance. Foreign policy experts joined newspapers across the country in criticizing the speech as vague, uninstructive, and emblematic of a candidate who lacks a cohesive foreign policy vision.
“There’s absolutely nothing in this speech. This is a repackaging of language that has been a staple of Romney’s campaign since he threw his hat in the ring. If Romney has a foreign policy strategy, he still has not told us what it is. The governor is very fond of saying hope is not a strategy, but that cuts both ways. He didn’t answer two key questions: what he would do differently and why we should expect what he would to work.”—James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations
“There’s an awful lot of rhetoric and things but when you get to the specifics, you just get the sense he doesn’t know exactly what tools to use. I just find him very shallow.”—Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Washington Post: “Much of Romney’s address focused on the complex threat posed by Iran, but he did not propose specific solutions that differ from the Obama administration’s current policy of tightening sanctions and insisting that an Iranian nuclear bomb is intolerable.”
TIME: “Mitt Romney delivered a ‘major’ speech on foreign policy on Monday, although that designation of import comes from Romney’s own campaign, and hardly seems warranted.”
The New York Times: “Mr. Romney’s stated policies in today’s speech, just as they have been in the past, are either pretty much like Mr. Obama’s or, when there are hints of differences, would pull the United States in wrong and even dangerous directions…. Americans deserve an intensive, textured and honest discussion on foreign policy. They did not get it on Monday.”
AP: “[Romney] has given several foreign policy speeches throughout the campaign, including one in Reno, Nev., ahead of a weeklong trip abroad in the summer. That trip was fraught, with Romney offending his British hosts by questioning their security preparations for the Olympic Games and raising hackles among Palestinians who charged him with racism after he said culture was part of the reason Israelis were more economically successful than the neighboring Palestinians.”
From calling Russia—not al-Qaeda—our number one geopolitical foe, to saying that the withdrawal from Iraq was “tragic,” to not even mentioning Afghanistan in his convention speech, Romney has demonstrated time and time again that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. Today’s speech only reinforced that conclusion.