On Monday October 8, Mitt Romney gave a speech at the Virginia Military Institute to lay out his foreign policy vision, while attacking the leadership of President Obama during the turbulent Arab Spring. Foreign policy is an issue where the former Governor has struggled to convey any message to the American people, as the media have preferred to focus only on some of the gaffes he has made while discussing foreign policy, instead of actually having to discuss an issue as important as foreign policy.
According to some foreign policy advisors interviewed by New York Times journalist David Sanger, however, the Romney campaign’s muddled message on foreign policy could be due to more than just a juvenile and shallow news media. The post-Iraq war Republican party seems to be split between those leaning toward neoconservative views, and those who lean toward “realist” views. Although Romney has been clear that he disagrees with President Obama’s policies, and that he believes a strong and highly funded military is important to secure America’s future, his comments don’t seem indicate which of his advisors he favors.
Whether the lack of foreign policy clarity is a result of a campaign that has focused so heavily on domestic and economic issues, or whether it is because of the divisions within Romney’s team of advisors is still unclear. What is clear, however, is that despite the George W. Bush administration being a cautionary tale in the use of neoconservative ideology, neither the voters or the media seem to have much of a desire to engage in a discussion about the world when there are problems at home. This could lead to a very sinister surprise if a Mitt Romney victory brings back the same neoconservative ideas that thoroughly tainted the Bush administration.