This morning’s New York Times asked an important question: is there a “Romney Doctrine”?
The article detailed the multiple ways in which Romney has ignored the advice of seasoned members of his foreign policy team, and rejected the more nuanced positions that Bush junior came to embrace in his second term (after learning lessons the hard way). Instead, Romney–who has zero foreign policy experience–has repeatedly engaged in hard-line, uninformed saber rattling.
Of all the things we are learning about the man who could very well become the most powerful person on the planet, this lack of appreciation for the complexities of the world America inhabits is the most worrisome.
Given Romney’s approach to campaigning–a full-throated pander to the most retrograde elements of the GOP base–it is certainly possible that his foreign policy positions are simply as self-serving as his domestic ones. This is, after all, a man whose only obviously genuine belief is in his own entitlement to be President. But unlike uninformed, simplistic statements about domestic issues, a presidential candidate’s foreign policy pronouncements are news around the globe. They become part of the intricate diplomatic calculus that the United States must engage in every day. When those statements are unreflective or contrary to current U.S. policies and interests, they complicate and disrupt ongoing international discussions.
If Romney the candidate is unaware of the effect of his bellicose statements, what evidence do we have that he would be more thoughtful as President? Thus far, we have seen no signs of self-reflection or intellectual curiosity–and certainly, no hint of recognition that there might be deficits in his understanding of a complex world.
The more we learn about Mitt Romney, the more convinced I become that he would be a disaster as President. Not because he is an evil man, but because he is an empty one.