Let’s face reality and admit Mitt Romney was not the same in debate number three as he was in number one. He simply does not look good on foreign policy, ever, and some of the statements he has made on it are both ignorant and dangerous. But the two lines that really caught my attention for their abundance of fantasy were the following:
Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.
First off, let’s quickly point out the irony that he is claiming America has never dictated to other countries in a segment about how America should dictate policy to the country of Iran. In other words, he could have said, “No, America has never told another government how they should conduct their business. Now, here is how I want Iran to conduct its business.” It would have at least gotten the laugh it deserved from the audience if he had said it that way.
Any instance in which America has conducted a military operation in another country or placed sanctions on them, we have dictated policy to their governments. Using sanctions or the military in another country automatically says, “we don’t like the way you are doing things so we are stepping in and doing things our way.” It’s pretty much the definition of dictating to a country. Pick your foreign policy conflict here and you have an example.
And the idea we have “freed other nations from dictators”? Yeah, just like we freed Egypt from Mubarak…right after we propped him up as an ally for three decades. (We didn’t do the actual freeing, by the way.) Or after we freed Iraq from our former ally Saddam Hussein. Maybe he means after we free the Saudi people from our close ally, the royal family? Or after we free the Uzbek people from Andijan Massacre conductor and former ally, Islam Karimov?
Romney questioned the idea of the United States having to apologize for our previous foreign policy decisions. It is exactly this mentality that gets us into situations we eventually have to apologize for. The notion the U.S. has a spotless record on foreign policy is simply ludicrous and suggesting we only depose of dictators and do not ally ourselves with them is just fantasy. This is the type of thinking that makes citizens of other countries, particularly the ones who have had to live under a dictator we supported, hate the United States.
A little humility and a lot of looking at actual facts would go a long way in bandaging those wounds. Clearly, Romney has no interest in doing this and the likelihood the hate increases seems high if he is sworn into the Oval Office in January.