Foreign Policy Still Matters

Thursday, 16 Aug 2012 02:09 PM

By Bradley Blakeman

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Although the 2012 election will most certainly turn on the state of the domestic economy, Mitt Romney cannot afford to ignore foreign policy. So much of our economy is dependent on world affairs — everything from trade, wars, and treaties, to global economic stability.

Between now and the GOP Convention, Romney needs to address the major foreign policy challenges that America faces. He needs to tell the American people what they can expect from a Romney administration and he also needs to tell us whom it is that he relies on for foreign policy advice and policy formulation.

romney-in-Israel-II.jpg
Mitt Romney visited Israel, Poland, and the U.K. in July.
(Getty Images)
The American people understandably want to know who he is likely to tap for key foreign policy roles such as secretary of state, U.N. ambassador, trade representative, etc.

Since neither Romney or Ryan have a strong portfolio and experience with foreign policy, it is incumbent upon them to seek out the best and the brightest to advise them and to formulate and disseminate a clear vision and plan to deal with the wide-ranging challenges they will face if elected.

Here are some of the questions they must answer clearly, forcefully and decisively:
  • How will you deal with the Middle East?
  • How will you help protect Israel?
  • Who should we be helping?
  • How will you deal with Iran?
  • How will you deal with the Russians? Are they a friend, foe, or competitor?
  • How will you deal with China?
  • How will you address trade, military, North Korea, and human rights issues?
  • How will you deal with Europe with regard to economic challenges as well as security issues and concerns?
  • How will you deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan?
  • What is America’s role and commitment to Iraq?
  • What message will a President Romney send from day one to our friends and foes?
Before the GOP Convention Romney should make a thoughtful speech at A.E.I., Heritage or another serious venue to lay out his foreign policy broadly and concisely.

He should also appear with the people he relies upon for foreign policy advice and counsel and then send them out to speak to the media and in venues across the nation that will echo his policies and vision.

Here is some additional advice for the Romney/Ryan campaign:

As we enter the election homestretch after both party conventions and Labor Day, the next opportunity for Romney to go back to foreign policy in a very substantive way will come during the week of September 17.

On September 18 the U.N. General Assembly opens its 67th session in New York.

Hundreds of world leaders will descend on New York that week to speak before the UNGA and attend meetings.

President Obama most certainly will use this opportunity to do what Romney cannot, and that is to speak before the UNGA and to be seen meeting with world leaders and attending events as the POTUS.

Romney should not cede a week of foreign policy in a general election to Obama. He should be in New York during the UNGA too.

While Romney should not, and cannot attend the UNGA, he can certainly exploit the opportunities it provides. Romney should make a major foreign policy address that week at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In addition, Romney should make time at a Manhattan hotel to conduct meetings with selected world leaders.

The press Romney will generate will be substantial and helpful. It will detract away from the wall-to-wall coverage Obama would otherwise get.

It will be a missed opportunity if Romney is not engaged in foreign policy during a week that we know Obama will be.

Continuing to speak on domestic issues at a time when Obama is surrounded by world leaders, will only serve to enforce Obama attacks on the absence of Romney’s foreign policy experience.

Every day of a general election is important. The fact that the media will be focused on foreign policy during the week of September 17 demands that Romney be engaged in meaningful and important foreign policy events and meetings.

There is also a high probability that world events could have a direct effect on the election. What if Israel were to attack Iran’s nuclear sites? What happens if oil supplies are disrupted by Iran? What if Syria were to use chemical weapons on its people?

North Korea could engage in further missile tests or other provocations. Attacks in Pakistan or Afghanistan on America’s personnel or property are a real possibility. In addition, there is a real continuing domestic terrorist threat to our homeland.

In the presidential election of 2012 — foreign policy matters. Our economic security and prosperity is rooted in a stable and pragmatic world view and policy.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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