Republican national security expert K.T. McFarland says Mitt Romney "was channeling Ronald Reagan" during a major foreign policy address Monday in which he launched a broad attack on President Barack Obama's handling of problems in the Middle East.
"I have been waiting 20 years for this speech. He was channeling Ronald Reagan," the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs under Reagan told Fox News Monday.
"He realizes, like Reagan did, that the notion of peace through strength is not just a throwaway line. It means have a strong military so that you never have to use it because no one picks a fight with you," added McFarland, now a Fox News analyst, consultant, and columnist.
She said Romney also understands that America can use its economic power and foreign aid "to influence events" around the world and, particularly in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, to help emerging democracies.
But she added that unlike Obama, Romney has now made it clear that "if we're going to give it, we're going to get something back for it."
McFarland said it was the same approach Reagan used to help push democracy in East European countries following the fall of the Iron Curtain, tying the aid to what was best for U.S. interests.
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton seem to agree as well that Romney's speech was reminscent of the Reagan years.
"I think things are going in the wrong direction," Bolton told Fox News' Sean Hannity Monday evening after Romney's speech. "I think they're directly attributable in the Middle East to the decline of American influence, which is a policy that the Obama administration has pursued quite consciously, and we're now seeing the effects of it."
He cited the timed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which he insisted would result in "basically turning the country back over to the Taliban," and Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and support of terrorism as examples of weak administration policies
"All of these things put together give a picture of a weak and declining America," Bolton said. "I think what [former Massachusetts] Gov. Romney was trying to say today is that we're best able to prevent conflict and protect American interests through a strong American presence, not a weak and declining American presence."
Bolton said Obama is too wrapped in what he called an "incongruous political narrative" that al-Qaida has been defeated, the war on terrorism is over, "and everything is all sweetness and light in the Middle East.
"That is not reality," he added.
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