Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is offering a dramatic new blueprint for the nation to confront our most critical issues. Newsmax is pleased to present exclusive excerpts from Gov. Romney’s just-released book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness." In “No Apology,” Gov. Romney exposes how the Obama administration and even the Republican Party are failing to confront budget deficits, declining global competitiveness, a weakened military, inadequate healthcare, failing education, and our energy needs. In this exclusive excerpt for Newsmax.com, Gov. Romney discusses how he came to the realization that America needed to be set back on track:
I’ve run for office three times, losing twice, winning once. Each time, when the campaign was over, I felt that I hadn’t done an adequate job communicating all that I had intended to say. Some of that is because debate answers are limited to sixty seconds, ads are thirty seconds, and lengthy position papers are rarely read at all.
This book gives me a chance to say more than I did during my campaign. That established, my interest in writing the book goes back well before my political life. My career in the private sector exposed me to developments abroad and conditions at home that were deeply troubling.
At the same time, I saw that most of us were not aware of the consequences of blithely continuing along our current course: We have become so accustomed to the benefits of America’s greatness that we cannot imagine any significant disruption of what we have known.
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I was reminded of a book I had read when I was in France during the late 1960s. Jean- Jacques Servan-Schreiber was a journalist and a businessperson, and he became convinced that France and Europe were in danger of falling far and irretrievably behind the United States.
His book, “The American Challenge,” stirred his countrymen to action and helped galvanize pan-European economic and political collaboration. While I am sufficiently realistic to recognize that this volume is highly unlikely to have as great an impact as did his, it is my hope that it will affect the thinking and perspectives of those who read it.
Thus, this is not a collection of my positions on all the important issues of the day; in fact, a number of issues I care about are not included. This is not a policy book that explores issues in greater depth than do scholars and think tanks—I treat topics in a single chapter that others have made the subject of entire volumes. Nor is this an attack piece on all the policies of the Obama administration, although criticism is unavoidable with policies that I believe are the most harmful to the future generations of America.
This is a book about what I believe should be our primary national objective: to keep America strong and to preserve its place as the world’s leading nation. And it describes the course I believe we must take to strengthen the nation in order to remain prosperous, secure, and free.
There are some who may question the national objective I propose. I make no apology for my conviction that America’s economic and military leadership is not only good for America but also critical for freedom and peace across the world. Accordingly, as I consider the various issues before the nation, I evaluate our options largely by whether they would make America stronger or weaker.
In my first chapters, I consider geopolitical threats and lessons from the history of great nations of the past. In subsequent chapters, I describe domestic challenges to our national strength and propose actions to overcome them. My final chapter is intended to provide a means for future Americans to gauge whether we have been successful in setting a course that will preserve America’s greatness throughout the twenty-first century. It describes as well the source of my optimism for America’s future.
These are difficult times: homes have lost value, nest eggs have been eroded, retirees have become anxious about their future, and millions upon millions of Americans are out of work. Inexcusable mistakes and failures precipitated the descent that has hurt so many people. But even as we endure the current shocks, we know that this will not go on forever; we know that because America is a strong and prosperous nation, the economic cycle will eventually right itself and the future will be brighter than the present.
While I will touch upon today’s difficulties, my focus is on the growing challenges to the foundations of our national strength. How we confront these challenges will determine what kind of America and world we will bequeath to our children and grandchildren.
This is a book about securing that future of freedom, peace, and prosperity in the only way possible: by strengthening America. A strong America is our only assurance that prosperity will follow hardship and that our lives and liberty will always be secure.
The strength of the nation has been challenged before—at its birth, during the Civil War, in the peril of world wars. It is challenged again today. In our past, Americans have risen to the occasion by confronting the challenge honestly and laying their sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. We must do so again.
Facing Our Challenges Head-On
I can remember only one time during my life when most Americans presumed that we didn’t really have any great challenges. It was during the period that largely coincided with the Bill Clinton presidency. George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan had pushed the Soviet Union to the wall and won. The Berlin Wall had come down, the Soviet Union had dissolved, and here at home, there was talk of a “new economy” that sent the bulls running on Wall Street. Columnist Charles Krauthammer has called it our “holiday from history.” We believed that peace and prosperity were here to stay—without threat, without sacrifice.
In some ways, we advanced as a nation during these years. The Internet boomed, and the pockets of millions of average Americans grew deeper. But did these years of ease make us a stronger, more free or secure nation?
We shrunk our military by 400,000 troops during the 1990s, retired over one hundred ships from the navy, and decreased the size of our air force by more than a quarter. More ominously, we gutted our human intelligence capabilities, and never took any real steps to infiltrate the violent jihadist groups like al-Qaida that had declared war on America.
At home, births to teenage mothers rose to their highest levels in decades, teenage drug use climbed, and pornography became the Internet’s biggest business. Our dependence on foreign oil rose from 42 percent of our total consumption in 1990 to 58 percent today.
I don’t wish challenges and hard times on this nation, even though I believe they have made us the country and people we are today. But neither do I fear them. My sole concern is that Americans will choose not to act, not to face our challenges head-on, not to overcome them.
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, our economy has suffered its worst crisis since the Great Depression. We have amassed an unprecedented amount of debt and liabilities, and added to that, the Obama administration plans trillion-dollar deficits every year. Russian belligerence is on the rise. China holds over $750 billion of U.S. obligations. Iran and North Korea threaten the world with unbridled nuclear ambition. Violent jihadists like those who attacked us on 9/11 plot our destruction. The consequence of failure to act in response to these perils is unthinkable.
America will remain the leading nation in the world only if we overcome our challenges. We will be strong, free, prosperous, and safe. But if we do not face them, I suspect the United States will become the France of the twenty-first century— still a great country, but no longer the world’s leading nation. What’s chilling to consider is that if America is not the superpower, others will take our place. What nation or nations would rise, and what would be the consequences for our safety, freedom, and prosperity?
The world is a safer place when America is strong. Ronald Reagan remarked that “of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.” America’s strength destroyed Hitler’s fascism. It stopped the North Koreans and Chinese at the 38th parallel and allowed South Koreans to claim their freedom and reach prosperity. American strength kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and later pulled him out of his spider hole.
There are a number of thoughtful people around the world who don’t welcome America’s strength. In 2007, several reputable polls asked European citizens which nation they perceived as the greatest threat to international peace. Their answer was the United States. I was incredulous when I first read this, and presumed the respondents must have had the Iraq War on their minds when they answered. Surely they hadn’t considered what Russia would do in Eastern Europe if America was weak; what China would do in Taiwan; what the Taliban would do in Afghanistan; what Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Kim Jong-Il, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have in mind for their neighbors. The very existence of American power helps to hold tyrants in check and reduces the risk of precipitous war.
Does America make mistakes? Absolutely. We never fully understood the enormously complex political, economic, and military issues we faced in Vietnam, and we were wrong in our assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. But in every case throughout modern history in which America has exercised military power, we have acted with good intention—not to colonize, not to subjugate, never to oppress.
During my tenure as governor of Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to join a small group of people in meeting Shimon Peres, Israel’s former prime minister and current president. In casual conversation, someone asked him what he thought about the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Given his American audience, I expected him to respond diplomatically but with a degree of criticism. But what he said caught me very much by surprise.
“First, I must put something in context,” he began. “America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world, whenever there has been war, the nation that is victorious has taken land from the nation that has been defeated— land has always been the basis of wealth on our planet.
Only one nation in history, and this during the last century, was willing to lay down hundreds of thousands of lives and take no land in its victory— no land from Germany, no land from Japan. America. America is unique in the history of the world for its willingness to sacrifice so many lives of its precious sons and daughters for liberty, not solely for itself but also for its friends.”
Everyone in the room was silent for a moment, and no one pressed him further on his opinion about Iraq. I was deeply moved. And I was reminded of former secretary of state Colin Powell’s observation that the only land America took after World War II was what was needed to bury our dead.
Some argue that the world would be safer if America’s strength were balanced by another superpower, or perhaps by two or three. And others believe that we should simply accept the notion that our power is limited.
British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm in his book, “On Empire,” asserts, “It is also troubling that there is no historical precedent for the global superiority that the American government has been trying to establish and it is quite clear to any good historian and to all rational observers of the world scene that this project will almost certainly fail.”
I take a different view. The United States is unique. American strength does not threaten world peace. American strength helps preserve world peace.
It is true that the emergence of other great powers is not entirely up to us— several other nations are building economic and military power and we will not stop them from doing so. But we can determine, entirely on our own, that we will not fall behind them. And the only way I know to stay even is to aim unabashedly at staying ahead.
Mitt Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts. Best known for his 2008 race for the Republican nomination for president, he has a remarkable career in private business, with his investment company, Bain Capital, helping to grow companies like Staples, Domino’s Pizza, FTD Florists and The Sports Authority, among others. In 1998 he left Bain to serve as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. A frequent speaker and national television commentator, Mr. Romney has recently formed the Free And Strong America Political Action Committee. His latest book is “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness” from St. Martin’s Press.
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