Tags: Stuart Stevens | foreign policy | Romney

Ex-Romney Adviser: Americans Don't Appreciate Foreign Policy

By    |   Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 09:00 PM

Americans are woefully underinformed on the need for strong foreign policy, but that doesn't mean their leaders should abandon it, says Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's top strategist in 2012.

Writing at The Daily Beast, Stevens says the third debate between Romney and President Barack Obama was supposed to focus on foreign policy, but included a lot of domestic issues talk.

That's not surprising, Stevens said, because their polls showed only 6 percent of voters cared about foreign policy. More than half were most worried about economic matters.

That contrasts with a 1964 Pew survey in which a large majority disagreed with the statement, "The U.S. should mind its own business and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."

Today, Republicans and Democrats alike unite on the issue of worrying about ourselves more than caring about the rest of the world, he said.

"The result is that no one is willing to take risks or lead, because there is no upside to leadership," Stevens writes. "And most of our politicians seem perfectly happy not to care that we don’t care."

Americans have always had an anti-war sentiment, Stevens says, but that didn't stop leaders from doing what was needed – even if they had to couch their actions in anti-war terms. Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, urged lawmakers to repeal the Neutrality Act, which prevented the United States from selling arms to warring countries, by declaring, "Our acts must be guided by one single, hardheaded thought — keeping America out of the war."

"Believe me, I know how hard it is to get the public to support unpopular positions. But is this really how Americans see the United States' role in the world?" Stevens says. "We sit at home and watch a dead American lying in a Ukrainian field while our president calls it an 'outrageous event,' an odd phrase for mass murder."

Eventually, he argues, some world event will prick America's conscience to act.

"But we would all be better served if our politicians put aside the polls and started to do a better job of explaining why U.S. leadership was critical in the world," he said.

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Americans are woefully underinformed on the need for strong foreign policy, but that doesn't mean their leaders should abandon it, says Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's top strategist in 2012.
Stuart Stevens, foreign policy, Romney
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2014-00-31
Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 09:00 PM
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