Does anyone today have a clue as to what Mitt Romney would do if he became commander in chief? Does it matter for the next two weeks? After months and months of tough, aggressive talk on both domestic and foreign policy, the Romney that turned up in Boca Raton was robotic. He refused to engage with Obama in a serious, substantive debate about America’s role in the world and what to do about the Middle East because he agreed with virtually all the president’s positions, whether it be on Egypt, Syria, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan or Libya. He was very animated that we should not throw Pakistan under a bus, but no one in the Obama administration has suggested we should.
Romney looked as though he had been programmed to talk “peace on earth” on foreign policy but to revert to his stump speech on the economy at every opportunity. It may work, since the economy is the issue and Obama was equally intent in getting in his own domestic talking points. If Romney’s goal was to be the antithesis of George W. Bush and his “bring it on” bravado thereby distancing himself from calls for more war and sacrifice in faraway places, he may have served himself well.
Geoffrey Kemp is the director of Regional Strategic Programs at the Center for the National Interest.