motherjones.com — To hear Republicans explain it, the protests at US embassies around the world and the attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead are a result of the Obama administration "projecting weakness." As the details behind the Benghazi attack come to light, it's becoming increasingly clear that the White House's initial assessment of the attack as spontaneous rather than preplanned was inaccurate. But behind the comparisons to Jimmy Carter and the references to "peace through strength" is a dubious policy critique: not just that Obama is Carter and Romney is Reagan, but that somehow sufficient man-musk from an American president can dissuade any potential terrorist from laying his finger on an American diplomat.
nytimes.com — An election that was supposed to be about domestic policy but has produced little clarity in that regard (perhaps the debates will help) has demonstrated a stark divide on foreign policy. In the vision of President Barack Obama, America is now in the status-management business: being realistic about its power the better to exercise and preserve it. As for Mitt Romney, he belongs to Putin’s school of foreign policy. The status quo he believes in is that of three decades ago. In this regard he is a closet Russian even as he denounces Moscow. And so, for Romney, Russia is “without question our number one geopolitical foe,” just like during the Cold War. He is “guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: this century must be an American century,” like the century that saw the Cold War. Romney’s vision is pure nostalgia. It imagines a world that is gone.
prospect.org — In today's Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney takes to the op-ed page to offer his vision for a new American policy in the Middle East. Apparently, the tragic recent events in Benghazi have convinced Romney and his advisors that something is going on over there, and though they aren't sure exactly what, it's definitely something, and therefore Romney ought to come and say something about it, to show everyone how wrong Barack Obama is. If you thought Romney was being vague about his domestic policy, that's nothing compared to what he has to say about foreign policy.
consortiumnews.com — Over the past decade, the United States has engaged in the most significant increase in defense spending since the Korean War. Trillions of dollars have been allocated for the Pentagon, with little congressional monitoring or internal oversight. The defense budget for 2012 exceeds $600 billion, nearly equaling the combined defense spending of the rest of world. Every U.S. taxpayer spends twice as much for the cost of national defense as each British citizen; five times as much as each German; and six times as much as each Japanese. Recent U.S. military expenditures include more than $2.5 trillion to wage unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have failed to enhance American security. The current economic crisis and tepid economic recovery during President Barack Obama’s first term have created the imperative to reduce defense spending and the size of the U.S. military.
salon.com — According to a highly reliable source, as Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare for the first presidential debate Wednesday night, top Republican operatives are primed to unleash a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens on September 11. The source, who has first-hand knowledge of private, high-level conversations in the Romney camp that took place in Washington, DC last week, said that at various times the GOP strategists referred to their new operation as the Jimmy Carter Strategy or the October Surprise. He added that they planned to release what they hoped would be “a bombshell” that would make Libya and Obama’s foreign policy a major issue in the campaign.
tomdispatch.com — First came the hullaballoo over the “Mosque at Ground Zero.” Then there was Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, grabbing headlines as he promoted “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” Most recently, we have an American posting a slanderous anti-Muslim video on the Internet with all the ensuing turmoil. Throughout, the official U.S. position has remained fixed: the United States government condemns Islamophobia. Americans respect Islam as a religion of peace. Incidents suggesting otherwise are the work of a tiny minority -- whackos, hatemongers, and publicity-seekers. Among Muslims from Benghazi to Islamabad, the argument has proven to be a tough sell. And not without reason: although it might be comforting to dismiss anti-Islamic outbursts in the U.S. as the work of a few fanatics, the picture is actually far more complicated. Those complications in turn help explain why religion, once considered a foreign policy asset, has in recent years become a net liability.
consortiumnews.com — In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and deployment of U.S. military power around the world, the American public’s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation. The latest evidence along these lines is a nationwide opinion survey just released as a report (“Foreign Policy in the New Millennium”) by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Conducted in late May and early June 2012, the survey resulted in some striking findings. One is that most Americans are quite disillusioned with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade. Asked about these conflicts, 67 percent of respondents said they had not been worth fighting. Indeed, 69 percent said that, despite the war in Afghanistan, the United States was no safer from terrorism.
tomdispatch.com — By now, Obama and his savvy campaign staff should really be home free, having run political circles around their Republican opponent as he was running circles around himself. There's only one problem: the world. These days it’s threatening to be a bizarrely uncooperative place for a president who wants to rest on his Osama-killing foreign-policy laurels. So send Mitt to the Cayman Islands, stick Paul Ryan in a Swiss bank account, and focus your attention instead on Obama versus the world. For the next 43 days, that's the real contest. In such a potentially tumultuous situation, the president and his people are committed to a perilous high-wire act without a net. It involves bringing to bear all the power and savvy left to the last superpower on Earth to prevent some part of the world from spinning embarrassingly out of control, lest the president’s opponent be handed a delectable “October surprise.”