Thursday, May 24, 2012

Barack O'Romney

Foreign Policy
May 23, 2012



Ignore what the candidates say they'll do differently on foreign policy. They're basically the same man.





BY AARON DAVID MILLER | MAY 23, 2012

If Barack Obama is reelected, he ought to consider making Mitt Romney his new secretary of state. I propose this far-fetched howler not because I'm trying to get into my own Dumb Idea Hall of Fame, or because white-male secretaries of state seem to be going the way of the dodo at Foggy Bottom (we haven't had one since Warren Christopher departed in 1997), or because I believe deeply in bipartisanship. (Although I do; it's been a long time since we've had a secretary of state who was from the opposing party, and it would be great idea.)

I raise the idea to drive home a broader point. Despite his campaign rhetoric, Romney would be quite comfortable carrying out President Obama's foreign policy because it accords so closely with his own.
And that brings up an extraordinary fact. What has emerged in the second decade after 9/11 is a remarkable consensus among Democrats and Republicans on a core approach to the nation's foreign policy. It's certainly not a perfect alignment. But rarely since the end of the Cold War has there been this level of consensus. Indeed, while Americans may be divided, polarized and dysfunctional about issues closer to home, we are really quite united in how we see the world and what we should do about it.
Ever wondered why foreign policy hasn't figured all that prominently in the 2012 election campaign? Sure, the country is focused on the economy and domestic priorities. And yes, Obama has so far avoided the kind of foreign-policy disasters that would give the Republicans easy free shots. But there's more to it than that: Romney has had a hard time identifying Obama's foreign-policy vulnerabilities because there's just not that much difference between the two.
A post 9/11 consensus is emerging that has bridged the ideological divide of the Bush 43 years. And it's going to be pretty durable.
Paradoxically, both George W. Bush's successes and failures helped to create this new consensus. His tough and largely successful approach to counterterrorism -- specifically, keeping the homeland safe and keeping al Qaeda and its affiliates at bay through use of special forces, drone attacks, aggressive use of intelligence, and more effective cooperation among agencies now forms a virtually unassailable bipartisan consensus. As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign, Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids.

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