In Mitt Romney’s new book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, he apparently accuses President Obama for giving “kindling” to the “anti-American fires burning all across the globe.”
Ummm…so let me get this straight. We finally get a President who understands what it means to be a graceful diplomat and we are suddenly complaining? Is being able to give a decent speech a bad thing now?
Now, criticism doesn’t bother me. But if you are going to criticize, do it uniformly. If you are going to criticize big government spending, criticize Obama. But don’t turn around and praise Ronald Reagan as a saint. Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history, and “…in 2009 and 2010, tax receipts collected by Washington will total 14.8% of the economy. That is the lowest since 1950…Apart from the surging bills that Washington absorbs for health care, the surprising reality is that Big Government isn’t all that big by historical standards. Even with an economic stimulus, a bank bailout and two wars, non-medical spending by the federal government is a smaller percentage of the economy than it was during most of Ronald Reagan’s administration” (USA Today).
So if Romney wants to criticize, fine. But hopefully he mentions Bush when talking about creating anti-American feelings around the world. Whatever else can be said about Bush, it is clear that he wasn’t the best of diplomats. (For reference, see calling the war in Iraq and Afghanistan a “crusade.”) It was painful to watch Bush pound his chest after it took the American army only a short time to take over Afghanistan.
Obama has a drastically different style as a diplomat, one that was evident when Obama addressed China last year. (And, for what its worth, I believe that this change in attitude and perception was mostly what Obama received the Nobel Prize for.) China has already proved to the world that it doesn’t do well under pressure. Ask the students gathered at Tiananmen Square in 1989. It is important not to be a push-over in the world of international politics and trade, but neither is threatening and chest thumping conducive.
Romney further states, “The self-loathing of Western intellectuals should not hinder our sturdy defense of all that should make us the most admired and respected of nations. We must argue our case, leading others to eagerly join us in the case of liberty and peace.”
While that may be partly true, Americans have acted unilaterally for too long. I believe that we are entering a phase of the world when we can no longer act alone. Greater world peace will only be achieved with the help of the rising world powers of China, the EU, and India. And to win over these powers, we need to be aware of both America’s shortcomings and America’s greatness. Do we make mistakes? Sure. Is there anything wrong with pointing this out? I don’t believe so, and as Glenn Beck so gracefully stated to CPAC last week, the road to recovery begins by admitting you have a weakness. But is America still great? Yeah.
Romney’s statements as of late indicate that he is drifting further and further to the right.