This is the fourth in a series of summaries of the foreign policy priorities of the principal contenders to be President of the United States. Today we examine the highlights of Mitt Romney's article for Foreign Affairs: Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges. Tomorrow we examine Rudy Giuliani's worldview.
The international environment is difficult but America has been more than equal to greater challenges in the past: "Today's challenges are daunting. They include the conflict in Iraq, the resurgence of the Taliban, and global terrorist networks made even more menacing by the threat of nuclear proliferation. While Iran's leaders relentlessly pursue nuclear weapons capabilities and spout genocidal threats against Israel, the world largely stands silent, unable to agree on effective sanctions even as each day the danger grows. Genocide ravages Darfur even as the world stands frozen. In Latin America, leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez seek to reverse the spread of freedom and return to failed authoritarian policies. AIDS and potential new pandemics threaten us in an interconnected world. The economic rise of China and other countries across Asia poses a different type of challenge. It is easy to understand why Americans -- and many others around the world -- feel so much unease and uncertainty. Yet although we face fundamentally different issues today, the United States has a history of rising to meet even greater challenges."
Petraeus deserves the chance to succeed: "Walking away now or dividing Iraq up into parts and walking away later would present grave risks to the United States and the world. Iran could seize the Shiite south, al Qaeda could dominate the Sunni west, and Kurdish nationalism could destabilize the border with Turkey. A regional conflict could ensue, perhaps even requiring the return of U.S. troops under far worse circumstances. There is no guarantee that the new strategy pursued by General Petraeus will ultimately succeed, but the stakes are too high and the potential fallout too great to deny our military leaders and troops on the ground the resources and the time needed to give it an opportunity to succeed."
>> Governor Romney's Foreign Affairs essay was written before Petraeus gave his first report to Congress on the early signs of his mission's success.
Too little has changed in US foreign policy following 9/11: "The jihadist threat is the defining challenge of our generation and is symptomatic of a range of new global realities. It is common to the point of cliché to talk about how much the world has changed since 9/11. Our president led a dramatic response to the events of that day and has taken action to protect the U.S. homeland. Yet if one looks at our tools of national power, what is surprising is not how much has changed since then but how little. While we wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. troop levels and our investment in the military as a percentage of GDP remain lower than at any time of major conflict since World War II. Decades after the oil shocks of the 1970s highlighted the United States' vulnerability, we remain dangerously dependent on foreign oil. Many of our instruments of national security were created not only before most Americans had access to the Internet and cell phones but also before they had televisions. Our difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with disturbing gaps in our intelligence, are well known. A growing number of experts question whether we have the capabilities to meet various transnational challenges, ranging from pandemic diseases to international terrorism. And while the United Nations has stood impotent in the face of genocide in Sudan and has been unable to address Iran's rush to build dangerous nuclear capabilities, we have done little more than tweak international alliances and antiquated institutions."
America must spend at least 4% of its national income on defence: "The next president should commit to spending a minimum of four percent of GDP on national defense. Increased spending should not mean increased waste, however. A team of private-sector leaders and defense experts should carry out a stem-to-stern analysis of military purchasing. Accounts need to be thoroughly scrutinized to eliminate excessive contractor and supplier charges and prevent deals for equipment and programs that do more for politicians' popularity in their home districts than for the nation's protection. Congress needs to set stricter lobbying rules and keep a far more watchful eye on self-serving politicians, current and past, in regard to these matters. The United States' strength goes beyond its military capacity. Indeed, a nation cannot remain a military superpower if it has a second-tier economy. The weakness of the Soviet economy was a vulnerability that President Reagan exploited. Our ability to influence the world also vitally depends on our ability to maintain our economic lead through policies such as smaller government, lower taxes, better schools and health care, greater investment in technology, and the promotion of free trade, while maintaining the strength of America's families, values, and moral leadership."
The technological revolution to deliver energy independence will be our equivalent of the Manhattan Project: "Our military and economic strength depend on our becoming energy independent -- moving past symbolic measures to actually produce as much energy as we use. This could take 20 years or more; and, of course, we would continue to purchase fuel after that time. Yet we would end our strategic vulnerability to oil shutoffs by nations such as Iran, Russia, and Venezuela and stop sending almost $1 billion a day to other oil-producing nations, some of which use the money against us. At the same time, we may well be able to rein in our greenhouse gas emissions... We need to initiate a bold, far-reaching research initiative -- an energy revolution -- that will be our generation's equivalent of the Manhattan Project or the mission to the moon. It will be a mission to create new, economical sources of clean energy and clean ways to use the sources we have now. We will license our technology to other nations, and, of course, we will employ it at home. It will be good for our national defense, it will be good for our foreign policy, and it will be good for our economy. Moreover, even as scientists still debate how much human activity impacts the environment, we can all agree that alternative energy sources will be good for the planet. For any and all of these reasons, the time for energy independence has come."
Alongside pushing for UN reform we must seek alternatives to it: "Clearly, the United Nations has not been able to fulfill its founding purpose of providing collective security against aggression and genocide. Thus, we need to continue to push for reform of the organization. Yet where institutions are fundamentally incapable of meeting a new generation of challenges, the United States does not have to go it alone. Instead, we must examine where existing alliances can be strengthened and reinvigorated and where new alliances need to be forged. I agree with former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar that we should build on the NATO alliance to defeat radical Islam. We need to work with our allies to pursue Aznar's call for greater coordination in military, homeland security, and nonproliferation efforts."
A summit to marshall support for moderate Islamic states: "I envision that the summit would lead to the creation of a Partnership for Prosperity and Progress: a coalition of states that would assemble resources from developed nations and use them to support public schools (not Wahhabi madrasahs), microcredit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic health care, and free-market policies in modernizing Islamic states. These resources would be drawn from public and private institutions and from volunteers and nongovernmental organizations."