Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy Disaster, Palestinian Edition
WASHINGTON – WHAT A DANGEROUS road Mitt Romney is going down, as he continues making a fool of himself on foreign policy. What he doesn’t know about the Middle East reminds me of when Pres. George W. Bush thought it was a good idea to push the Palestinians into elections that delivered Hamas to power, while Dr. Condoleezza Rice stood around saying who knew?
“I do,” Cheney replied. “I don’t think they were ready for it. I don’t think we should have pushed it.” – Liz Cheney, on “This Week” with Jake Tapper
Before leaving Israel, Mitt Romney let loose with a statement that defies diplomatic reasoning.
“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.” – Romney Comments at Fundraiser Outrage Palestinians [AP]
The Palestinian leadership blew a gasket:
“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.” He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.
Palestinian reaction was swift and pointed.
“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people,” Erekat added. “He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”
Mr. Romney should be made to watch the film “Miral,” which I reviewed after a special screening. Actually being exposed to a Palestinian would help.
Only Anthony Cordesman could get away with this, whose words from 2010 seem like another century today:
It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews. This does not mean taking a single action that undercuts Israeli security, but it does mean realizing that Israel should show enough discretion to reflect the fact that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world. – Israel as a Strategic Liability?, by Anthony Cordesman
Also back in 2010, Steve Clemons wrote something that applies when looking at what candidate Romney is trying to do to Pres. Obama, while Clemons mirrors what Mr. Cordesman said.
…Obama’s equation for moving Middle East peace forward was just too quaint and simple. Even though Israel is completely dependent on American security guarantees and aid and is genuinely a client state of the United States, the pugnacious prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, flamboyantly rebuffed Obama’s call to stop settlements. Obama, with some twisting and modification of his position, has essentially forfeited the match to Netanyahu.
During the early part of the John F. Kennedy administration, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev beat Kennedy in similar challenges and began to doubt Kennedy’s resolve and strategic temperament – leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, Netanyahu has become the Khrushchev of the Obama administration – and one wonders if a crisis lies ahead in which Obama will have to reassert his primacy lest the world think that Israel runs the United States and the Obama presidency. [...]
Fast forward to election 2012 and we have Mitt Romney threatening Pres. Obama with his presidency by using Israel as the weapon, with Prime Minister Netanyahu playing right along. Whether the Israeli Prime Minister likes Romney or not, is best friends or not, the message has been sent that he would be his tool.
This is some scary stuff we’re seeing unfold from Mitt Romney’s foreign policy shop. Just when you think the neoconservatives have been vanquished they’re allowed to crawl back in, through the short-sided ambition of a man named Mitt Romney who only knows what he reads about the Middle East from religious texts.
From ABC News, Romney’s Overseas Trip Continues With Another Fumble:
“One of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage, particularly when you’re traveling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinized for meaning, for nuance, for motivation,” Obama Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today in the White House briefing.
“And it is clear that there are some people who have taken a look at those comments and are scratching their heads a little bit.”
Scratching our heads is an understatement.
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.
TM Note: The above Tumblr take off occurred after the Romney campaign misspelled America in one of their online ads.