05 August 2011

Eli Lake - All Over the Map

Today's article is from The New Republic.

Nothing flashy for y'all today - just a sober, incisive breakdown (term chosen deliberately) of the foreign policy views of several of the leading Republican candidates for president. Special emphasis is paid, as it unfortunately must be, to their views on "radical" vs. "moderate" Islam.

Worth keeping track of, and something that stands out to me, is a brief aside about the need for certainty or assuredness on seemingly every topic, even on complicated or yet-to-be-resolved issues:
But, while such open-mindedness is an admirable thing, people also want to know that presidential candidates have strong convictions on the most important issues. And, with Romney and Iraq, it wasn’t always clear whether he did. His camp in 2007 was divided. One of Romney’s top foreign policy advisers, Mitchell Reiss—a longtime American diplomat who served as the head of policy planning at the State Department in the second half of Powell’s tenure—was a surge skeptic. But Dan Senor—an unofficial member of Romney’s inner circle who had served as a senior adviser and spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq—was a surge supporter, according to sources familiar with the 2008 Romney campaign. In the end, the surge forces won, and Romney never publicly questioned the policy. And, beyond the surge, Romney seemed content to take pages from Bush’s playbook on transforming the Muslim world. The neocons, after all, were the establishment—and Romney was the establishment candidate.

But, sometimes, it was possible to catch a public glimpse from Romney of what sounded like hesitation about the neoconservative worldview. At a debate in September 2007, Romney was asked about Iraq. He gave a rather measured answer in which he said that the surge was “apparently working”—two words that quickly drew a response from McCain. “Governor, the surge is working,” McCain admonished. “The surge is working, sir. It is working.” “That’s just what I said,” Romney replied. But McCain would have none of it. “No, not apparently,” McCain continued. “It’s working.”
Anyways... read this. It's worth looking at.

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