I know you're a busy man. But this foreign policy needs some more time and thought on your part, and before your next debate with Obama.
It's not that O's a foreign policy genius; he's not. It's not that his foreign policy is good; it stinks. But what you have crafted (excerpted below) is more of the same. Just as you want to remap the economic course of the nation, you should also want to remap the foreign policy course of the nation. Why? The fact is -- the fact your experts won't tell you -- through the Bush-Obama years our foreign policy course has been hijacked by a tiny band of extremists: Leftists, dupes and Islamic agents. Or, as we call them today, COINdinistas, neocons/McCainiacs and the Muslim Outreached.
I've read excerpts of your Monday speech at VMI at NRO. I'm going to skip your paeon to George Marshall, about whom the nicest thing I can say is that he is the most overrated of American statesmen (but if you win the election, the subject should be revisited). For now, I want you to imagine Uncle Sam were a Bain client with a big problem: his foreign policy isn't working and the cost in blood and treasure is taking him down.
With that in mind, let's take another look at your VMI excerpts.
The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts.
They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East—a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.
Uh-oh. I sense a McCain-like framework of "friends" vs. "extremists" fighting for the outcome of "Arab Spring."
Note to Mitt: ASAP, please have an aide read and report to you on Andrew C. McCarthy's Spring Fever.
The attack on our consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long.
Note to Mitt: Please don't "submit" to Islamic characterizations of the video -- or the cartoon, or the pope's speech, or the whatever the next object of Islamic rage will be.
I know the president hopes for a safer, freer, and more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope.
That's too bad, Mitt. This is where your coterie's ignorance of Islam gets dangerous. While there may be co-existence based on separation between the West and Islam -- your energy-independence goal is a great start -- there is no "alliance" possible between cultures so diametrically opposed at their philosophical and moral centers. The Islamic Middle East is a set of collectivist cultures rooted in Islam, where the individual, the woman, the non-Muslim are, at best, endowed with the paltriest of unequal rights by the state; nothing from their Creator. These are societies where freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech do not and cannot exist. There is no reason to hope for the common cause that underlies "alliance." Indeed, such hope is wishful thinking at best and, for a commander-in-chief, an irrational basis of policy. Would you, as Bain CEO, tell a client to commit vast expenditures of resources without reason?
But hope is not a strategy. We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity. . . .
First, what "friends" besides Israel? Meanwhile, we have backed up words with deeds in Iraq, for example, for eight long, blood-and-treasure-costly years and don't have a single friend in Mesopotamia to show for it. (Iran, however, does.)
It is time to change course in the Middle East. . . .
Agreed, but ...
I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear-weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft-carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated. . . .
I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The President has not signed one new free-trade agreement in the past four years. I will reverse that failure. I will work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships, and establishing new ones.
I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.
Again, who, where, what are you talking about? What you lay out here is not so much a US foreign policy vision as a paranormal vision of the Islamic world as a hotbed of small-d democrats with whom the United States can make common cause -- if only we can find "friends" to support there. This is the same failed premise of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, if Uncle Sam were a customer at Bain, would you advise the old guy to repeat the same business plan that has been bankrupting the company?
In Libya, I will support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.
In Egypt, I will use our influence—including clear conditions on our aid—to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets.
Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines.
It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
Note to Mitt: Think Bain. Our strategy has failed at great cost in four major markets (Baghdad, Kabul, Benghazi and Cairo). Why tell shareolders you're repeating the same failed strategy in a fifth?
And in Afghanistan, I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.
Note to Mitt: This is not the way to address the spectacular losses of US and other Western troops to those same Afghan security forces, let alone everything else. (Maybe we can talk more off-line.) Meanwhile, as you seem to have understood at the beginning of your presidential run, the Bush-Obama nation-building policy is a failure. US Out of Afghanistan ASAP, not the end of 2014.
President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war—and to potential attacks here at home—is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11.
I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders.
General Allen? Gen. Dempsey?
And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.
Secure the nation's borders, pursue energy independence, and, at least for the duration, shut down or sharply curtail travel to and from Axis-of-jihad and satellite nations. Also restrict visas and end Islamic immigration in order prevent a sharia demographic from gaining critical mass here at home.
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.
That's your "finally" point -- a miasmic vision of peace-loving democrats in a Palestinian state and more "peace process" by which Israel is further stripped and weakened? Mitt, You're a numbers-guy. Try this number: In a recent poll in Judea-Samaria and the Gaza Strip, 73 percent of Palestinians agreed with the canonical hadith (the words and deeds of Islam’s prophet Muhammad which have a weight often equal to the Koran), included in the Hamas Covenant, that quotes Mohammed on the necessity for "Muslims to fight the Jews and kill them."
In summation, you say: "America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years." I couldn't agree more. This president has been assaulting our economy and Constitution for almost four years. Four more more years of Obama's war on capitalism and liberty would be the end of both, so you have my vote. On foreign policy, however, you are, I sense, projecting the wishful thinking of your advisors, many of whom, shell-shocked and desperate after a decade of disasters, are unable to admit past mistakes and will doom you to repeat them.
Do take another look -- this time, as if the bottom line depended on it.