My gout is acting up, so I guess I’m obsessed at the moment with the word “lame.” Of course the New World dictionary defines it, suited to my present condition, as “crippled, disabled, esp. having an injured leg or foot that makes one limp.” But, it’s another definition that gives me pause to reflect on the presumptive Republican candidate for President: “weak, unconvincing, ineffectual, etc.”
Mitt is flying around right now trying to convince the world that he is not any of those things. First, he goes to England, then Israel and then Poland. He’s so ineffectual, that he can’t even get out of England without insulting our favored ally by implying that they aren’t quite ready for prime time Olympics, especially related to security. Just what we need in a Commander-in-Chief: someone so ineffectual and unprepared for big-time diplomacy that he insults the citizenry, and a major government. England was supposed to be something of a triumph for a former leader of the 2002 Olympics. Bloody unlikely, as my English relatives might say!
Romney’s itinerary should make us all wonder if he has any intention of addressing any real foreign policy issues. Oh yes, I know, Israel presents real foreign policy concerns, but what can Romney do about any of that, considering the fact that he holds no office, and is without power to negotiate. He just wants to cozy up to Bebe Netanyahu and make it look as though he is a friend of Israel. Unconvincing and ineffectual come to mind again, as he can do no more than declare his loyalty to Israel and Israel’s position in the Middle East, which he has now done.
Basically, he has indicated that Israel should not be criticized for taking actions which protect its position and sovereignty. In particular, he has made it quite plain that a Romney administration would support bellicose actions taken by Israel against Iran to prevent the construction of a nuclear weapon. He has also indicated that Jerusalem should be considered the capital of Israel and that were he President, he would work with the Israeli government to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would certainly lead to dire consequences as concerns the Palestinians, who claim part of that city for themselves. His bellicose talk about Iran is not what is needed, and gives little hope that a Republican administration would try very hard to avoid a war with that country.
By these simple statements, Romney has indicated clearly that he has little understanding of the issues, but that he puts ideology in place of the primary tool of diplomacy. Under the lame Mitt, we should expect another war, Palestinian animosity and rebellion, and a Middle East that is in turmoil of his administration’s own making.
And there’s the rub. It is the other countries of the Middle East that must be convinced to, at the very least, be at peace with Israel, and to pursue whatever legitimate forms of government will provide a voice for the people of those countries in their quest for democratic change, and their desire for success and well-being. Romney is simply in the wrong place. He could have gone to Damascus if he really wanted to make a splash. He could have added his admonition to that of the administration and said straight to Assad that it is time to step aside so that the tide of change can prevail.
Why should Romney go there if Obama hasn’t? Well, Obama has the creds he needs to get that message across. He doesn’t have to go there, personally. Obama has already demonstrated his strength and power in Libya, and Assad is not immune from that knowledge. He has sent his foreign minister, the Secretary of State, to tell Assad to step down. He has already demonstrated his resolve to bring to justice those who abuse the people of the Middle East and those of other countries, in bringing down Bin Laden and a growing number of his cadre of murderers. Ours is not an ineffectual President when it comes to the Middle East. Let us not fail to remember that President Obama has also led the way in putting Iran in a negative position, with countries turned against them, hard sanctions in place, and the UN and Arab nations strongly behind these attempts to keep Iran in line. But Romney? Well, here again the lame man of Bain is entirely ineffectual, not knowing what to do about Iran except perhaps to go to war.
Let’s take a moment with that last thought: War. Romney would have kept US troops in Iraq. Romney wants the generals to decide if the war in Afghanistan should go on and on. He doesn’t have a plan, nor an opinion, nor a position as regards what has torn this nation’s budget apart, along with tax cuts for the rich and the on-going expense of Bush’s war in Afghanistan. He doesn’t even know whether a plan for withdrawal is appropriate. Obama knows what he wants to do; has put plans in place for Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria.
Romney, on top of all this in the Middle East, wants to get us into a trade war with China. That’s terribly comforting. On his first day in the Oval Office (God forbid), Romney will direct his Department of Commerce to assess countervailing duties on Chinese imports, just after he has his Department of the Treasury list China as a “currency manipulator”, which should scare the pants right off them! Ineffectual -- you bet!. Romney says: “We need a fresh and fearless approach to that trade relationship.” One of his solutions is to keep counterfeit goods out of our country, and enforce intellectual property protections that we already have in place. Strange that the best he can do is enforcement of protections “already in place.” Too bad he has no original ideas of his own to offer.
Well, on to Poland where he landed today. Will he be able to get through this part of his trip without alienating some important group in that country? I don’t know, but if he talks at all about his opposition to labor unions, watch out! Come home soon Mr. Bain Brain; you’ve done enough damage overseas! We need you to come forth with more of your troublesome domestic policy statements. And, by the way, did you ever get to visit your off-shore financial accounts or any of the companies you helped move overseas? We’re still waiting for those tax returns to be released so we can see just what you are hiding from the public.