Romney/Ryan As A Foreign Policy Ticket (No, Not Really)

by evanmcmurry

One would think that, after Sarah Palin’s 2008 “I Can See Russia” Tour, the GOP would want at least one half of their ticket to be able to speak words in a sensible order about foreign policy. Instead, Republicans went the exact opposite direction: neither Romney nor Ryan has any foreign policy experience (unless you count this, which I hope we do). The complete absence of foreign policy experience is either:

a) an accident due to the weak GOP field that vaulted Romney to the nomination despite a lack of foreign policy credentials;

b) an inevitable (but still unintended) result of the mixture of Romney’s businessman-as-executive logic and the tea party’s anti-incumbent twitch, whereby the exact sort of position necessary to give one foreign policy experience is looked upon as Washington insiderism;*

c) absolutely intentional, as the neo-conservative wing of the GOP brooks so little nuance, to say nothing of dissent, in the execution of their policies that it’s better for them to have a vacuum in the White House that they can fill via advisors than anybody who might have an idea of their own.

Robert Farley essentially makes point C:

It is impossible for a member of a modern GOP Presidential ticket to hold what amount to “realist” views on foreign policy.  Indeed, it appears to be virtually impossible for members of the campaign team to hold such views. This is less because of the popularity of defense hawkery (even the GOP base is more skeptical of hawkishness than the tickets would reveal), but rather because neoconservatives have won what amounts to a virtual battle of annihilation at the elite level. The influence of the constellation of right wing think tanks over Republican foreign policy is especially pronounced with figures like Romney and Ryan, neither of whom have any foreign policy experience or appear to have thought very much about foreign affairs.

If you’re a neo-con, do you want somebody who’s been to Israel and Saudi Arabia, or has diplomatic connections and personal histories with foreign figures, or served on the Foreign Relations Comittee, running around the White House with his finger potentially not on the trigger? Nope. You want Romney, who will use his outsourcing business experience to outsource gather a cabinet of advisors whom you recommend to tell him what he does next, all while Paul Ryan is down the hall drawing a red line through Medicaid. Could you imagine the war room scene in which Mitt Romney disagreed with a room full of neo-con advisors about whether to bomb Iran? “Shut up, Olympics boy, and press the button.”

Long blah short: it’s at least possible that the Romney/Ryan ticket lacks foreign policy experience because somebody thought it would be a good idea that it did so.

* For the purposes of this argument, Michelle Bachmann doesn’t exist. Kind of want to stay there, don’t you?