Mitt Romney gave a generally fine speech today on the Middle East. Sensibly, he criticized the Obama administration for its Benghazi shenanigans, for the "daylight" with Israel, fecklessness vis-à-vis Tehran, and the cuts in military spending. Very justifiably, he called it "time to change course in the Middle East."
But I worry about three specifics.
Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for president, speaks at the Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 8, 2012.
Second, except in reference to the attack in Benghazi, Romney pointedly avoids mention of Islam, Islamism, or jihad. Rather, he refers to "terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology," avoiding the real issue and portending problems ahead.
Third, his readiness to jump into the Syrian morass worries me. While one can hardly disagree with Romney's call to "identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need," those friendly members of the opposition are, in fact, a bedraggled few. Operationally, Romney is prepared to arm the Turkish-allied Islamists, a long-term prospect even more frightening than the Iranian-allied Assad regime now in power.
In office, I hope that Romney will shake the GWB-era illusions, not repeat them. (October 8, 2012)
Oct. 8, 2012 update: Diana West makes some of these same points and many others in a witty analysis, "Dear Mitt, Imagine Uncle Sam Were a Bain Client."