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Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy

Former Republican Governor (MA)

Unless US changes course, we’ll no longer be superpower

We face a new generation of challenges, challenges which threaten our prosperity, our security and our future. I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century--still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower. And to me, that is unthinkable.

America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world, whenever there has been conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. [The US] took no land. No land from Germany, no land from Japan, no land from Korea. America is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty, for itself and for freedom loving people around the world. The best ally peace has ever known, and will ever know, is a strong America.

Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference Feb 7, 2008

Putin is a troubling leader and an authoritarian

Q: When you look at President Putin, what do you see?

A: Putin is heading down the same road that we’ve seen authoritarian leaders in Russia and the former Soviet Union head down before, and it’s very troubling. You see a leader who wants to reestablis Russia as one of the great powers of the world, potentially a superpower, potentially the superpower. And he has -- the evidence of that, of course, is his elimination of the free press, his terrorizing and imprisoning political prisoners, \ and unexplained murders that are occurring. It’s another repressive regime, which he is overseeing. And the question is what do you in a circumstance like that and what it portends for the future of the world. What we have today in the world is four major, if you will, strategies at play. One, they’re the nations with the energy, like Russia. They’re trying to use energy as a way to take over the world.

Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley Jan 30, 2008

The US is the only major power believing in free enterprise

China is saying we’re going to use communism, plus sort of a Wild West form of a free enterprise. We’re going to give nuclear weapons -- or nuclear technology to the Iranians, we’re going to buy oil from the Sudanese. You’ve got China. Then you’ve got al Qaeda, which says we want to bring everybody down. And then finally there’s us, the only major power in the world that says we believe in free enterprise and freedom for the individual. And this great battle is going on right now, and it’s essential for us to strengthen other friends like ourselves, and to confront one by one these other strategies and help turn them towards modernity so that the world our kids inherent does not have to know war. Will there be war? Of course there will always be terrible events in the world. But let’s do everything in our power to keep war from occurring. Move these voices of moderation and having such strength in our own military that people never question our ability to respond.
Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley Jan 30, 2008

Free Cuba and eliminate threat of people like Hugo Chavez

Q: Cuban dictatorship has survived nine US presidents. What would you do differently?

A: You’ve got to think about who Fidel Castro is, and who Raul Castro is as well. We call them strongmen--dictators, totalitarian leaders. And yet these are individuals who are not strong. Look at what they have done: People wearing a wristband that says “change” are arrested--25 of them just for wearing a wristband. These Castro brothers are cowards, and we have to recognize they are cowards. And for that reason, the course for America is to continue our isolation of Cuba. It is not to say, as Barack Obama on the Democratic side said, that he would dignify the Castros with a personal visit to Cuba. That’s not the way to go. Instead, it’s to bring our friends together to isolate Cuba, to put together a strategy that helps all of Latin America, weakens Hugo Chavez who is propping up Castro. We need a Latin American policy that frees Cuba and that eliminates a threat of people like Hugo Chavez.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007

2006: Blocked services for Iran’s Khatami speech at Harvard

One controversy came when Mohammad Khatami, president of Iran from 1997 to 2005, was booked to speak at Harvard University. The topic, “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence,” was outrageous. During Khatami’s regime, he had shown little tolerance.

He said state funds could not be used to protect Khatami during his visit and that all requests from Harvard for police escorts or VIP courtesies would be denied. Amid protests, inside the walls of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Khatami gave his speech, but the students didn’t let him off the hook. They asked challenging questions about human rights in Iran. Ironically, they were doing the same thing Khatami had imprisoned students in Iran for doing years earlier.

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p. 39-41 Aug 31, 2007

To win the war on jihad, we need friends in Muslim world

To win the war on jihad, we have to not only have a strong military of our own--and we need a stronger military--we also need to have strong friends around the world and help moderate Muslims reject the extreme. Because ultimately the only people who can finally defeat these radical Islamic jihadists are the Muslims themselves.
Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

Encourage others to welcome democracy, without military

Q: Pres. Bush said in his second inaugural address, “It is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” Has Pres. Bush’s policy been a success, with all the elections going on?

A: Democracy is not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings of democracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in a place that has the rule of law. And that’s why our effort to spread democracy should continue, not to just spread votes, but instead to encourage other people in the world to have the benefits that we enjoy and to welcome democracy. There’s no question in this country, we need to reach out, not just with our military might--although that we have, and should keep it strong--but also reach out with our other great capabilities.

Q: Did Pres. Bush fail to appreciate the nuance you’re talking about now?

A: I’m not a carbon copy of Pres. Bush. And there are things I would do differently.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

Move Muslim world toward modernity so they reject extreme

I think when there’s a country like Lebanon, that becomes a democracy, that instead of standing by and seeing how they do, we should have been working with the government there to assure that they have the rule of law, that they have agricultural and economic policies that work for them, that they have schools that are not Wahhabi schools, that we try and make sure they have good health care.

We bring together not just America, but all the nations of the civilized world. We help draw these folks toward modernity, as opposed to having them turn toward the violence and the extreme. And that kind of a campaign of values, combined with our strong arms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Roosevelt said, that will help move the world to a safer place.

We’d love it if we could all just come home and not worry about the rest of the world. But the problem is, they attacked us on 9/11. We want to help move the world of Islam toward modernity so they can reject the extreme.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

US is not arrogant, but we have resolve

Q: If it came down to Iran having a nuclear bomb, would you authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons?

A: You don’t take options off the table. All over the world we’re seeing the same thing happening, and that is, people are testing the US. We have to make sure they understand that we’re not arrogant. We have resolve. And we have the strength to protect our interests and to protect people who love liberty. For that to happen, we’re going to have not just to attack each one of these problems one by one, but say, “How do we help move the world of Islam so that the moderate Muslims can reject the extreme?” And for that to happen, we’re going to have to have a strong military and an effort to combine with our allies in such a way that we combine for an effort to help move Islam towards modernity. There is a war going on, and we need a broad response to make sure that these people have a different vision.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Mitt Romney on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010