It would be hard to accuse President Obama of being a softy on foreign policy – he has escalated the war in Afghanistan, started another one in Libya, assassinated Osama Bin Laden and sat back while Israel has continued to colonize Palestinian territory. Yet Mitt Romney did just that in front of a Republican Jewish Coalition forum of presidential candidates:
Romney repeatedly returned to the president’s dealings with Israel. He accused Obama of “not finding time” to visit the Jewish state, drawing some boos and hisses from the audience. Romney promised to make a trip to Jerusalem his first foreign visit as president.
The Republican contender accused Obama of “insulting” the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and of “emboldening Palestinian hardliners”.
Obama and Netanyahu have clashed repeatedly over Israel’s continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including plans for an entire new settlement and thousands of homes in others which are regarded by the Palestinians as evidence that the present Israeli government is not serious about a negotiated peace.
Romney, however, blamed Obama for the sour relations.
“President Obama has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East,” he said.
It’s this type of insane logic that sets back US foreign policy and prevents serious debate in Washington. Romney has predictably adopted the ‘burn everything to the ground’ Bush doctrine to pander to the know-nothing xenophobic GOP base, and it means Obama will have to spend more time appearing hawkish on foreign policy. The debate gets dragged further and further to the Right, and America continues its nihilistic mission in the Middle East that still shows no sign of ending.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.