With the final presidential debate fresh in my memory, I have to say that I wasn't surprised by the results. It is always hard for a challenger to go against an incumbent, especially when it comes to foreign policy, and this debate really showed it. On nearly every issue, President Obama reiterated what he believed to be are his foreign policy successes, and all Governor Romney could do was agree with the President that he would have done things in a very similar manner. Romney's only critiques were hollow conservative rhetorical cliches.
The only problem, of course, is that President Obama has been a consistent warmonger, hawk, and displayed a dangerous recklessness that Governor Romney would only emulate — or even expand.
From the outset, the debate turned into a competition on who would outhawk each other.
When it came to Libya, Egypt, Syria and the Middle East, Obama stressed his belief that the American government must play a role in "defending democracy," "liberating people" from tyrants, and preventing massacres. What Obama didn't mention, of course, was U.S. support for the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak up until the very last second possible, previous U.S. support for Gaddafi, and how the U.S. supports — both financially and militarily — nearly every single dictator east of Morocco. Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E., Qatar, the Saudis — all of these governments are either non-democratic, Islamic theocracies, authoritarians, or a combination of the three.
When it was Romney's turn to respond, he reiterated his support for Obama's basic principles of military intervention in the region. Romney's only problem seemed to be that Obama, while bragging that his military budgets have increased every year of his administration, is not spending enough.
Moving onto Iran, I was honestly surprised that Obama was the first candidate to bring up the supposed idea that Iran wants to "wipe Israel off the map." Romney brought up Iran at least five times tonight, and said that he thought they represented the biggest threat to us and the world. Obama puffed his chest about his "crippling sanctions" and how many innocent civilians are starving or lack access to medical care thanks to him, while Romney's only rebuke was that he would have put the sanctions on sooner.
Romney also spun a lot of lies out of his lips concerning Iran's "nuclear weapons program" — that thanks to Obama's appeasing, Iran is now four years closer to making a nuclear bomb.
First of all, the neocon cabal in the U.S. and Israel have been warning for two decades now that Iran is this close to getting a nuke. But even though it's only been less than ten years since they pulled the same lie about Iraq, you would think they would be a little less hesitant. But hell hath no fury like a noncombatant, I guess.
For anyone who doesn't get their news from the mainstream media or right-wing talk radio, all it takes is a few minutes of research to debunk their Iran lies. One of the biggest myths is that the President of Iran wants to "wipe Israel off the map." That is an absolute lie. And I am no nuclear physicist, but doctor Gordon Prather is. He has been writing for years debunking the propaganda concerning Iran's nuclear program, how they are abiding by the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, how they are essentially forced to prove a negative, and other Iran war propaganda.
In his closing statements, Romney says that he doesn't want a repeat of the last four years. I agree with you, governor, but you spent much of the whole night agreeing with the president on every foreign policy issue.
Romney's basic argument is that he will run the welfare-warfare state in a slightly more right-wing manner and manage it a little differently than the President. Romney is also surrounded by many of the worst neocons that were inside the last Bush White House, which scares me even more than Obama.
Predictably, there was no mention of other foreign policy decisions, like Obama's signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, the extension of PATRIOT Act, and his claiming of the right to assassinate U.S. citizens without 5th Amendment due process. The catch is, of course, that Romney agrees with Obama wholeheartedly.
On the issue of Predator drones (which I wrote about last weekend for PolicyMic), Romney says he supports them "entirely."
In other words, Romney's great challenge to Obama was one of rhetoric, not substance. Romney would change little about Obama's warmongering, and would likely even expand it. But something tells me the American people would rather choose the devil they know than the devil they don't know. The only problem is: it is still a devil they will be choosing.