Romney vows vast military growth
WASHINGTON — In his first major foreign policy speech, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney accused President Obama of damaging US credibility and global standing, saying that “feckless policies of the last three years” have weakened the nation.
“In Barack Obama’s profoundly mistaken view, there’s nothing unique about the United States,” Romney said in his widely anticipated speech yesterday at The Citadel in South Carolina, an early primary state.
Romney’s speech focused on maintaining a strong military and a vigorous overseas presence, which he said has been diminished under President Obama. He pledged to reverse Pentagon cuts under the Obama administration, saying the president has enfeebled the military.
“I will not surrender America’s role in the world. This is very simple: if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I’m not your president. You have that president today,” he said.
While the speech focused its criticism on the president, he cautioned that the nation must not “crawl into an isolationist shell,” a tacit criticism of fellow Republicans who argue that financial restraints require the United States to scale back its overseas footprint and cut foreign aid.
Romney laid out policy measures that he said he would pass in his first 100 days. They include a review of the Afghanistan withdrawal and transition plan; increasing the nation’s naval power by increasing shipbuilding; strengthening ties to allies such as Israel; and recommitting to a missile defense system.
The speech capped a carefully orchestrated rollout of Romney’s foreign policy and national security position, revealing the most aggressive move yet among the GOP contenders to stake out their position on the US role in the world.
Yesterday, Romney announced details of his foreign policy advisory team, which includes some old allies of Romney but many new ones as well, some of them high-profile members of George W. Bush’s administration.
The advisory panel of experts in foreign policy, counter-terrorism, diplomacy and national security is divided into over a dozen working groups, organized by region and issue.