Two weeks ago,accepted his party’s nomination for president without any mention of foreign policy or acknowledgement of members of the U.S. armed forces fighting in Afghanistan.
His resume is void of any experience on foreign relations. It is so void that President Obama, in accepting his own party’s nomination a week ago, jokingly decried Romney’s foreign policy experience as managing to insult the nation’s closest international ally during this summer’s Olympic Games.
After four years in office, President Obama’s foreign policy resume boasts of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as hunting down and eliminating key figures in President Bush’s terrorist deck of cards, including Osama bin Laden.
If truth be told, President Obama’s visit to Egypt during the first year of his term perhaps fueled the Arab Spring of a year ago. He opened up a discussion of freedom that got the citizenry in northeast Africa thinking about the relationship of the people to the government and vice versa.
When the will of the people moved to topple dictators who had been in place for decades, President Obama was slow to send military aide. He was careful to seek the voluntary relinquishment of power or a democratically shared system of governance.
After his diplomatic means failed, the president reluctantly gave rebels ground cover from the air. This air support helped topple dictators in Egypt and Libya.
So it was shocking to hear Mitt Romney on the campaign stump this week criticizing the president for being weak on foreign policy in general and, specifically, on responding to the attack upon the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya.
Mitt Romney’s tone was in the mien of a high school bully. President Obama said Romney’s approach is to “shoot first and aim later.” Even in the American Wild West, one would ask questions after shooting. Later armed with more information, Romney still refused to back down after shooting himself in the foot.
President Obama, ever the diplomat, ordered Marines to guard American embassy personnel in Africa and has scrambled two war ships into the area. He has made clear to new emerging Arab Spring governments that just because the old regimes were friends of the U. S., does not mean they will continue to receive that status without working hard to build a relationship with America.
Then the president issued the Obama Doctrine making clear the 21st-century American approach to international relations. The Obama Doctrine perhaps is the most important doctrine since the Monroe Doctrine, which warned foreign powers in the early 19th century to keep their hands off America.
Speaking to a group in Denver today, President Obama, consistent with his speech in Egypt, said, “The duty of America is to defend, protect and advance American values in the world.”
Republican political operatives are hoping that the embassy attacks will change the conversation in the election as the Democrats won the war of ideas at their convention in Charlotte last week.
However, changing the debate to a discussion of foreign policy may give Romney a new area to shout the president has failed the nation, but he runs the risk of pointing out yet another area where he lacks the experience and temperament to offer himself as a viable alternative to the president.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.