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A Dangerous Mind

Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow
August 30, 2012
Foreign Policy

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The speeches at this week's Republican National Convention, on top of those that Mitt Romney has been giving during the campaign, make clear that Americans face as stark a choice on foreign policy as on domestic policy. Whereas President Barack Obama has claimed the middle ground and crafted a strategy based on principled pragmatism, Romney is following in the footsteps of George W. Bush, relying more on bluster than strategy and veering to ideological extremes.

Contrary to the rebuttal to this article written by our colleague Peter Feaver, there is much good to be said about Obama's foreign policy. In this piece, timed to coincide with the Republican Convention, our focus is on what's wrong with Romney's approach. We'll respond to Feaver's critique of Obama next week as attention turns to the Democratic Convention.

It's not just Romney's positions on particular issues, however vague they may be, that are cause for concern. It's his core world view. Guided by a Republican Party virtually devoid of moderate centrists, Romney has embraced a global assessment distorted by ideological excess, pledged to wield power in a way that will leave the nation weakened and isolated, and demonstrated a failure to appreciate the key linkages between strength at home and influence abroad.

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