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Re: Romney to VFW

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
July 24, 2012
National Review


Mitt Romney's very strong speech on foreign affairs today to the VFW is noteworthy for many reasons, and one of the most striking is the time he spent talking about the Middle East. Among the few countries he discussed by name were Iran, Israel, Egypt, and Syria.

Romney presented a coherent criticism of Obama's Middle East policy. First, he argued, the president abandons and criticizes friends such as Israel while engaging with enemies such as Syria and Iran. This has led to "shabby treatment" of Israel, especially at the United Nations, where "to the enthusiastic applause of Israel's enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem." Romney argued that "the people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the president of the United States."

The Obama desire for "engagement" also meant no reaction, said Romney, when the people of Iran in 2009 and of Syria in 2010 rose up against their oppressors. Those oppressed peoples "should hear the unequivocal voice of an American president affirming their right to be free" but instead the president "faltered when the Iranian people were looking for support in their struggle against the ayatollahs."

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