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Houston Chronicle: Romney Takes on the World

Author: Steven R. Hurst
February 19, 2012

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Steven Hurst writes that Mitt Romney has taken the hard line on foreign policy, indiscriminately escalating rhetoric against both European allies and international antagonists.

The world according to Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney: Europeans are socialists. The Chinese are currency manipulators. Russia can't be trusted to abide by nuclear agreements. The Palestinians are out to destroy Israel. And the U.S. is too generous with humanitarian aid.

It often appears that Romney is targeting the rest of the world as fiercely as he does his rivals for the party nomination and President Barack Obama. It's not just expected foils like Iran that are in his line of attack. He takes aim at European allies, who are seen as slipping the capitalist leash.

The tough talk drives home Romney's criticism that Obama is an apologist for America, soft on its enemies and too forgiving of its friends. It's a message that might resonate with Republican voters, who sometimes tend to be wary of the rest of the world.

It also raises questions about whether the rhetoric could damage U.S. relations abroad in the event that the former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor wins the White House.

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