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Mitt Romney's Long List of America's Number One Threats

March 23, 2014

Mitt Romney may be the happiest man in America today. After the recent documentary Mitt, some people concluded that there was more to Romney than the image of the cold, calculating parasite who pioneered schadenfreude as a wildly successful business model. And with Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea, Mitt has taken to the airwaves and the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal to proclaim "I was right" about his 2012 claim that Russia was "our number one geopolitical foe."
Of course, even a broken clock is right twice a day. And so it is with Mitt Romney, who alternately warned that Russia, China, Iran and Islamic jihad topped America's enemies list.
It was two years ago this week that CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked candidate Romney, "You think Russia is a bigger foe right now than, let's say, Iran or China or North Korea, is that what you're suggesting, Governor?" Blitzer could be forgiven his confusion.
After all, aside from a small section about Russia in a campaign white paper, the country has hardly appeared on Mitt Romney's radar. (In his 2007 foreign policy blueprint published by Foreign Affairs, the word "Russia" appears exactly once.)
And the obsacle to what Romney calls "an American century" is China.
"If you are not willing to stand up to China," Romney told a GOP debate audience in October 2011, "you are going to get run over by China." In February 2012, he took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain "How I'll Respond to China's Rising Power":

I will never flinch from ensuring that our country is secure. And security in the Pacific means a world in which our economic and military power is second to none. It also means a world in which American values--the values of liberty and opportunity--continue to prevail over those of oppression and authoritarianism.
The sum total of my approach will ensure that this is an American, not a Chinese century. We have much to gain from close relations with a China that is prosperous and free. But we should not fail to recognize that a China that is a prosperous tyranny will increasingly pose problems for us, for its neighbors, and for the entire world.

Then again, Romney suggested, the bigger threat may be Iran.
That was abundantly clear from Mitt's repeated proclamations that, "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon." As he explained in yet another Wall Street Journal op-ed ("I Won't Let Iran Get Nukes"):

Si vis pacem, para bellum. That is a Latin phrase, but the ayatollahs will have no trouble understanding its meaning from a Romney administration: If you want peace, prepare for war.

In case there was any question about the challenge from Tehran, Mitt Romney answered them in his October 2009 piece, "Iran: Biggest Threat Since Soviets":

The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany...If we allow Iran under the rule of the mullahs to get a nuclear weapon, it will make the problems America faces today look like a walk in the park.

Of course, a walk down memory lane produces a different version of Mitt's "greatest immediate threat." During his first presidential run, Romney warned that global Islamic jihadism was the successor to the USSR and Hitler's Germany:

Let me turn to another kind of challenge because those have been domestic challenges in large measure. This is one in relation to our foreign challenges. And that is the challenge of the jihadists - radical, violent Islamists. It's really this century's nightmare. It follows in the path of the Nazism and the Soviet Communism that were so devastating to so many of our fellow human beings."

Just in case there were any doubts, in the fall of 2007 Mitt Romney released a campaign titled "Jihad" conflating all Muslim threats, real or imagined:

It's this century's nightmare, Jihadism - violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism. Their goal is to unite the world under a single Jihadist caliphate.
To do that, they must collapse freedom-loving nations like us.
As President, I'll strengthen our intelligence services. Increase our military by at least 100,000. And monitor the calls Al-Qaeda makes into America. And we can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

After all, Romney warned in 2007, "Global jihad by radical violent Islam is the greatest threat." Except for Iran, which is the "greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany." Then again, "the dawn of a Chinese century--and the end of an American one--is not inevitable" as long as President Romney was in the Oval Office.
Where Russia would be "our number one geopolitical foe."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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