Sunday, September 30, 2012

Romney op-ed on a new Middle East

From a Mitt Romney op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:
Disturbing developments are sweeping across the greater Middle East. In Syria, tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, and the country's peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. U.S. embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests. And in Iran, the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel.

These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere "bumps in the road." They are major issues that put our security at risk.

Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies.

And that's dangerous. If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom.

We still have time to address these threats, but it will require a new strategy toward the Middle East.

The first step is to understand how we got here. Since World War II, America has been the leader of the Free World. We're unique in having earned that role not through conquest but through promoting human rights, free markets and the rule of law. We ally ourselves with like-minded countries, expand prosperity through trade and keep the peace by maintaining a military second to none.

But in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy. Our economy is stuck in a "recovery" that barely deserves the name. Our national debt has risen to record levels. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House. Finally, our values have been misapplied—and misunderstood—by a president who thinks that weakness will win favor with our adversaries.

By failing to maintain the elements of our influence and by stepping away from our allies, President Obama has heightened the prospect of conflict and instability. He does not understand that an American policy that lacks resolve can provoke aggression and encourage disorder.

The Middle East is a case in point. The Arab Spring presented an opportunity to help move millions of people from oppression to freedom. But it also presented grave risks. We needed a strategy for success, but the president offered none. And now he seeks to downplay the significance of the calamities of the past few weeks.

The same incomprehension afflicts the president's policy toward Israel. The president began his term with the explicit policy of creating "daylight" between our two countries. He recently downgraded Israel from being our "closest ally" in the Middle East to being only "one of our closest allies." It's a diplomatic message that will be received clearly by Israel and its adversaries alike. He dismissed Israel's concerns about Iran as mere "noise" that he prefers to "block out." And at a time when Israel needs America to stand with it, he declined to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East—that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability—and the regional instability that comes with it—is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us.

It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel. And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing.

The 20th century became an American Century because we were steadfast in defense of freedom. We made the painful sacrifices necessary to defeat totalitarianism in all of its guises. To defend ourselves and our allies, we paid the price in treasure and in soldiers who never came home.

Our challenges are different now, but if the 21st century is to be another American Century, we need leaders who understand that keeping the peace requires American strength in all of its dimensions.
Related entry:

Video: Romney on Iran and Israel at Illinois town hall

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Strongman Hugo Chavez endorses Obama

Venezuelan strongman, free speech repressor, Fidel Castro lover and election thief Hugo Chavez endorsed Barack Obama today.

From Reuters:
With both presidents facing tight re-election fights, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez gave a surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday - and said the U.S. leader no doubt felt the same.

"I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama," the socialist Chavez said of a man he first reached out to in 2009 but to whom he has since generally been insulting.

Chavez is running for a new six-year term against opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, while Obama seeks re-election in November against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Venezuela's election is next weekend.

"Obama is a good guy ... I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he'd vote for Chavez," the president told state TV, referring to a poor coastal town known for the African roots of its population.

Chavez is one of the world's most strident critics of Washington and his 14 years in office have been characterized by diplomatic spats and insults at the White House.
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Video: Mitt Romney on Hispanic conservatism

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(Video) Christie: “Stop lying, Mr. President. Gov. Romney is not talking about more tax cuts for the wealthy"

While on This Week with a Former Clinton Staffer, Governor Chris Christie had this to say about our erstwhile 'Hope and Change' president:

“Stop lying, Mr. President…Governor Romney is not talking about more tax cuts for the wealthy," Christie said. "In fact, what he said is that the wealthy will pay just as much under a Romney administration as they pay today."

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(Video) Univision reports on Obama administration's Fast and Furious Mexico carnage

I regularly tell people that with the exception of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the major media outlets are in the tank for Obama. You can add Univision to that list. Could the network be this year's October surprise?

From the Daily Caller:
Spanish-language television network Univision plans to air a television special that it said reveals more violence than previously known, as well as the stories of how many more Operation Fast and Furious victims were killed, the network announced in a Friday release.

"The consequences of the controversial 'Fast and Furious' undercover operation put in place by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2009 have been deadlier than what has been made public to date," the network said. "The exclusive, in-depth investigation by Univision News' award-winning Investigative Unit — Univision Investiga — has found that the guns that crossed the border as part of Operation Fast and Furious caused dozens of deaths inside Mexico."

Among other groups of Fast and Furious victim stories Univision says it will tell in the special to air Sunday evening at 7 p.m., is one about how "16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juárez in January of 2010: were gunned down with weapons the Obama administration gave to drug cartel criminals through Fast and Furious.

"Univision News; Investigative Unit was also able to identify additional guns that escaped the control of ATF agents and were used in different types of crimes throughout Mexico," the network added. "Furthermore, some of these guns — none of which were reported by congressional investigators — were put in the hands of drug traffickers in Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. A person familiar with the recent congressional hearings called Univision's findings 'the holy grail' that Congress had been searching for."
And there is video, courtesy of Hot Air:

Related post:

Video: Mitt Romney on Hispanic conservatism

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(Video) Simple and effective anti-Obama ad from the RNC

This Republican National Committee ad, entitled "Golden," just lays down the facts of why Barack Obama is a failed president.

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