Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There you go again

You know its a slow week in politics when Mitt Romney's name starts getting tossed around as a 2016 nominee.  It seems he has been continuously running for the Oval Office ever since he stepped down as governor of Massachusetts.in 2007.  Here he is again blasting away at the Obama administration and calling the Foreign policy under Hillary Clinton a "monumental bust."

The Bergdahl swap and the civil unrest in Iraq and the Ukraine has brought increased scrutiny of the Obama foreign policy, which has opted for a policy of containment, a long held US strategy until Bush ushered in a new era of preemptive war that appealed greatly to conservative hawks.  The rise of extremism in Iraq has brought these hawks out of the woodwork, decrying the Obama administration for having botched Iraq and giving the Taliban succor with his "unprecedented" trade for Bergdahl.

Mitt fancies himself a bit of kingmaker and has been hosting "ideas summits" in an effort to cultivate the type of leadership he favors in the Republican Party. He apparently was even going to invite Hillary this time around until all hell broke loose in Iraq.  Instead, Mitt went into full attack mode, fancying himself a foreign policy expert despite never having served in this capacity in his life.  I doubt he could tell anyone the difference between a Sunni and a Shi'ite Muslim.

Of course, the Republicans have shown themselves to be particularly weak in this regard, and the new crop of presidential wannabes similarly have little in the way of credentials to offer themselves to the public other than unwavering support for Reagan's famous dictum, "peace through strength,"  which many erroneously thought brought an end to the Cold War.

In this way, they differ little than Vladimir Putin, who has been flexing his muscles in Eastern Europe, stirring up unrest in the Ukraine and other former Soviet Republicans, in an attempt to maintain Russia's economic hold on these countries.  It hasn't led to desirable results.  Apparently, the recently annexed Crimea is in economic tatters, while Moldova and Georgia have openly defied Moscow by pursuing trade agreements with the European Union, which is what plunged the Ukraine into its current crisis last November.

These developments would seem to defend Obama's pursuit of containment rather than open conflict, but not according to the conservative hawks.  They firmly believe Obama has weakened America's position in the world.  No one moreso than Mitt Romney, who feels that if he had been elected President none of this would have happened.

Mitt seems to forget he was praising Putin shortly before the Russian president chose to annex Crimea, showing he was as clueless to what was going on in Eastern Europe as anyone else.  He, like many other conservatives, felt that Putin got the upper hand in Syria when Obama backed down from missile strikes.  Conservatives seemed to miss that Obama used this as a bluff to bring Putin to the negotiating table, given that Russia was Syria's biggest weapons supplier, and that Syria's chemical weapons date back to the late Soviet era.  But, in a war of words anything goes and here we are repeating the same old silly arguments we heard in 2012 on the campaign trail, most of which were completely debunked at the time, which is why Romney lost the election.

However, a politician has more lives than a cat, and comes back looking better than ever, at least among his constituency.  Especially, when no one rises up to fill the void left in his absence.  We've heard hardly a peep out of Paul Ryan.  Rand Paul and Ted Cruz appear all over the place but neither seems to have fully captured the imagination of the Republican electorate.  Rick Perry tries to mount a comeback bid, but his latest foray into gay pconversion has left him looking like a bigger fool than ever.  So, that leaves Mitt to save the day, hosting yet another leaership summit where no doubt he will put himself front and center.

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