Tonight the 2012 presidential hopefuls convene again to debate foreign policy and national security issues. Democracy in Egypt, defense spending, financial meltdown in Europe - the news is full of challenges to U.S. interests and to governments' very ability to meet their citizens' basic needs. But, as commentators from conservatives Marc Thiessen and George Will to the New York Times Editorial Board have noted, the debate is unlikely to produce new wisdom on America's role in the world or how to best keep Americans safe and prosperous in the 21st century. Following recent patterns, we can expect instead reflexive attacks on the Obama administration as well as a return to the neoconservative framework that defined the Bush administration, thanks to the presences of many of its architects among the candidates' advisors.
Today, Mitt Romney gave his "major foreign policy address" at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. The National Security Network compared his policy suggestions against the experts in a fact-check and a press call.
As the House of Representatives breaks for August recess, Members, candidates and all constituents should take a hard look at the conservative movement's positions on national security. The consistent message on national security coming from its leaders - especially the likely 2012 presidential hopefuls - is based on radical positions that are not rooted in reality. In particular, its leaders, such as Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin, have chosen political positions that advocate for policies that are far outside of mainstream America, run counter to America's national security interests and ignore the facts. By consistently putting politics ahead of national security, these extreme conservatives threaten to move the national security debate in a dangerous direction, one that distracts, rather than solves problems. As the United States faces a number of challenges worldwide, Americans deserve a debate that is based on the facts - not distortions.
Two weeks into the Obama Administration, instead of a serious policy debate over defense spending and priorities, conservatives have taken an Obama budget request for an 8 percent increase, in line with Bush Administration recommendations, and turned it into a “cut.” In today’s Washington Post, Robert Kagan – a prominent neoconservative – provides a perfect snapshot of the vacuous nature of conservative thinking on defense policy.