- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
There was not much about foreign policy in Mitt Romney’s official announcement of his candidacy today. He suggested that the president has been "hesitant" about supporting the Middle East’s revolutions and picked up on the "leading from behind" theme. (You have to wonder if whatever White House staffer suggested "leading from behind" to the New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza realized they were scripting every GOP candidate’s first ad.) He also mentioned that the president had "traveled around the world to apologize for America" and had a zinger about the proposed U.S. withdrawal date from Afghanistan: "The Taliban may not have watches, but they have calendars."
Oddly, the region that got the most play in the short section on foreign affairs was not the Middle East, Central Asia, or China, but Europe. To his credit, Romney has avoided throwing in his lot with members of his party who have openly questioned President Obama’s citizenship or religion, but the former Massachusetts governor did repeatedly suggest that there’s a certain Continental flavor to the president’s leadership style.
He suggested that the president takes his cues and values not from the small towns of America, but from the "capitals of Europe." He said that Obama was proposing "European answers to American problems" and was treating Israel the way European countries do, with "suspicion and distrust."
At our recent Shadow Government event here at FP, the panelists suggested that a major challenge for the GOP field would be to make the case that Obama has made the country weaker and accepted the narrative of "American decline," without pandering to extremists who see him as not only un-American but anti-American.
Romney’s solution seems to be the label of "European," which, for the American electorate, carries the twin connotations of timidity in foreign affairs and socialist economic policies. (Though the stereotype also feels a little dated given that Western Europe’s major powers are, for the most part, currently ruled by conservative governments whose passion for austerity budgets is tempered only by their enthusiasm for bombing North Africa.)
The European attack may be a good way to play to the Republican base in the primary, but I wonder about it as a long-term strategy. American voters may feel threatened by terrorists from the Middle East, insurgents from Central Asia, illegal immigrants from Mexico, and workers from China. I’m not sure bureaucrats from Brussels pack the same rhetorical punch. We’ll see.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.| Daniel W. Drezner |