Romney vs The Base: Foreign Policy Edition


by Gwynn Guilford and Patrick Appel

Dan Drezner skewers Jen Rubin's hatchet job of Robert Zoellick, who was just appointed Romney's national security transition planning chief. Rubin reflects a larger bias that requires Israel-love and China-hate as the price of admission. Writes Josh Rogin:

The chief complaint among critics is that Zoellick, who served as deputy secretary of state under Bush before being appointed to head the World Bank, is a foreign-policy realist who has seemed too friendly toward China and, as a disciple of former Secretary of State, not friendly enough toward Israel. Romney's vows to be tougher on China and closer to the Israeli government are key pillars of his foreign-policy platform.

Greg Scoblete mocks this Republican aversion to competence:

The last person we'd want advising Romney during this period of economic malaise is someone who's spent years working on international economic and trade issues! Instead, we need more people who cultivate the proper emotional attitudes towards countries and who write op-eds about the awesome power of "will" to make the world conform to American wishes. That will right the ship.

Noah Millman sees the episode as yet another example of Romney's weakness. Gideon Rachman applauds Romney's rejection of John Bolton-esque nationalism-driven foreign policy, sighing in relief that Bolton – who, along with Rice, have been rumored to be joining the campaign – won't likely be getting a cabinet post. Larison counters:

While the backlash against Zoellick is part of an effort to make sure that Romney keeps in line on foreign policy, some of the sudden enthusiasm for Zoellick is based on little more than wishful thinking that this appointment means a lot more than it does.

(Photo:  World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaks at the Peterson Institute for International Economics June 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. By Win McNamee/Getty Images)