The Financial Times has a great article at Mitt Romney’s “tough talk,” mainly to appease the ultra right wing, including the fabulously rich. The problem is Mitt Romney, who governed as a moderate in Massachusetts, is trying to be “severely conservative” to the point of sounding ridiculous:

Mr Romney has already called Russia, America’s “number one geopolitical foe”, and promised to designate China a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office – a move that could be a prelude to trade sanctions. In Israel, over the weekend, he came close to encouraging an attack on Iran.


Does Mr Romney believe all this good and evil, moral clarity stuff that he is tossing out for the Republican faithful? Who knows. I suspect that, after years of campaigning, Mr Romney himself struggles to remember what he actually believes. My guess is that his inner core, if he has one, would incline him to a coldly pragmatic foreign policy rather close to that of Mr Obama. Mr Romney is an establishment man and his campaign does not suggest he is driven by unbending principle.

The trouble is that campaign rhetoric cannot all be wiped away, like an Etch A Sketch, the moment that the candidate wins the White House. Mr Romney is currently staking out positions that would pursue him into office – to the detriment of America and the world. Source

If I recall correctly, the tough talk from George W. Bush got us no where. We invaded Iraq on a lie, allowed Osama bin Laden to escape Afghanistan into Pakistan and presided over the near-collapse of Wall Street and the mortgage meltdown.  We were widely reviled on the international stage after George W. Bush’s two terms in office. So much so, that an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush during a trip to Iraq. The ultimate sign of disrespect.

A trade war with China, a confrontation with Russia and war with Iran will certainly have far-reaching implications, worse than the tough economic climate we are dealing with. The biggest problem Mitt Romney faces is not being able to connect with Joe Six Pack. Just the Sheldon Adelson types. Even Ronald Reagan recognized he needed to mend fences with Russia, not continue the animosity.