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Romney's Foreign Policy Speech

11:12 AM, Oct 7, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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First, Islamic fundamentalism with which we have been at war since Sept. 11, 2001.

Second, the struggle in the greater Middle East between those who yearn for freedom, and those who seek to crush it.

The dangerous and destabilizing ripple effects of failed and failing states, from which terrorists may find safe haven.

The anti-American visions of regimes in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba—two of which are seeking nuclear weapons.

And these forces include rising nations with hidden and emerging aspirations, like China, determined to be a world superpower, and a resurgent Russia, led by a man who believes the Soviet Union was great, not evil.

There is no one approach to these challenges. There is no Wall that the next President can demand to be torn down. But there is one unifying thread that connects each of these possible threats: when America is strong, the world is safer.

Ronald Reagan called it “Peace through Strength” and he was never more right than today. It is only American power—conceived in the broadest terms—that can provide the foundation of an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the United States and our friends and allies around the world.

American strength rises from a strong economy, a strong defense, and the enduring strength of our values.  Unfortunately, under this President, all three of those elements have been weakened. 

As President, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy.  I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.  Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood.

My strategy of American strength is guided by a set of core principles.

First, American foreign policy must be prosecuted with clarity and resolve. Our friends and allies must have no doubts about where we stand. And neither should our rivals. If the world knows we are resolute, our allies will be comforted and those who wish us harm will be far less tempted to test that resolve.

Second, America must promote open markets, representative government, and respect for human rights. The path from authoritarianism to freedom and representative government is not always a straight line or an easy evolution, but history teaches us that nations that share our values, will be reliable partners and stand with us in pursuit of common security and shared prosperity.

Third, the United States will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict. Resort to force is always the least desirable and costliest option. We must therefore employ all the tools of statecraft to shape the outcome of threatening situations before they demand military action. The United States should always retain military supremacy to deter would-be aggressors and to defend our allies and ourselves.  If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world.

Fourth, the United States will exercise leadership in multilateral organizations and alliances. American leadership lends credibility and breeds faith in the ultimate success of any action, and attracts full participation from other nations. American leadership will also focus multilateral institutions like the United Nations on achieving the substantive goals of democracy and human rights enshrined in their charters.  Too often, these bodies prize the act of negotiating over the outcome to be reached.  And shamefully, they can become forums for the tantrums of tyrants and the airing of the world’s most ancient of prejudices: anti-Semitism. The United States must fight to return these bodies to their proper role. But know this: while America should work with other nations, we always reserve the right to act alone to protect our vital national interests.

In my first 100 days in office, I will take a series of measures to put these principles into action, and place America—and the world—on safer footing.

Among these actions will be to restore America’s national defense.  I will reverse the hollowing of our Navy and announce an initiative to increase the shipbuilding rate from 9 per year to 15.  I will begin reversing Obama-era cuts to national missile defense and prioritize the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic missile defense system. I will order the formulation of a national cybersecurity strategy, to deter and defend against the growing threats of militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-espionage.

I will enhance our deterrent against the Iranian regime by ordering the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces, one in the Eastern Mediterranean and one in the Persian Gulf region. I will begin discussions with Israel to increase the level of our military assistance and coordination. And I will again reiterate that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

I will begin organizing all of our diplomatic and assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with the authority and accountability necessary to train all our soft power resources on ensuring that the Arab Spring does not fade into a long winter. 

I will launch a campaign to advance economic opportunity in Latin America, and contrast the benefits of democracy, free trade, and free enterprise against the material and moral bankruptcy of the Venezuelan and Cuban model.

I will order a full review of our transition to the Afghan military to secure that nation’s sovereignty from the tyranny of the Taliban.  I will speak with our generals in the field, and receive the best recommendation of our military commanders.  The force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully is a decision I will make free from politics.

And I will bolster and repair our alliances. Our friends should never fear that we will not stand by them in an hour of need. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I will count as dear our Special Relationship with the United Kingdom.  And I will begin talks with Mexico, to strengthen our cooperation on our shared problems of drugs and security.

This is America’s moment.  We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America’s time has passed. That is utter nonsense. An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender.

I will not surrender America’s role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President.

You have that President today.

The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity. My hope is that our grandchildren will remember us in the same way that we remember the past generations of Americans who overcame adversity, the generations that fought in world wars, that came through the Great Depression, and that gained victory in the Cold War. Let future generations look back on us and say, they rose to the occasion, they embraced their duty, and they led our nation to safety and to greatness.

The Greatest Generation is passing. But as their light fades, we must seize the torch they carried so gallantly at such sacrifice. It is an eternal torch of decency, freedom and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.

Believe in America. 

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America. 

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