Captain Ed asked Mitt Romney how he would fight the global Jihad. Romney's answer:
Well, we face a wide array of nations that are under the threat of global Jihadist, and some like the Philippines or Indonesia the threat is of a very different nature of that, which is being experienced in a place like Iraq and so our involvement and the nature of our involvement is going to be different. So let me describe the kind of options we have. First, I would bring together other nations along with ourselves to make sure collectively that we are fighting global Jihad and that we are fighting it with our military as well as our non-military resources. In terms of our military force, in some cases it will require the kind of actions that you see in a place like Afghanistan, a full military attack. In others, a different kind of military effort would be called for. As an example, in the Philippines, an Army Special Forces team was able to help those people reject an offshoot of Al Qaeda. This was not, you know, men with rifles and tanks but instead a Special Forces unit that helped build bridges, build water projects, move the civilian population to support the Filipino government and democracy and ultimately that has virtually eliminated the threat of global Jihad there. And I have called for what I have described as a special partnership force; meaning the creation of small units of intelligence plus army special forces personnel which are able to drawn into a nation which ask for help, to support that nation in its effort to reject the violent and the extreme. In many cases, the Muslim nation itself will be able to do the best job in eliminating the threat of radical Jihad and we can support that effort through a special partnership force of the type I have described.
This answer is weak. First, he talks about working with other nations. Building coalitions has only sapped our strength for the last 20 years and convinced the enemy we're more worried about world opinion than self-defense. In order to show the enemy we are serious about war, we need to forget building a pretense of international cooperation and set about defeating the enemy alone. The most devastating message the enemy could get at this moment is that America does not give a damn what France thinks, we are going to destroy our enemy.
Second, Romney is talking about more altruistic nation-building instead of waging war. Notice what he envisions Special Forces doing:
This was not, you know, men with rifles and tanks but instead a Special Forces unit that helped build bridges, build water projects, move the civilian population to support the Filipino government and democracy...
Romney has no vision of waging serious war. There is no mention here of eradicating states that sponsor terrorism and no mention of going after Iran. His presidency will be an extension of Bush's neoconservative "Long War." We'll be pouring American tax dollars into every jungle on the globe, but the enemy will live on.
UPDATE: Romney stinks of pragmatism. It's common among Republicans. Toward the end of his life, Richard Nixon, the ultimate pragmatist, was asked how he would advise Bush 41 to defend himself against charges of flip-flopping. Nixon's reply, as I remember it, was, "Easy! Just say 'That was then, this is now.'"
It makes sense to a pragmatist. I mean, yesterday was a whole different day, with different circumstances to deal with. How can anyone keep principles when responding to the crisis of the hour?
Romney, with his long history of flip-flops, his emphasis on managerial expertise (don't they teach pragmatism at Harvard Business School?) and his seeming lack of any principled center other than religion, strikes me as very much a pragmatist. This is another thing to watch as we get to know him better. If he ever gets into the White House, he could make Bush look like Goldwater.