Oh my god. He’s been saying this since February.
This explains it. Apparently everything Mitt Romney knows about Middle East geography he learned from Fox News.
Well, thank God that’s over.
Last night’s foreign policy debate was excruciating. Romney looked pink and sweaty, which I guess was an improvement over the colorless, parched, death-on-a-cracker look he had in the last debate, but not nearly as amusing as the dipped-in-chocolate, say-hello-to-your-new-brown-friend visage he sported on Univision. I swear, a Romney presidency would be interesting for the makeup choices alone.
But no, overall I thought the debate was a hard slog. Any foreign observers watching must have been puzzled, because you’d think the full extent of America’s foreign policy is our military misadventures in the Middle East. And no wonder we’ve had such a hard time of it, when one of the candidates doesn’t even know basic geography. I mean, cripes. If President Obama had said that Syria was Iran’s route to the sea there’d be no end to the right-wing calls for Obama’s impeachment based on sheer incompetence.
Yup, Romney forgot Iraq. I wonder why:
Ah well. Can’t blame a Republican for forgetting Iraq, can you? The debate spent far too much time on the Middle East, anyway. Foreign policy is a much broader topic than that, but we never got to have those discussions. We didn’t discuss climate change, perhaps the greatest foreign policy challenge facing the nation in the decades ahead. We barely talked about China (but when we did, Romney’s record at Bain should have caused Bob Schieffer and President Obama to erupt in gales of laughter. Seriously, the guy who told his high-dollar donors that barbed wire and guard towers were to keep eager workers out of China’s slave factories, not keep them in, has zero credibility when it comes to China).
But I did hear Romney talk about the need for “nation building” in the Middle East — something I thought was anathema to the true conservatives, who want to cut all funding for things that aren’t bombs and waterboarding. I only heard the word “cybersecurity” once, and that was from President Obama — this just days after the Defense Secretary issued a chilling warning about the nation’s vulnerability to cyber attack. This was the fault of Bob Schieffer, who never seemed to get out of the Middle East with his questions — I guess because he was working so hard to keep Romney from turning the foreign policy discussion into a domestic policy discussion.
We never discussed the European banking crisis. We never discussed the United Nations, and other than Romney’s bizarre call for “nation building” overseas, we never discussed foreign aid. There was precious little discussion of trade deals, all of these “free trade agreements” that we’ve signed. Little if any discussion of intellectual property and copyright issues — Romney mentioned that in passing but there was no substantive discussion.
So all in all, a very unsatisfying debate and not all of that was the candidates’ fault. The “horses and bayonets” line was a good zinger but it didn’t relate to anything really important. I wish Obama had called Romney on his Middle East geography flub, because Romney was trying to claim that geography was the reason Iran and Syria are allies — which, let me crawl into my time machine, because isn’t that what we always heard about the USSR back in the ’70s? They needed a route to the sea?
I mean, whatever. The whole thing was just so much Kabuki as the candidates tried to prove who loved Israel the most and who hated Iran the most. It was all about the posturing and the optics, nothing at all about substance. Same as it ever was.