Romney offers course correction at home and abroad

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Eventually, these bills will come due – and if we don’t fundamentally restructure our finances before then, either our economy will implode or we’ll be forced to adopt draconian across-the-board spending cuts that will make the sequestration cuts seem trivial. A country in either of those positions rarely exercises an effective foreign policy. 

A well-crafted foreign policy will improve our economy by binding America to like-minded allies that open their markets to U.S. goods. On this score, the Obama administration earns high marks for pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free-trade agreement with ten other nations. On the other hand, Obama squandered a golden economic opportunity by rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline extension from Canada. Foregoing this chance to create thousands of jobs and boost our energy security can only benefit the oil-hungry Chinese, who do not share the Obama administration’s self-defeating vision of a utopian “green-energy” future.

By contrast, Mitt Romney’s aggressive energy plan recognizes that marginalizing OPEC in favor of friendly oil suppliers like Canada, as well as expanding our domestic drilling, will improve our international security, disempower our adversaries, and reduce our likelihood of being drawn into future conflicts in the Middle East. 

Overall, Romney sketched out a dramatic course-correction for America’s world leadership. Recent events, including the spate of attacks on U.S. embassies, show that Obama’s approach of “leading from behind” has not reaped the intended benefits. In Syria, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, the Obama administration assumed we could improve relations by professing our good intentions and apologizing for our supposed past transgressions. Yet these appeals do not impress tyrants or Islamic extremists. Obama’s hot-mic incident, in which he assured then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he could show greater “flexibility” on missile defense and other issues after his own re-election, indicates that Obama believes his policy can be salvaged by offering more concessions to foreign leaders than American voters are willing to tolerate.

It is clear that the Obama administration’s naïve attempts to curry favor with hostile powers – by hailing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as a reformer, or by working to “reset” relations with the Putin regime, or by refusing to quickly and vociferously speak out for the Iranian people when they rose up against the mullahs – will not continue under a Romney administration. Both Romney and Paul Ryan understand that Obama’s foreign policy has largely collapsed in the morass of blame-shifting, evasions, and mistruths that have engulfed his administration since our diplomats were brutally attacked in Benghazi. 

America needs a new direction. We begin by making the tough decisions needed to eliminate our national debt – our children deserve to inherit a strong, prosperous country that acts confidently in the world, not a declining power in hock to its creditors and lurching from one fiscal crisis to the next. We need to draw more nations into a nexus of friendly relations and free trade, while putting our enemies on notice that attacks on U.S. embassies will have severe consequences, including an immediate suspension of foreign aid to host governments that fail to defend them. 

The Obama Administration had four years to show results. With its foreign policy in tatters and its officials unwilling to admit failure or consider new approaches, it is offering little to the American people other than four more years spent repeating the same mistakes. By recognizing the connection between fiscal responsibility, energy security, free and fair trade, and foreign policy, Romney and Ryan are offering a fresh approach that will restore our international influence and revive our economic strength.

Nunes (R-Calif.) is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.