Romney takes on the world as he vies for US presidency
It often appears that Mitt Romney is targeting the rest of the world as fiercely as he does his rivals for the party nomination and President Obama. Could his rhetoric damage US relations abroad?
The world according to Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney: Europeans are socialists. The Chinese are currency manipulators. Russia can't be trusted to abide by nuclear agreements. The Palestinians are out to destroy Israel. And the U.S. is too generous with humanitarian aid.Skip to next paragraph
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It often appears that Romney is targeting the rest of the world as fiercely as he does his rivals for the party nomination and President Barack Obama. It's not just expected foils like Iran that are in his line of attack. He takes aim at European allies, who are seen as slipping the capitalist leash.
The tough talk drives home Romney's criticism that Obama is an apologist for America, soft on its enemies and too forgiving of its friends. It's a message that might resonate with Republican voters, who tend to be wary of the rest of the world.
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A key Romney foreign policy adviser discounts any potential problems.
"Other governments are not naive, and they understand the rough-and-tumble of U.S. politics just as we understand the rough-and-tumble of politics in other countries," said former Ambassador Richard Williamson, who held many top diplomatic jobs in Republican administrations.
"If he repeats these things when he gets to a debate with Obama, that would create problems," Pantzalis said, adding that at this stage of the campaign, "he can get away with it."
Romney's two main rivals, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, take similar tough stands on foreign policy. They all portray Obama as soft on American enemies, glossing over the president's order for the risky mission that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and a policy that has wiped out much of the al-Qaida leadership cadre.
But Romney's views are particularly noteworthy because he remains the favorite in the Republican race despite losses in recent nominating contests and a surge by Santorum in some polls. He has a big advantage in money and organization and an early lead in delegates who will ultimately determine the party's nominee.