spies, national security, espionage, counterterrorism, u.s. foreign policy, intelligence operations, CIA, special forces, counterterrorism, terrorism

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney's 3 am Phone Call

Arguably the most memorable political ad during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for the White House was the “3 AM phone call.” 

“It’s 3 am and your children are safe and asleep.  But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders. Knows the military. Someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world ... Who do you want answering the phone?”

If the last 36 hours are any guide, you don’t want Mitt Romney answering that phone. In fact, you don’t want him anywhere near the White House situation room, ever.

You do want Barack Obama picking up that phone. For if Obama’s surprising performance over the past three-plus years as commander in chief is any guide, he’s calm, cool, collected--and effective--in a crisis, no matter what you think of his domestic policies or drone strikes.

Romney, in contrast, is an excitable lad. He’s exactly what you don’t want in a commander-in-chief, which is to say, he’s impetuous, not to mention shallow.

And his record as the alternative face of American foreign policy in the last three months alone has amply demonstrated he is not fit to hold the office of President of the United States.

Whether insulting the British over their handling of the Olympic Games, or his craven pursuit of Jewish votes by allying himself with Israeli politicians who would drag us into a war against Iran, or his shoot-from-the-lip criticism of the Obama administration’s response to anti-American mobs in the Middle East,  Romney and his advisors have shown themselves to be way, way out of their depth in U.S. foreign policy.

Then again, why should we be surprised? Among his foreign-policy brain trust are the same neocons who manufactured the Bush administration’s disingenuous and disastrous invasion of Iraq, the upshot of which was to move that tortured country into a de facto alliance with Iran.

Some brains, those.

In sharp contrast to that dark chapter, Obama has been an unexpected master of delicate and intricate foreign-policy challenges. The Republicans’ attempt to paint him as feckless just won’t wash, unless people just aren't paying attention. 

First up was the largely bloodless withdrawal of US troops from the Iraq fiasco, a miracle on its own. 

Then came his dexterous handling of the Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, for which he received nothing but grief from caterwauling Republicans and inch-wide talking heads.

Then came the tricky Navy SEAL raid that eliminated Osama Bin Laden, which critics ridiculed by ... by what, exactly? 

Their complaints are too ridiculous even to recount here. 

By contrast, try to imagine how Mitt Romney would’ve handled any one of those. 

You can’t. Unless you live in a world of nightmares.

How Obama handled the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi alone should be enough to earn him a second term. In an eye-opening account by Michael Lewis, a master of inside baseball, in the current Vanity Fair magazine, Obama displayed all the talents Mitt Romney is so obviously lacking, starting with intelligence.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. It’s 3 am. 

Do you really want Mitt Romney taking that call?

Good lord. I don't even want to imagine it.