Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy reports that top Senators, including those who support Romney, can’t explain what his policy on Syria is…because he doesn’t have one:
“Mitt Romney believes the United States should pursue a strategy of isolating and pressuring the Assad regime to increase the likelihood of a peaceful transition to a legitimate government. We should redouble our push for the U.N. Security Council to live up to its responsibilities and impose sanctions that cut off funding sources that serve to maintain the regime’s grip on power,” the campaign website reads.
But the Obama administration is already pursuing a more aggressive strategy than that, announcing this week that it is abandoning the diplomacy track at the U.N. and ramping up various levels of support to the Syrian opposition. CIA teams are also reportedly vetting rebels fighters and aiding in their efforts to get weapons from countries including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.Administration officials say that increased communications and intelligence assistance is also on the way.
Romney has said repeatedly that the United States should “work with partners” to arm the Syrian opposition but has stopped short of calling for Washington to give the rebels direct, lethal aid. On July 19, after the U.N. Security Council again failed to impose punitive measures on the Assad regime following Russian and Chinese vetoes, Romney again criticized the administration’s policy without saying what he would do differently.
It’s well known by now that Romney has failed to differentiate himself from Obama on foreign policy, in part because one can’t get much more hawkish than Obama already is without falling off the deep end and marginalizing himself with wacko interventionists. Without admitting it, Romney has essentially endorsed Obama’s policies on Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Asia-Pacific, et al.
Rogin wrote a similar piece last week, except the hook was that top Senators couldn’t explain Romney’s Afghanistan policy. See here for my response to that, in which I said Romney is “intentionally evading because he is about as unprincipled as he was portrayed in the primary campaign. Romney’s convictions depend on their current political advantage. If having a conviction is unlikely to yield political benefits, Romney becomes indistinct, noncommittal. He seems to be rendering a crude imitation of exactly the sort of ‘empty suit’ Obama was accused of being in 2008.”