I swear I am not following politics this year. I washed my hands of it because it gets too heated and people sometimes take things personally, when they aren’t meant to be. We all have our own ideas of what is best for the country, just different visions on how to get there. But, every now and then, something comes up in the news and it’s in my face once too many times for me to ignore. Today it’s Mitt Romney and his remarks concerning London and the Olympics. I am having a hard time processing this for several reasons.
Mitt Romney basically insulted Great Britain and it’s preparedness for the Olympics when he said, “There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”
Romney made his comments on the first day of his visit to London. Way to go. Let’s face it, we are not the most popular country on the planet and what we don’t need from our “leaders” is for them to insult our allies. Foreign policy and diplomacy are supposed to be critical skills for the office of President of the United States. The President isn’t supposed to alienate allies, is he? Maybe I am missing something? I also fail to see what business is it of Mitt Romney’s how London prepares for and handles the Olympics? Did they offer him advice when he hosted it in Salt Lake City in 2002? I’m sure they know far better than he does the pitfalls of their city and what precautions need to be taken. Seems to me he got off on the wrong foot. It was a time when he should have been positive and supportive of London, an opportunity to further strengthen our bonds and celebrate their hosting of the games. Instead, he was critical, condescending and insulting. And there is no “backspace” or “delete” button once his words were uttered, they were memorialized for all time and spread like wildfire across the media and internet.
If this is how Mitt Romney chooses to approach our allies, what will he say to our enemies? Does he know the meaning of diplomacy? Do we really want him to be the person discussing more serious issues with foreign countries when he can’t seem to just be polite and congratulate London without causing a ton of bad press over insensitive and unnecessary remarks? He has angered our allies and put them on the defensive and no amount of backtracking is going to fix it, because they aren’t stupid and they know it’s just about damage control. I can just hear our “enemies” now, “if that’s how he talks about his friends, imagine what he has to say about us?” I don’t know about you, but it makes me nervous to think of him discussing disarmament and nuclear weapons with other countries.
I seem to recall, when President Obama was campaigning and went overseas, he won over many countries. So many countries welcomed him and were happy he was running for our highest office. He was praised and held in high regard.
Romney, on the other hand, not only made himself look bad, he made America look bad. His first “test” in foreign policy, “don’t offend your allies” was an epic fail. And this was just the beginning of his trip, he has more countries to visit. No doubt he will try to be more careful. Will he succeed in not alienating others, or is it too late? In any case, there will definitely be no Gold Medal for Romney in foreign policy.