Eligible alternative: Mitt Romney

Eligible alternative: Mitt Romney

Nowadays it’s a popular opinion among Turkish intellectual circles that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate in the Nov. 6 U.S. elections, has filled his ranks of advisers with neo-conservatives from former President George W. Bush’s era.

Among the list of those neo-conservatives and defense hawks are former ambassador to Ankara and top Pentagon official during the Bush Administration Eric Edelman, Bush’s deputy national security aide Elliott Adams, former Bush State Department official and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney Elizabeth Cheney, former spokesman for the U.S. occupation forces in Iraq Dan Senor, Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Ronald Reagan administration aide and conservative intellectual Robert Kagan, and Max Boot, a leading military historian and conservative intellectual.

Most Turkish observers believe that these people have extreme right-wing views and that if they take part in a Romney administration they will make the world a difficult place for many, including the Turkish government.

Romney may not be the most intelligent and knowledgeable person in the world, but he has a “sly character” that only “eligible alternatives to the presidency” have. As Paul Richter explained beautifully in his Nov. 15 article in The Los Angeles Times, “As he seeks to appeal more to moderates, Mitt Romney is putting new distance between his campaign and some prominent Republican allies who are pressing him to adopt the rousing but politically risky foreign policy principles of former President George W. Bush.”

“Romney was groping for a ‘version 2.0’ of the foreign policy of the Bush era, but one that would more resemble President Reagan’s in the Cold War. It would seek to assert American leadership and values with a powerful military and bold rhetoric, but ‘with a more cautious view of where and when we use force,’” Richter said.

No matter who Romney admits into his administration, he would likely follow a pro-Reagan program, rather than pro-Bush methods. After all, the Bush-era neo-cons’ times have gone along with their example of very bad foreign policy.

Mind you, Romney also has approached the party’s most eminent “realists” the ideological rivals of the neoconservatives. He spoke by phone with former secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, James Baker III and George Shultz, as well as Bush’s top diplomat Condoleeza Rice and national security advisor Stephen Hadley.

So the Romney era would definitely be different from the Bush era, because he’s no lunatic or retarded. And, please don’t misunderstand me. I know that another presidential victory for Barack Obama would also be better for me. But a Romney victory wouldn’t be the end of the world for Turkey. I know this for sure, it may take some more time, as in the case of any major administration change, but it will still be O.K.

By the way, that would include a non-intervention policy in Syria, too.

Let’s end the article on a lighter note: The caricature of the International Herald Tribune on Oct. 18 depicted “the process of choosing the leader of the free world” as a selection between a “Kenyan-born Muslim socialist” and a “heartless rich liar.”