ND Expert: Romney’s challenge? To make Obama look like Carter on foreign policy

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Michael Desch Michael Desch

In Mitt Romney’s speech at the Virginia Military Institute today (Oct. 8), the former Massachusetts governor will walk a fine line in trying to make the case that he can restore America to global leadership.

“The last Republican administration’s global leadership after 9/11 was hardly a success, leaving us with two unsuccessful wars and a host of other unresolved global problems,” says University of Notre Dame Political Scientist Michael Desch, an expert on international relations and foreign policy.

“Conversely, unlike previous Democrats, Barack Obama has hardly been shy about using force and has some real foreign successes to point to, most notably the killing of Osama bin Laden and the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Given the unpopularity of the last Republican president’s foreign policy and Obama’s willingness to use force, Romney’s strategy is likely to shift.

“In order to differentiate his position from the president’s, he’ll probably resort to using the talking points of the extreme right in the Republican Party,” says Desch, “that Obama is ‘throwing Israel under the bus’ or that he was somehow at fault in the death of Ambassador Stevens in Libya — to make the case that Obama is Jimmy Carter redux. The Obama administration can parry that a Romney administration will be the second coming of George W. Bush.”

Contact: Professor Desch’s comments may be used in whole or in part; he is available for comment and can be reached at mdesch@nd.edu, 574-631-2792; Susan Guibert, Office of Public Relations, sguibert@nd.edu, 574-631-2867