The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
I’m certainly among those who believe that should be the goal of any American president — not because Americans seek power and glory, but because if we will not accept the responsibility of leadership, who will?
Iran’s ruling theocrats want the job — and believe their ambitions are divinely endorsed. Russian strongman Vladimir Putin would be happy to be the boss because he thinks he’s tougher than anyone else on the block (and he may not be wrong about that). The Chinese will take the tiller, but is it not obvious that they view other nations and peoples as suppliers to them and markets for them — nothing more?
To the veterans, Romney also warned of the coming “arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats.” At a time of global conflict, that should be unacceptable to Democrats as well as Republicans.
It also should be clear to everyone that “the most severe security threat facing America and our friends” is the possibility that Iran’s rulers will soon be nuclear-armed. Romney stressed that he does grasp this.
I suspect that few swing voters are going to be swung by this speech. Their overriding concern is the economy. But it’s also true that unless the U.S. has a dynamic and growing economy, the national security challenges of the 21st century will become unmanageable. Romney recognized that: “A healthy American economy is what underwrites American power. When growth is missing, government revenue falls, social spending rises, and many in Washington look to cut defense spending as an easy out.”
Finally, Romney made the case for “nurturing our alliances and standing up for our common values. “ He criticized President Obama for breaking faith with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Israel while bending over backwards to accommodate the Kremlin, noting in particular Obama, not realizing his mic was hot, asking that a message be conveyed to Putin: “This is my last election.” “After my election I’ll have more flexibility.”
Flexibility to do what exactly? Why is this question not being asked more insistently by more reporters?