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Mitt Romney's foreign policy stances garner attention, criticism

Published: Friday, Feb. 17 2012 5:42 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Cuyahoga County Lincoln Day Dinner in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.

Associated Press

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Has Mitt Romney adopted a hawkish persona to win votes, or are his opinions on the world shaped by reality? Either way, Romney's foreign policy rhetoric is currently taking center stage during the ongoing Republican presidential primary.

In a Friday Associated Press article, Stephen Hurst wrote, "The world according to Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney: Europeans are socialists. The Chinese are currency manipulators. Russia can't be trusted to abide by nuclear agreements. The Palestinians are out to destroy Israel. And the U.S. is too generous with humanitarian aid."

From campaign appearances, to debate performances, to op-eds in national newspapers, Romney's foreign policy stances have been widely disseminated, scrutinized and criticized.

Europe

In Romney's victory speech after winning the New Hampshire primary, Romney tied President Barack Obama's policies with Europe, saying the president wants to "fundamentally transform" America.

"He wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity," Romney said. "The President takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America. This president puts his faith in government. We put our faith in the American people."

Romney's criticisms come as the euro zone faces a growing debt crisis that is unsettling markets worldwide. Greece, which was swept by violent riots in response to a new austerity package, hoped Friday that it would win an additional bailout of $170 billion.

Moody's warned Thursday it may cut the credit ratings of 17 global and 114 European financial institutions, while last week Moody's cut the ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal. It also warned it could also strip France, Britain and Austria of their AAA grade. Standard & Poor cut France's and Austria's top ratings and downgraded seven other euro nations last month as well, Reuters reports.

"The U.S. must take care of its own crisis, and won't give a dollar to save Europe," Romney said in January. "Europeans have a duty to solve their crisis with the means at their disposal."

A member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, recently spoke at a gathering of conservatives in Washington, D.C., echoing many of Romney's European themes.

"You look at the reforms being undertaken by this administration, they're not a series of random initiatives that have just been lashed together accidentally, they amount to a comprehensive policy of Europeanization — European health care, European day care, European college education, European nuclear disarmament, European carbon taxes, the whole package," Hannan said. "When you adopt those things, you don't just become like any other country. You become less prosperous, less independent, less democratic, and less free. We are at the end of the road that you have just set out along."

Hurst, the Associated Press writer, questioned whether Romneys' rhetoric could damage U.S. relations abroad if he is elected president. However, Robert C. O'Brien, writing about the ongoing Falklands dispute at The Diplomat, suggested that President Obama's foreign policies are already sending the wrong message to other countries.

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