Romney: 'A New Course for the Middle East'

A good op-ed by Mitt Romney today in the Wall Street Journal about setting a new course for the Middle East:

Disturbing developments are sweeping across the greater Middle East. In Syria, tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, and the country's peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. U.S. embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests. And in Iran, the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel.

These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere "bumps in the road." They are major issues that put our security at risk.

Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies.

And that's dangerous. If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom.

We still have time to address these threats, but it will require a new strategy toward the Middle East.

A perfect summation of Obama's "Leading from Behind" strategy, as well as his still incomprehensible embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood as some kind of agent for Arab democracy.

But what to do about it?

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East-that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability-and the regional instability that comes with it-is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us.

It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel. And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing.

The 20th century became an American Century because we were steadfast in defense of freedom. We made the painful sacrifices necessary to defeat totalitarianism in all of its guises. To defend ourselves and our allies, we paid the price in treasure and in soldiers who never came home.

Our challenges are different now, but if the 21st century is to be another American Century, we need leaders who understand that keeping the peace requires American strength in all of its dimensions.

The key; "placing no daylight between the United States and Israel." The bickering between Obama and Netanyahu on defining a "red line" has only strengthened the Iranians in their determination to build a weapon. Our criticism of Israel's settlement policy has only strengthened Hamas and Fatah in their desire to get more Israeli concessions without even having to come to the negotiating table. And Obama's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood has alarmed Israel who knows that the MB charter includes the Allah-given command to destroy the Jewish state.

Romney would restore good relations with Israel but that won't be enough. Repairing the other damage done by Obama will be much harder and require steadiness and determination. The effort will raise the hackles of many Arab states who like it better when America takes a back seat in the region. But in the end, all will be better off with a strong America and secure Israel in the region.