Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Insiders: Mitt Romney's Neocon, Hawkish Advisors on Foreign Policy

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The Wall Street Journal reported July 22 that Mitt Romney has gathered a coterie of establishment neoconservatives interested in war with Iran, as he embarks upon a trip to Europe. “Mitt Romney is relying on both moderate and hawkish neoconservative advisers as he embarks this week on his first overseas trip as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate,” the Journal stated

Among the advisors listed in the Wall Street Journal are:

  • Henry Kissinger (Nixon's Secretary of State)
  • James Baker (George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State)
  • George Shultz (Reagan's Secretary of State)
  • Richard Williamson (George W. Bush's Assistant Secretary of State)
  • Cofer Black (former CIA official, former vice president of Blackwater International)
  • Eliot Cohen (George W. Bush's State Department official)
  • Paula Dobriansky (George W. Bush's State Department official)
  • John Bolton (George W. Bush's former UN ambassador)
  • John Lehman (Reagan's Secretary of the Navy)

All of the advisors listed above, except CIA veteran Cofer Black, are current or former members of the interventionist Council on Foreign Relations, an elite establishment organization based in New York City. Of the list, only four were not announced as Romney advisors in his campaign announcement back in October 2011: George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and John Bolton.

While the Wall Street Journal observed that interventionist “veterans of George W. Bush's administration pepper the team,” the Journal omitted some of the advisors who ought to be more troubling to Americans concerned about their civil liberties. In particular, Romney's foreign policy and “Homeland Security” advisors contain former NSA head Michael Hayden (who created the warrantless wiretapping programs of the Bush administration after the September 11 attacks) and Michael Chertoff (who served as Bush's Homeland Security Secretary). 

The Journal noted that “Mr. Romney's campaign rhetoric suggests he isn't shying away from some of the tough policies advocated by his party's neoconservatives. He has issued sharp warnings about steps he would take to keep Iran from securing a nuclear weapon, dubbed Russia the nation's 'No. 1 geopolitical foe' and has promised severe sanctions against China.”

Neoconservative domination of the Romney campaign's foreign policy advisors also caught the attention of U.S. News & World Report back in April, and the group was labeled a “Neocon War Cabinet” by the leftist magazine The Nation in May. In addition, former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell told MSNBC in May that Romney's advisors were “quite far to the right,” implying they were too interventionist for his taste.

Photo of Mitt Romney and John Bolton: AP Images