The neoconservatives’ unapologetic approach to the world and America’s role in it – criticized as shoot first and consider the consequences later – was thought by many foreign policy experts to have suffered a humiliating fall over the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
But Romney’s foreign policy pronouncements suggest not only that the neocons are back, but that – when compared with the traditional multilateral internationalism exemplified by the first President Bush – they are in the driver’s seat.
“People like [former secretary of state] James Baker and George H. W. Bush must be very troubled by what they are hearing,” says Mr. Kemp, who served in the White House under President Reagan. “They can’t help but feel that their brand of American foreign policy is not what they’re hearing from the Republican candidate.”
One of Romney’s chief foreign policy advisers is Dan Senor, who hails from the Bush Iraq war team. Mr. Senor has also been assigned to polishing vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s foreign policy credentials, and some foreign policy analysts insist that the voice of the Iraq war enthusiast could be heard in Mr. Ryan’s assault last week on the Obama foreign policy for its lack of “moral clarity” and “firmness of purpose.”