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Middle East [Romney]

Author: Romney for President, Inc.

The Greater Middle East is experiencing the most dramatic change since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The protests that have broken out across the Arab world bespeak a generational yearning for a better life and for human dignity, and present an opportunity for profoundly positive change. History may show that the individual who moved the Arab world from autocracy to the path of freedom was not a head of state, but a humble Tunisian street vendor.

But the ongoing revolution is doubled edged. The region is riven by tensions, and Iran and Islamist extremists are seeking to influence events and expand their control. The future of democratic institutions in the region — and the security of the United States and its allies — hangs in the balance. Mitt Romney believes that the United States cannot be neutral about the outcome.

To protect our enduring national interests and to promote our ideals, a Romney administration will pursue a strategy of supporting groups and governments across the Middle East to advance the values of representative government, economic opportunity, and human rights, and opposing any extension of Iranian or jihadist influence. The Romney administration will strive to ensure that the Arab Spring is not followed by an Arab Winter.

Immediate Post-Revolutionary States: Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia

Nations in the Middle East in transition to new governmental structures face serious pitfalls on the road to more representative forms of government. Already, destabilizing jihadist forces and Iranian-backed elements, often better funded and organized than their democratic counterparts, are seeking to exploit the upheaval to make political inroads. A Romney administration will support those individuals and groups that are seeking to instill lasting democratic values and build sturdy democratic institutions that will sustain open societies in countries that have been closed for too long. Mitt will make available technical assistance to governments and transitional bodies to promote democracy, good governance, and sound financial management. He will convene a summit that brings together world leaders, donor organizations, and young leaders of groups that espouse the principles of representative government, religious pluralism, economic opportunity, women’s and minority rights, and freedom of expression and conscience in the Arab world. And in his first 100 days, Mitt will engage Congress and relevant executive branch agencies and begin organizing all diplomatic and assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one regional director. Unlike recent “special envoys” or regional “czars,” this official will possess unified budgetary and directive authority, and therefore real ability to create results. One official with responsibility and accountability will be able to set regional priorities, craft a unified regional strategic plan, and properly direct our soft power toward ensuring the Arab Spring realizes its promise.


The United States must recognize Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad for what he is: an unscrupulous dictator, a killer, and a proxy for Iran. For far too long, the Obama administration held out hope that it could negotiate with Assad to stop his violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. It even labeled him a “reformer” while he was turning heavy weapons on his own people. Mitt Romney holds no illusions about Assad’s character or about Iran’s interest in maintaining a client regime in Damascus.

Mitt Romney believes the United States should pursue a strategy of isolating and pressuring the Assad regime to increase the likelihood of a peaceful transition to a legitimate government. We should redouble our push for the U.N. Security Council to live up to its responsibilities and impose sanctions that cut off funding sources that serve to maintain the regime’s grip on power. We should work with Saudi Arabia and Turkey to call on Syria’s military to protect civilians rather than attack them. This effort would aim to drive a wedge between Assad and his military, minimize violence, and increase the possibility that the ruling minority Alawites will be able to reconcile with the majority Sunni population in a post-Assad Syria. And we should make clear that the United States and our allies will support the Syrian opposition when the time comes for them to forge a post-Assad government.


U.S. military and diplomatic personnel have made stunning gains in Iraq, pulling the war effort there back from the precipice of defeat. The 2007 “surge” of troops successfully provided security to the population and granted space and time for the Iraqis, our diplomatic corps, and our coalition partners to establish institutions of governance. This placed the goal of a democratic Iraq allied with the United States within reach. The Obama administration, however, has made decisions that threaten to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq and his decision to pull out all U.S. troops by the end of 2011 have unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. Reports indicate that our commanders in the field recommended a 14,000 to 18,000-strong residual force as the minimum necessary to carry out our transition mission. In light of these developments, it is impossible to forecast what conditions in Iraq will confront the next American president in January 2013. Mitt Romney will enter office seeking to use the broad array of our foreign-policy tools — diplomatic, economic, and military — to establish a lasting relationship with Iraq and guarantee that Baghdad remains a solid partner in a volatile and strategically vital region.

DMU Timestamp: May 03, 2012 23:39

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