It seems to me that Mitt Romney has failed to do vital homework on his foreign and economic policies. Prior to his presidential campaign, he had years of leisure-time in which to travel, study, consult and develop coherent and carefully developed strategies and policies. His performance on the campaign trail is evidence that he didn’t prepare himself. His trip to England and Israel earlier this year was pathetic as evidenced by his ham-handed remarks about the Olympics and the Palestinians. (During his visit to Israel, his old pal Netanyahu effectively endorsed him and has subsequently done his best to embarrass President Obama.) Romney’s outburst about Libya and Egypt, before getting the facts, was tragic, desperate, and irresponsible for someone who wants to be President. His whining remarks about China smack of merely being against whatever President Obama does rather than stemming from a coherent strategy.
What would he do after he labeled China as a currency manipulator? How would he get them to play by the rules? Institute tariffs? Stop trade? Pay off our debts to them? Send in the Marines? He should be able to answer those questions if he has a strategy; otherwise he is just huffing and puffing for votes.
Certainly China is a currency manipulator. They’ve manipulated their currency and maintained tariffs since I did hi-tech business with them in the 1980s. They have cleverly used duties and currency manipulation to suck manufacturing jobs out of the US. However, I applaud their prudence. The responsibility of the Chinese government is to develop China, not to protect us against our own follies.
For more than two decades our government has failed to adequately protect our economy because of an irrational commitment to free trade. Ian Fletcher, in his book Free Trade Doesn’t Work, provides a solution that would also add more than $500 billion per year to government revenues without any tax increases! We seem to understand that we must manage the flow of citizens and non-citizens across our borders, and we work to stem the piracy of technical information by other nations. However, we completely ignore the need to regulate the flows of money, products and jobs. Pogo was right: we have met the enemy and he is us.
Romney is still in an “anger and blame” phase about making fundamental changes in the nation’s economic policies (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross On Death and Dying). He blames non-Americans for our wars and economic problems and demands that other nations change their policies to accommodate our foolishness. We need a President who can deal with reality as it is and lead us to productive internal changes. Romney has demonstrated that he is about as far from that requirement as you can get, in part because he chose not to prepare himself for the job and in part because he is mentally sloppy.
From my perspective, he is currently unfit to be President and too old to change.