Mitt Romney: Diplomatic Dunce

Mitt Romney says that the Australian foreign minister told him that America is in decline and wants Romney policies to bring it back.

A few hours later, the Australian foreign ministry states that Romney’s account is “not correct.”

In other words, about to head on a foreign trip, Romney has managed to get into a spat with a longtime US ally before he even leaves the country.

Perhaps that is what the Australian foreign minister told Romney, although I doubt it.  In any event, you can be damn sure that any diplomat would not welcome a presidential candidate using a private conversation for political fodder.  The test of a foreign policy leader is whether he or she can keep things confidential.  Romney has just failed that test.  Unless, of course, they are his tax returns.

The next time Romney asks the leader of a foreign government for information, perhaps the answer should be “we’ve told you all you need to know.”

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

15 thoughts on “Mitt Romney: Diplomatic Dunce”

  1. When you are cooking, you are brilliant. Thanks for spending the time on this blog.

  2. If you are the Aussies, and your guy said that you think “God this Romney fellow is an idiot”. But if your guy didn’t say it, you think “God this Romney fellow is an idiot”.

  3. Romney says Carr suggested that America could improve that international perception “with one budget deal” that helps balance the budget.

    The Australians are damn right to be complaining about America’s decline. After all, they own our treasury notes. And a Romney led budget deal may very well help them out…by reversing America’s declining yield curve:

    1. If the Treasury securities Australia is holding right now have some positive coupon, they’re pretty valuable right now. Doing something to increase Treasury yields will reduce that value.

    1. I looked the actual video evidence up, just because it seems like such a callous comment. If you watch it, it actually seems like she says “we’ve given all people need to know.” The “you” that’s been added to the quote seems like a hiccup or um rather than a you. Watch for yourself:

      I’m not fighting for the other side. I think Romney is a plutocrat fundamentally motivated by money and his elite status. But I think it’s also worth being accurate and honest in our portrayals.

      1. Point taken, I hadn’t done any due diligence on the actual video, and agree about accuracy and honesty in portrayals, especially in these small details.

        1. The bigger “detail” is the tone of contempt and unaccountability in Ann (toinette?)’s overall statements in that interview. Doesn’t matter whether the one word stands, she indeed told us “all we need to know.”.

          I can’t believe anyone is taken in by these sociopaths.

          1. Actually, the first 5-6 times I saw the video, she did say “you people” although I think she was referring to reporters. Later, the you was gone. I wonder who edited the clip??

  4. No… We told *you people” all you need to know. As in…you little people. You who are so far beneath our notice we can scarcely believe we’re even addressing you non-VIP types.

  5. I’m sure the American people will forgive him for it.
    That is, the few who are bothering, in our decline, to pay attention to world and US news.

    By the way, since I am skewing the American public, did you hear the one about our Gen-xers and global climate concerns?

    Only about 5% of Gen Xers, now 32 to 52 years old, are “alarmed” and 18% “concerned” about climate change, reports the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research on Tuesday. Two-thirds, or 66%, of those surveyed last year said they aren’t sure global warming is happening and 10% said they don’t believe it’s occurring. “Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don’t spend much time worrying about it,” said author Jon D. Miller.

    Any idea what Romney plans to do about that?
    Oh wait, he’s a GW denier too…
    What a country!

    1. PS

      A friend, who out-curmudgeons everyone I know, after hearing this took a sip of beer and said to the table:
      You know I hope to live to be 120 just to see them suffer.

      Everyone laughed or snorted…
      And then clicked glasses…

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