Mitt Romney delivered a blistering foreign policy speech this afternoon at South Carolina’s military college. In addition to invoking the names Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, he said that rebuilding America’s economy was critical for our national security. he also emphasized that he would reverse President Obama’s proposed defense cuts. As to specifics, the National Journal reports (subscription required) Romney committed to:
* Increase production of Navy ships from nine to 15 per year, and put aircraft carriers in two locations off the coast of Iran, which he identified as a major threat. One would be in the Persian Gulf and another in the Mediterranean Sea.
*Resume work on a multi-billion-dollar missile defense system to protect the United States from ballistic missiles. The project has been a favorite of Republican hawks since Reagan’s time, but dismissed by Democrats and liberals as technologically and financially infeasible.
* Step up the use of “soft power” resources in the Middle East, although Romney was vague in describing those resources. “Resort to force is always the least desirable and costliest option,” he said. “We must therefore employ all the tools of statecraft to shape the outcome of threatening situations before they demand military action. If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world.”
*Review Afghanistan policy, and “listen to commanders on the ground” about the pace of troop reductions there. In the past, Romney has articulated an Afghanistan policy similar to Obama’s, which calls for allowing Afghans to do the bulk of the fighting for their independence.
*Greater emphasis on U.S. relations with Latin America.