Whether he meant it or not, and it’s entirely possible he did not, Romney said one thing in the “debate” last night that was extremely important and has been ignored in its entirety in all of the discussion that I have read so far. In talking of the threat of terrorism he said that, “We can't kill our way out of this mess. We're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world reject this radical violent extremism.”
That's actually a pretty amazing statement coming from anyone.
He went on to describe, albeit very briefly, that such a policy would include economic development, including foreign aid and encouragement of direct investment, education. gender equality and the rule of law. President Obama appeared to listen to that, but didn't respond to it, changing the subject back to whether or not Al Qaida is a threat and charging Romney with verbal missteps in earlier speeches, and we had no more discussions about “comprehensive strategies,” economic development, or fostering education. gender equality or rule of law in the Middle East or elsewhere.
There has been considerable discussion, although it did not come up in this debate, about Obama’s use of drones an “an instrument of foreign policy” and I have many times heard the killing of Osama bin Laden referred to as Obama’s “biggest foreign policy triumph,” all of which sounds like Obama’s foreign policy is, indeed, “killing our way out of this mess” and is a policy which meets with the complete approval of both political tribes.
I’m not surprised that the moderator did not follow up on Romney’s rather startling suggestion of a “comprehensive strategy.” He is, after all, nothing more than a potted plant who is there merely to look at his watch and ask the prepared questions at the prepared intervals. He certainly is not supposed to listen to the answers, assuming that what the “debaters” say in response to the questions actually are answers.
I am a little surprised, although only a tiny bit so, that I am apparently the only one who noticed what Romney said. For me that one statement, all by itself, was the debate winner.