Ten Miles Square


July 24, 2012 11:07 AM Mitt Romney: Diplomatic Dunce

By Jonathan Zasloff

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.”

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Jonathan Zasloff is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.


  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on July 25, 2012 4:06 AM:

    But this gaffe is of a piece with the contemporary Republican view of elections as an end unto themselves! To the GOP, this could be a serious misstep:

    - Not because revealing confidential conversations with foreign diplomats in order to win an election is wrong

    - Certainly not because twisting words out of context in order to win an election is wrong

    - Not because hurting the stature of the US, making us less safe, in order to win an election is wrong

    - But only if the pushback from the Australian FM actually hurts the probability of winning the election.

    They probably recognize they slipped up but only as a miscalculation. Undermining US foreign policy would be just fine if it would help Romney win the election, but it probably won't, so that is why it was a mistake.

  • Anonymous on September 03, 2012 5:05 AM:

    Why do people think this man is such a great business exec? In my opinion, he must be the money behind bain capital, because he has not shown the moxey it takes to make deals and manage such an organization. The real talent he has exhibited is lying. Probably the reason he refuses to display tax forms, is that his mormon brethern will discover he cheated the church.