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US AGAINST THE WORLD

Perhaps the easiest area to speculate about is foreign policy, on which Romney has been stubbornly and uncharacteristically consistent.

Romney brings to the White House as aggressive an approach to international relations as this country has ever seen. It is a philosophy of the benevolent bully. America, to his view, must seek out enemies and competitors, and cow them into submission or non-existence.

This will be an expensive proposition. Romney's call for a defense budget equal to at least four percent of GDP — it is currently around 3.5 percent and falling — would cost well over $100 billion in 2013 alone.

That might not even be enough to cover all his plans: 100,000 additional troops, large-scale equipment and armament upgrades, increasing our naval carriers, updating our nuclear arsenal, creating new anti-insurgency forces, and fast-tracking missile-defense development.

Meanwhile, Romney will likely withdraw from the New START treaty, ratified against his adamant criticism in 2011. This will bring to a halt the cooperative effort with Russia that is, finally, making real progress in cataloguing and eliminating nuclear weapons and material at risk of falling into rogue hands. A Romney administration will let wither on the vine other treaties in the works — or as Romney calls them in No Apology, "meaningless agreements that will not be honored by others."

Torture will most likely return as an American practice. Romney has long insisted that waterboarding is not torture. Last week Charlie Savage revealed in the New York Times that Romney's advisors have recommended that he reverse Obama's executive order that ceased the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

But the big question concerns Iran.

If we judge by Romney's rhetoric, his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the money he has raised from staunchly pro-Israel donors, then the conclusion is inescapable: By next summer, Romney will have ordered a full-scale aerial assault on Iran, intended not only to eliminate the country's nuclear program, but to cripple the nation to the point of inciting a popular uprising, to topple the Ayatollah's regime.

An Israeli diplomat tells me the Netanyahu government is frustrated that Obama does not see the necessity of this approach. Romney does.

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Related: Mitt's Charlie Card, Photos: New Hampshire Primaries, Friday, January 6th, 2012, Photos: New Hampshire Primary, Saturday, January 7th, 2012, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Mitt Romney, oil, GOP,  More more >
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