Wesley Clark says Romney has no national security experience

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:24 PM

Josh Rogin

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has no national security or foreign-policy experience and also has avoided giving details on how he would handle important foreign-policy issues, according to Gen. Wesley Clark, retired four-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

"(Romney) doesn’t bring any real national security experience to the issues at hand. He doesn’t have any foreign-policy experience. He has less foreign policy experience than Senator Obama had when he ran," said Clark, who launched his own unsuccessful run for president in 2004.

Clark also echoed comments by some conservative pundits criticizing the Romney campaign for avoiding detailing specific policies on major world issues, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Syria.

"Mr. Romney hasn’t delivered answers to the critical questions, such as what we actually do beyond the current actions to isolate and pressure Iran?" said Clark, who accused Romney of "throwing out a bunch of generalized charges and Cold War bromides that actually have no basis in reality."

The 2008 campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for president also focused on Romney’s lack of overseas experience during its primary fight with Romney. The McCain campaign prepared an extensive opposition research file that spelled out several of Romney’s position shifts on foreign policy and painted him as naove and inexperienced.

"Romney has no foreign-policy experience," reads the first bullet point in the foreign-policy section of the 200-page McCain opposition research file, posted in January by Buzzfeed.

Clark was speaking this week on a conference call organized by the left-leaning Truman National Security Project, along with former Pennsylvania congressman and Iraq veteran Patrick Murphy and Mark Jacobson, D, former deputy NATO civilian representative on Afghanistan.

The trio discussed Romney’s trip to Europe this week, which has been marked by a controversy over Romney’s comments that London might not be ready for the Olympics and by comments by an unnamed adviser saying that the Obama administration didn’t fully appreciate the "Anglo-Saxon" relationship between Britain and the United States. (The Romney camp has disavowed those comments.)

"He’s simply not ready for the diplomatic dance necessary when handling our nations’ relationships abroad, much less handling sensitive national security issues," said Jacobson. "If he can’t handle the Olympics, how can he handle being commander in chief?"

Murphy, the first Iraq veteran to serve in Congress, noted that Romney had not discussed veterans’ issues in this week’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign War conference. He also pointed out that Romney suggested a private sector voucher system for veterans’ healthcare in a speech last November.

"He didn’t say anything about what he would do for our veterans. That was odd at best, insulting at worst. Vets are not props," said Murphy. "Mitt Romney had an awful record on vets issue when governor, so it’s not surprising he avoided the topic."

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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