The World From Berlin 'Romney Has Already Disqualified Himself'
Republican contender Mitt Romney heads to Poland on Monday, the
last stop of an overseas tour that has already taken him to England and
Israel. So far, German newspapers have not been impressed with his
performance, citing embarrassing verbal blunders and superficial
In Jerusalem, Romney received a warmer welcome from Netanyahu -- the two worked together at Boston Consulting Group after they finished business school. In a speech Sunday evening in Jerusalem's Old City, Romney made clear that he supports more American cooperation with Israel. "We recognize Israel's right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with you," said Romney, who suggested that he might be open to Israeli military action.
US President Barack Obama has also reiterated Israel's right to defend itself, but has been more cautious, discouraging military action and saying that economic sanctions, including a recent European ban on Iranian oil, should be given time. On Friday he signed a bill that will step up American aid to Israel, also announcing $70 million in funding to help the country advance "Iron Dome," a short-range missile defense system that has already been successful in stopping rocket attacks in places like the Gaza Strip.
Romney sought to distinguish himself from Obama's Middle East policy, calling for a tougher stance on Iran, and saying that the America's "highest national security priority" should be keeping the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.
On Monday, German newspapers criticized Romney's visit to Israel as a shallow effort to win over Jewish voters in the US.
"Travel educates. As a result one should assume that Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger of Barack Obama, wants to learn something during his visit to Israel. Wrong! Almost everything that the candidate organized in Jerusalem fuels the impression that he doesn't want to try understanding how complicated the Middle East situation is. Instead, Romney paints the crisis region in black and white: Israel is good and the rest -- the Palestinians and the mullahs in Iran -- are lumped together."
"This one-sided world view is less dumb than it is coldly calculated. Romney is soliciting campaign donations in Jerusalem (the minimum price for two plates at breakfast is $50,000.) And he is ensnaring Jewish voters at home."
"The trip to Israel may help Romney in the short-term. But in the long-term the Republican has done damage. The Middle East needs the US as a mediator. As such, the presidential hopeful has already disqualified himself."
-- Renuka Rayasam