Charlie Wolf

President Mitt Romney would be the business for Israel

By Charlie Wolf - Thursday 12th 2012f January 2012

THE NEW Hampshire Primary may only be the first election in a long nominating process, but Mitt Romney's decisive win there, as well as taking Iowa (which is a caucus), puts him in poll position to be the Republican nominee for President.

Taking into account the polls showing major dissatisfaction with Barack Obama and unemployment in the US, there is more than a likely possibility that Romney will be moving into the White House next January.

The reason people are voting Romney is clear. According to exit polls, two motivators come forward. First, he is considered most able to beat Obama, who many, especially independents, want out. Second, with his experience as a highly successful businessman, he is best to resurrect the US economy and get people back to work.

But the question outside the United States, here in the United Kingdom and, of interest to Jewish News readers, is: what impact will a Romney presidency have on Israel?

I think it will be better, especially because of his experience in business.
So how would a businessman succeed at diplomacy with little or no foreign relations experience? Very easily.

First, after Obama, anyone, even the isolationist Ron Paul, would be an improvement! Well, all right, maybe not Ron Paul, but it is well accepted that Mr Obama is not interested in foreign relations, with either the United Kingdom (even after his successful state visit) or, especially, Israel.

The difference between Obama and Romney is that one is a professor and the other is a businessman. Even White House insiders have complained that Mr Obama likes to keep to himself. He does not get on the telephone to build relations with other world leaders (unlike Bush or Clinton) or with Congress or even members of his own party. Except for campaigning, he isolates himself in the Oval Office.

This is typical of a professor. He believes his intellectualism is supreme and is not to be questioned. Professors stand at the front of the class and lecture. It is a one-way communication with very little relationship building.
This is not leadership. Yes, at times the Republican-dominated House of Representatives has been obstinate and recalcitrant. But it is up to a leader to overcome this. Obama has failed.

The whole point about being a successful businessman, such as Romney, is the ability to negotiate deals. He has been doing it his whole business life. Negotiating is not about just getting what you want, but sitting around a table, finding common ground as a starting point, knowing and being able to define your goals and finding a way to bring parties together. Lines like, "Hey guys, we won", used in the early days of the Obama administration, would not be used by a proper negotiator like Mitt Romney.

Romney, unlike Obama, values relationships, especially with friends and allies. Sitting around a negotiating table, if anyone can take the disparate positions of the Israelis and Palestinians, analyse them, find common ground and areas where agreement can be found it is Romney.

Romney also posseses the skill, and it is not an easy one, to know when to walk away from a deal. That has been our problem, going back several administrations, with the Palestinians. We are so desperate for a treaty, for a result, any result, we give them all kinds of passes. Just keeping them at the table, just to keep the process alive does not help anyone. We continue to enable them to hold positions of pure fantasy (such as having a state and right of return), or empower them to commit acts of terror and evil.

Sometimes, having the guts to walk away from the table is the best way to show one is serious about protecting their position on red-line issues and bringing parties back together.

Romney is also bolstered by his time as Governor of Massachusetts. Remember, Romney was a conservative Republican governing one of the most liberal states in the nation with a majority Democratic legislature.

America needs someone who can unite the country. Someone who can get Americans back to work. When America’s economy is strong, the world benefits. A strong America also gives us the ability to return to leading on the world stage, and not from behind. Dealing with an ascendant China and Russia, America needs someone who is not just tough at the table, but actually gets people around the table.

As far as Israel is concerned, they need someone who believes in an America that is a "city upon a hill" and is confident in her position as a beacon of liberty. One who is committed to standing up for allies and not embarrassed by American power to do so. That sounds a lot like Mitt Romney. It definitely is not Barack Obama.