Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Mitt Romney's gaffes abroad show his numbers don't add up

Mitt Romney's gaffes abroad show that his numbers just don't add up

By Mamoon Alabbasi | London
August 9, 2012

US presidential candidate Mitt Romney ended a three-country world tour of Britain, Israel and Poland without appearing to have learned much from his overseas trip. Even in his attempts to water-down the impact of some of his gaffes, following an influx of negative press, he seems to have stuck to the flawed logic behind them, especially when it comes to the economy.

It all started with what he thought was a simple remark regarding Britain's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games, when he said of the event- almost on the eve of its opening ceremony - that "there are a few things that were disconcerting." The event has been 15 years in the planning with an expected cost of £9 billion (almost $14 billion). The timing couldn't have been more distasteful, prompting one commentator to note that the Republican challenger "is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

But the irony goes beyond the lack of decorum in diplomacy, where such unconstructive criticism touched a nerve in the host country. Part of the content of the criticism – namely his comment: "the stories about the private security firm not having enough people …is not something which is encouraging" – is on its own a statement that should be held against the policies of the US presidential hopeful. Just weeks before the start of the Olympics, the private security company which had won the contract to provide guards for the event found itself unable to deliver on its obligations, prompting the British government to call on 3,500 troops and take other measures to fill the gap. One could say that it was the public sector (you know 'big government'?) that saved the day. Romney's advocated small government would have spelt disaster in such a scenario.

But does the nominee of the Republican Party recognise that? Not very likely. In fact, had he paid much attention to the Olympics opening ceremony, he would have also noticed the pride that the British public – righty – have in their National Health Service, which featured prominently at the spectacular show in London. Instead he chose to heap praise on the Israeli health care system for receiving less government funding than that of the US (Israel spends 8% of its GDP in contrast to America's 18%). Yet American health care is already in an unacceptable state, where thousands die annually for not being able to afford health insurance, how many more could suffer if Washington were to splash its spending by 10%?

I don't think the Republican nominee particularly cares, given his apparent blame for victims for their own misfortune, as can be understood for his comments regarding Israel's financial superiority over Palestinians: it's all a matter of "culture" and the "hand of providence". Not only the cause-effect relationship (which includes words like 'occupation', 'restrictions' 'displacement', 'refugees', etc.) was absent, but also a very important financial aspect was left out of the equation altogether. Namely that Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, where billions of American dollars continue to be spent on Tel Aviv despite America's current troubled fiscal situation.

In fact, just before Romney arrived in Israel, President Barack Obama had signed a law enhancing US-Israel security cooperation, which will add $70 million to the Iron Dome project. Under a Republican government which promises to be more "hawkish" towards Iran and even Russia, one can expect more military spending by the US. So if you fancy going back to the Cold War or perhaps starting a third World War or any other fanatic fantasy then Romney might just be your man. But if you believe that voting for him would help the American economy, think again.

*************

Mamoon Alabbasi is a news editor and translator based in London. His op-eds, reports, and reviews appear in a number of media outlets.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 



Peter Dunne: What Has Happened To Tolerance?

An unpleasant aspect of our current national character has come to light in recent times. When it comes right down to it, no matter what our pretences to the contrary, tolerance for a different point of view, or approach to things, is not a commodity in great supply at present, right across the political spectrum... More>>

Keith Rankin: Inflation Fears, Bullshit Costs, And Inappropriate Policy

It is true that New Zealand – and the rest of the world – now faces substantial inflation pressure. As the 2020s unfold, the biggest macroeconomic story – as in the 1920s after World War 1 – is likely to be about how we address these pressures... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: When Football Did Not Come Home

They were in with a shot. The English team, deliriously floating on chants of Football’s Coming Home, had made it to their first major tournament final since 1966. The UEFA European Football Championship would be decided at Wembley against an Italian side unblemished by defeat since September 2018... More>>


Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>




Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why The J&J Vaccine Isn’t An Ideal Back-up Option, And Haiti

The news that Medsafe has given approval to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine means the government is finally putting a backup plan in place, after the series of close shaves it has been experiencing of late in getting its deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine... More>>