Governor Mitt Romney is going overseas…
On Tuesday, after delivering a speech in Reno, Nevada to the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their annual conference, Romney will embark on a six-day, full schedule, listening tour to England, Israel, and Poland:
The presumptive Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor will meet with the leaders of all three countries, other government officials, opposition leaders, and at least one U.S. ambassador. He plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, visit sites of historical significance, and hold public events in at least two of the countries.
Aides say Romney does not view the trip as an opportunity to roll out any new policy proposals. “This trip is an opportunity for the governor to listen and learn, to visit countries that share common values, common interests, and I should say in many cases shared heritage with people here in the United States,” Romney’s policy director, Lanhee Chen, told reporters in a conference call previewing the trip.
… While Romney is likely to highlight differences in his approach to international relations relative to Obama, he is expected to refrain from attacking Obama while traveling abroad.
A preview of The Gov’s itinerary…
Thursday, July 26, 2012:
Governor Romney will meet with British leaders including, Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Friday, July 27, 2012:
Romney will meet with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Later, he’ll meet with U.S. Olympic athletes and attend the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies. USA! USA! USA! (We know the strong passion The Gov has for the Olympics – the spirit of competition – and for the capacity of the games to inspire unity, mutual understanding, and respect across the world. Romney is known for his turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.) Also, if schedules can be coordinated, he may try to meet with other world leaders who are in London for the Olympics.
Sunday, July 29, 2012:
Romney has been to Israel three times in the past, on a family visit in the late 1990s and, in 2007 and 2011, on fact-finding trips focused on security and economic issues.
On this trip, he’ll meet first with Daniel Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who will give him a briefing. Romney will also meet with Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and will also sit down with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He has met them all on previous trips.
While aides say Romney will not specifically criticize the president’s Middle East policy while he is in Israel, he will continue to make the case for standing with Israel – as he often does on the campaign trail. “America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege like Israel, particularly democratic allies who have such a shared history and shared values with America” Dan Senor, a special adviser on foreign policy, told reporters in previewing Romney’s message.
In an op-ed written yesterday, former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (GOP) shares the following:
By sheer coincidence, Romney is an old and personal friend of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Romney’s first job after finishing up at Harvard was at the Boston Consulting Group, and Netanyahu was working there at the time and sat in an office down the hall. The two struck up a friendship and have remained close. If Romney were to become president, it would be an extraordinary chapter in U.S.-Israeli relations.
“There is little precedent,” The New York Times wrote recently, “for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government.”
Certainly Israel could use a close friend in the White House these days.
Over the last three years, however, the U.S.-Israeli relationship has been troubled.
President Obama does not seem to have personal affection for the Jewish state. He has publicly castigated Israel, including at the United Nations. He was caught on a hot microphone denigrating Israel’s prime minister, and when Netanyahu came to Washington he received him with marked coolness, neglecting to hold the customary joint news conference before asking the Israeli leader to exit through a rear door.
Romney will also deliver remarks while in Israel.
Monday, July 30, 2012:
Romney’s final destination is Poland, where he will meet with the current leadership, including President Bronislaw Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Romney will also meet with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. Walesa, who was president from 1990 to 1995 and oversaw Poland’s transition out of communism, was the one who invited Romney to visit his country.
Ian Brzezinski, another Romney adviser, said the visit to Poland will highlight an important alliance that is “rich in history” — from Polish support for the American revolution all the way through Iraq and Afghanistan, where the country has sent troops to assist in the U.S.-led war efforts. Romney will also point to country’s economic success, which he will say stems from free market principles and capitalism – the themes he pushes on the campaign trail at home.
“This is a country that stands in sharp contrast economically to the rest of Europe where economies are dropping by about 5% or more,” Brzezinski told reporters.
Romney will also deliver remarks and visit historical sights in Poland. The ‘Lech Walesa Institute’ said in a statement that Governor Romney is visiting Poland by special invitation, issued to him at the beginning of the month, by President Walesa:
“Poland and Poles are paying close attention to the election campaign in the United States, focused on choosing a leader for the American nation for the next four years,” Walesa wrote in the invitation dated July 4.
“Their choice will influence the fate of America and the world.”
Walesa refused to meet with Obama last year, saying “It doesn’t suit me.”
Romney’s invitation from freedom-fighter Walesa is, indeed, a high honor.
This will be a memorable week for Mitt and Ann as they find themselves in the international spotlight. It’s another opportunity for world leaders and the good people in England, Israel, and Poland to see that the USA has an opportunity, through Mitt Romney, to elect a strong, seasoned statesman who will once again respect our allies, strengthen our partnerships, and instill renewed confidence in the mighty cause of freedom.
To Mitt and Ann, Godspeed!
Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer