Former Secretary of State and retired U.S. Army four-star general Colin Powell criticized Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. When host Joe Scarbarough asked Powell if he was “concerned” with Romney because of the “neoconservatives around him,” the former Bush administration top diplomat didn’t hold back, criticizing Romney for calling Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” “Come on Mitt,” Powell said, “think.”
Powell added that Romney’s foreign policy advisers “are quite far to the right”:
SCARBOROUGH: Are you concerned with the foreign policy advisers that Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with. That there aren’t enough sergeants and there aren’t enough people with on the ground experience and we seem to have another Republican candidate who is sort of top-heavy when it comes to neoconservatives around him.
POWELL: I’ve noticed that. I don’t know who all of his advisers are but I’ve seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right and sometimes I think they might be in a position to make judgements or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought. For example when governor Romney not to long ago said “The Russian federation is our number one geo-strategic threat.” Well, come on, Mitt, think. That isn’t the case.
And I don’t know whether Mitt really feels that or — [...] He’s been catching a lot of heck from the more regular GOP foreign affairs community. We’re kind of taken aback by it. How could you say that? Look at the world, there’s no peer competitor to the United States of America.
Watch the clip:
Powell’s right. Romney has surrounded himself with foreign policy advisers that are a bit far to the right. Many of them helped push for the war in Iraq and many others are trying to do the same with Iran. Perhaps this is why Romney, as one of his advisers told the New York Times, “doesn’t want to really engage on these issues until he’s in office.”
In an article for the Nation earlier this month, Ari Berman writes: “Listening to Romney, you’d never know that Bush left office bogged down by two unpopular wars that cost America dearly in blood and treasure,” adding, “On some key issues, like Iran, Romney and his team are to the right of Bush. Romney’s embrace of the neoconservative cause—even if done cynically to woo the right—could turn into a policy nightmare if he becomes president.”