We need to continue to strengthen alliances and relations with strategic partners like India and build stronger ties to influential countries like Indonesia. Our aim should be to work with all these countries bilaterally but also to encourage them to work with one another as they have begun to do. Our objective is not to build an anti-China coalition. Rather it is to strengthen cooperation among countries with which we share a concern about China’s growing power and increasing assertiveness and with whom we also share an interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and ensuring that disputes over resources are resolved by peaceful means. It is yet another way of closing off China’s option of expanding its influence through coercion.
A Romney administration will vigorously support and engage civil society groups within China that are promoting democratic reform, anti-corruption efforts, religious freedom, and women’s and minority rights. It will look to provide these groups and the Chinese people with greater access to information and communication through a stronger Internet freedom initiative. Mitt Romney will seek to engage China, but will always stand up for those fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.
ROMNEY: Foreign aid has several elements. One of those elements is defense, is to make sure that we are able to have the defense resources we want in certain places of the world. That probably ought to fall under the Department of Defense budget rather than a foreign aid budget.
Team Romney makes a point of drawing a harder line here than Obama. Criticizing Secretary of State Clinton’s declaration that America would keep human rights issues separate from economic ones, Romney vows to “vigorously support” groups in China that are pushing for democracy, religious freedoms and minority rights. This particularly means helping dissidents — a big sore spot for China — and pushing for greater internet freedoms.
He said he would “honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world” and he praised the “bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan,” but said nothing specific about how he would follow in their footsteps.
“There is a saying: campaign in poetry, govern in prose,” said Robert S. Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “In foreign policy, Mr. Romney’s campaign rhetoric to accentuate differences with Mr. Obama would run up against hard strategic and economic realities on a host of issues, from Iran to China.”
President Obama came into office as a near supplicant to Beijing, almost begging it to continue buying American debt so as to finance his profligate spending here at home. His administration demurred from raising issues of human rights for fear it would compromise agreement on the global economic crisis or even "the global climate-change crisis." Such weakness has only encouraged Chinese assertiveness and made our allies question our staying power in East Asia.
I happen to think it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to borrow money from the Chinese to go give to another country for humanitarian aid,” Mr. Romney said. “We ought to get the Chinese to take care of the people.”
Mr. Romney promised, in a major foreign policy address, to “apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict” and to ensure an “American Century” of leadership.
This galls me: We give 10 million dollars in foreign aid a year to China," Romney said during a speech earlier this month. "Its not that they're bad people, but the idea that a nation that is as large and robust and economically viable as theirs is getting money from us just makes no sense at all."