Mitt Romney speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 30, 2011. (Eric Gay/AP)In a move to highlight his national security credentials in the GOP presidential race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has publicized a new roster of campaign advisers working on foreign policy and defense issues. The announcement comes ahead of a major foreign policy speech that Romney is scheduled to deliver at the Citadel military college in South Carolina on Friday.
The new team, which the Romney campaign listed in a PR announcement to the press on Thursday, draws heavily on Republicans with mainstream policy credentials--a clear point of continuity with the playbook the Romney campaign has adopted in domestic, social and economic policy. The list features few advisers affiliated with the more aggressively hawkish or isolationist wings of the party--but the exceptions are notable.
Not surprisingly, the list leans heavily on veterans of past Republican White Houses. Here, for example, is a partial list of some of the more prominent former Bush White House hands now working on the Romney foreign policy team: former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim, former State Department Policy Planning Chief and North Korea expert Mitchell Reiss. The roster of George W, Bush veterans also include Robert Joseph and Stephen Rademaker, who both served as under secretaries of State for international security and arms control; former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky; former State Department envoy on war crimes Pierre Prosper, former spokesman for the U.S. viceroy in Iraq Dan Senor; and former CIA counter terrorism chief turned Blackwater executive Cofer Black.
Advising Romney on Afghanistan and Pakistan: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Ashley Tellis, and former Bush-era Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs James Shinn. On Asia: former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan Feigenbaum, now affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations. On Defense: former Reagan Navy Secretary John Lehman and Roger Zakheim.
Among those advising Romney on the Middle East: former Bush deputy National Security Adviser on Iraq adviser Meghan O'Sullivan, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Mary Beth Long.
However, some Washington Middle East experts have already flagged Lebanese-American scholar Walid Phares as a controversial co-chair of the Romney Mideast team.
"Walid Phares is advising Romney on Middle East policy? For realz? That's terrifying + not just because of [Lebanese Forces] LF history," George Washington University Middle East expert Marc Lynch wrote on Twitter, referring to Phares' past reported role with the right-wing Lebanese Christian militia during that country's civil war. "To be clear: I have nothing against Gov. Romney," the Center for New American Security's Andrew Exum similarly wrote at Twitter. "But appointing Walid Phares your M.E. advisor is NUTS." Phares, now affiliated with the National Defense University, was an outspoken advocate of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and of a hawkish Middle Eastern policy during the Bush years.
The region is the subject of such American national security preoccupation given the nearly 40,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iran nuclear issue, the stalemated Israeli Palestinian peace process and the Arab spring revolutions that have convulsed the region the past year.
Meanwhile, a key Romney nonproliferation adviser, the Heritage Foundation's Kim Holmes, has opposed American ratification of the U.S.-Russian START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which has been overwhelmingly supported by lawmakers from both parties going back to Reagan. The Senate ratified the new START accord last December.
Also advising Romney: Brookings foreign policy scholar Robert Kagan, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Kristin Silverberg, former Assistant Secretary of State for non proliferation Stephen Rademaker, two former Bush-era U.S. ambassadors to Brazil (John Danilovich and Clifford Sobel), former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and former Rep. Jim Talent (R-Mo.).
You can read the full (and quite long) list or Romney advisers below the jump:
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