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At a speech at the Citadel Military College in South Carolina on October 7, Mitt Romney outlined some of his goals for American foreign policy if he wins the presidential election in 2012. He made two large promises: first, he pledged to reverse cuts in defense spending, and second, he vowed to deploy missiles and ships.
He also assured the audience that he would rebuild the US economy, reverse President Obama’s “massive defense cuts,” and increase the number of soldiers in the military by 100,000. However, Obama has only slowed down the rate of increase in the defense budget, not cut spending. In the current fiscal year, Obama requested $533 billion for defense.
When Obama took office, the budge was $513 billion. In April, he asked the Pentagon to find where it would be feasible to cut spending by $400 billion in the next 12 years. Romney also wants to increase shipbuilding from nine ships per year to 15 ships per year. However, shipbuilding has been decreasing steadily since the 1980s because wars were concentrated on land.
Building military ships has not been a priority of the Pentagon for the last 10 years. The Navy said it needs a minimum of 313 ships. It currently has 284 ships, which is up from the 278 ships it had in 2007. The 24 Navy Aegis ships are equipped with missile defense technologies. Missile defense was another of Romney’s concerns.
Romney said he would like to intensify military presence against the Iranian regime “by ordering the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces, one in eastern Mediterranean and one in Persian Gulf.” The US currently has full-time military presence in the Persian Gulf, but none in the eastern Mediterranean.
At the Republican candidate debate on October 11, Romney received some hard questions from fellow candidates about his healthcare initiatives and his decision to support the Wall Street bailout of 2008-2009.
Rick Perry asked about the Massachusetts healthcare plan that requires uninsured residents of the states to obtain healthcare. The plan served as a template for Obama’s healthcare plan. Romney claimed that the plan does not raise taxes or cut Medicare; however, he claimed that the Obama plan does.
The next Republican party debates will be on October 18 in Las Vegas. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum will be attending the debate sponsored by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.
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