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Mitt Romney's Dangerous Foreign Policy Team: Nostalgic for Bush, Hellbent on War with Iran

The candidate's foreign policy team features the usual belligerence, mixed with some serious nostalgia for a thoroughly discredited foreign policy framework.

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All in all, the paper Cohen wrote the foreword to is an ode to US empire that pines for the Bush administration’s approach to international affairs. Having an official like Cohen figure so prominently in the campaign “represents a general refusal to repudiate the Bush administration's approach to intelligence gathering, its sunny view of the Iraq war, and its dismissive attitude toward the world community,” Right Web's Certo said. “It's a heavy nod to the ancien regime in an issue area that gets little attention from the public.”

2. Dan Senor. Well known for his past role as chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in American-occupied Iraq, Senor is closely linked to neoconservative policy circles. He is also currently a “special adviser” to Romney, and was a senior adviser for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. Senor is a co-founder of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a PNAC-linked group that advocates for US pressure on Iran and a military solution to the crisis in Syria.

Senor has acted as one of Romney’s go-to men on Israel, a country Senor has close ties with. Senor is a former intern for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and still has ties to the lobby group. His sister, Wendy Singer, runs AIPAC's operations in Israel.

“He'll essentially be a Netanyahu guy inside the White House. He's going to be the AIPAC enforcer,” MJ Rosenberg, a prolific critic of AIPAC who used to work for the lobby, told AlterNet. Rosenberg also worked as chief of staff for Congressman Edward Feighan, D-Ohio while Senor was an intern there in the early 1990s. “You can't be an American and be closer to the right-wing part of Israel than Dan Senor is.”

Senor is the co-author of  Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle , which lauds Israel’s economic progress while skirting mention of the Israeli occupation--an omission that, as the Jewish Daily Forward noted, aligned “nicely with recent public relations efforts by Israel to shift attention away from its problems and toward its achievements.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Senor and co-author Saul Singer (Wendy Singer's husband) “perceptive writers,” and quipped at a 2009 speech to the Jewish Federations of North America that Israel “is the start-up nation.” And when Netanyahu wanted to get a message across to Romney fast--that Netanyahu had played “no role” in billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s decision to bankroll Newt Gingrich--he relayed a message to Senor, according to the New York Times .

Senor is a contributor to various media outlets. In July 2010, before scheduled talks between Obama and Netanyahu, Senor took to the Daily Beast to argue that Obama “must reassure Netanyahu” in order to head off a “train wreck” for Mideast diplomacy. The argument dovetails with the view pushed by the Israel lobby that there should be no “daylight” between the US and Israel, and that disagreements on policy should be aired in private.

In September 2011, Senor wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the president had “launched” an “offensive” against Israel after a March 2010 announcement of new settlements in Jerusalem. In the same op-ed, he lambasted the State Department for considering Jerusalem, a city under occupation, separate from Israel proper.

Clearly, Senor’s position is that the US should never put pressure on Israel, which is exactly the position Romney professes. At a December 2011 debate in Iowa, Romney stated: “If we disagree with [Israel], like this president has time and time again, we don't do it in public like he's done it, we do it in private. And we let the Israeli leadership describe what they believe the right course is going forward.”

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