As we all know, Mitt's not exactly great at the whole "diplomacy" thing, having managed to achieve a disastrous run of screw-ups that any mildly competent official should have been able to avoid.
Simply put, Mitt doesn't know how to be the leader of our nation's foreign policy.
Well, something major happened today in international affairs. Coverage has been low-key in light of Akin taking the spotlight (I wouldn't know about it at all if the restaurant my wife picked for dinner tonight hadn't been showing a live feed of Ethiopian State TV), but the news today that Ethiopia's prime minister for the last 21 years, Meles Zenawi, has died, is still major.
Our national relationship with Meles was strange. He was repressive and brutal, known for arresting journalists, rigging elections, and doing whatever he could to consolidate power. At the same time, he effectively grew Ethiopia's economy, helped broker settlements in the Sudan, and assisted with the fight to contain Islamic extremism in East Africa, a new hotbed of radicalism that intelligence experts and agencies have been monitoring closely for some years now.
Ethiopia isn't set up for a transition of power, and it's likely that factions will begin battling for control. How should our State Department view the situation? Should we involve ourselves? What of our regional interests? Should American businesses located in-country start exiting? What of our counterterrorism efforts? Can we help with preventing further conflict with Eritrea?
Somalia, which shares a large border with Ethiopia, just swore in its new parliament, so that government is still in its most embryonic form, and might well collapse if a cross-border resistance group maintains enough pressure. Sudan and South Sudan are likely to come to blows at some point in the not-too-distant future, and the growth of rebel movements within South Sudan is ominous. And without its long-time leader ruling the nation, the Ethiopian people might finally seize the opportunity to breathe free of oppression, following the lead of other African states.
How would President Romney handle a situation like this?
All of these potentially volatile factors require an administration capable of nuanced, detailed, and delicate diplomatic efforts. Yet not only has Romney shown himself to be nothing short of a klutz on the international stage, his foreign policy advisory team reads like a roll call of the stupid, savage, and shameless leftovers from Bush's biggest blunders. They're about as subtle as a battery of howitzers.
Right now, East Africa is entering dangerous and uncharted waters. We need someone with a mind for diplomacy, and a foreign policy team with serious skills, to be representing our interests and leading the world community in the months ahead. And folks, that ain't Mitt. And deep down, I think even he knows it.
He's desperately hoping we'll ignore that fact. We won't.