Reuters reports on more infighting between Romney’s many foreign policy advisers, with the divisions falling along the same lines that have long divided Republicans — neo-cons who almost never see a foreign war they don’t like against the more traditional realpolitik crowd.
Romney’s official campaign website lists 42 official foreign and defense advisers, including some of the Republican Party’s most prestigious experts, many veterans of past administrations.
But the team includes personalities strongly identified with contending factions whose internecine battles have dogged Republican foreign policy circles for a generation. One, more pragmatic, group is known as the “moderates.” Members of the other, with a harder ideological edge, are loosely known as “neocons,” short for neo-conservatives.
Already, fights have broken out over touchstone issues such as Russia and China, according to individuals close to the campaign.
One Romney campaign contributor who has interacted with the outside advisers said they held only one meeting as a group, in the offices of former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. It ended in an argument between moderates and neocons over Afghanistan policy.
And then there are the leaks from insiders on where Romney really stands (if anyone could really tell):
A long-time Republican activist who has been in contact with some of the Romney camp’s more centrist elements said that moderates “are very concerned about the fact that if Romney needs to call anyone, his instinct is to call the Cheney-ites.”
This is a reference to acolytes of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Several top former Cheney aides are among Romney’s advisers…
One of the few other prominent Republican foreign policy figures who several campaign sources said also had frequent access to Romney is John Bolton, a Cheney ally and former State and Justice department official and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Bolton, who has made several campaign appearances for Romney, has fiercely attacked President Barack Obama, suggesting at one point, while on the stage with Romney, that Obama “has done almost everything possible to weaken the United States, to jeopardize our interests and our friends around the world.”
That should scare the hell out of any sane person.