Who will be CEO Romney’s COO for Foreign Policy?

Romney won the first debate.  Rasmussen in their first poll since the first debate has the challenger up 49% to the President’s 47% (the irony that this is the polling number).  Willard might pull it off.  After deciding whether to execute Big Bird via electric chair or lethal injection, his next big decision as President will be to appoint a new Secretary of State.  Who will it be?

Image courtesy of US Department of State, public domain

John Bolton: the bull in the china shop.  No conversation which speculates about foreign policy under a Republican is complete without Mr. Bolton.  John Bolton is known best for having been U.S. Ambassador to the U.N from 2005 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.  Bolton is also well-known in the D.C. think-tank community having been Senior Vice President of the American Enterprise Institute.

While John Bolton brings an interesting perspective to the table (to put it mildly), he should not be Secretary of State.  He has publicly advocated for a pre-emptive strike against Iran.  Such hawkish views are interesting in the marketplace of ideas but troubling in the real world.  When Romney needs to distinguish himself from the foreign policy failures of “Dubya”, Bolton does not help his cause.  Giving a hard-core realist a job which is meant for a pragmatic liberal (liberal in international relations terms) would be inappropriate.  To briefly put into context the worldview of John Bolton, he once stated that if the UN, (which is 38-storeys high) “lost 10-storeys today, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”  If the Democrats keep the Senate, John Bolton would never get the green light from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  There is a reason why Bolton was a recess appointment and as previously stated, there are several reasons he should not be and will not be Secretary of State.


Richard Williamson: no stranger to international diplomacy or Republican presidents.  Williamson began his meteoric rise in Washington foreign policy circles under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  He was the U.S. permanent representative to the UN bodies in Vienna.  He was also Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.  Then under George W. Bush, Williamson is best known both having been Special Envoy to Sudan and U.S. Ambassador to UN Commission on Human Rights.

It is no secret that like all Republicans in recent memory, Romney seeks to lead as Reagan did.  To have one of Reagan’s top foreign policy wonks in your corner helps that aforementioned goal.  Also after two wars (that have angered many in the international community) it is crucial to have a Secretary of State that understands international cooperation.  Williamson has been a permanent representative, a Special Envoy, and an ambassador.  Few Republican foreign policy experts can claim Mr. Williamson’s executive experience in diplomacy.  However Williamson lacks a certain gravitas needed for the position of Secretary of State.  It is also plausible that if the Democrats keep the Senate, (just like if Mr. Bolton is nominated) that the Foreign Relations Committee will shoot him down for his days in the W. Bush Administration.


Robert Zoellick knows Washington D.C. and he knows world leaders.  In a Romney Administration there is no better candidate for Secretary of State.  Zoellick has had a long and distinguished career including high-ranking jobs in both the private and the public sectors.  He has served in the Treasury Department under Reagan and Bush Sr. as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy to Counselor to the Secretary.  He then went on to enhance his private sector credentials as Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae.  Zoellick returned to public service under the Bush Administration as the U.S. Trade Representative.  He then went on to be Deputy Secretary of State in the State Dept.  Mr. Zoellick then returned to the private sector as Vice Chairman, International at Goldman Sachs Group.  Finally Mr. Zoellick then became President of the World Bank in July of 2007, a position he recently left in July 2012.

In a time when few have faith in the U.S. economy, Zoellick should be Romney’s pick for Secretary of State.  Zoellick is well known on the international stage and left the World Bank with his reputation intact (unlike his predecessor Mr. Wolfowitz).  After a crisis, Zoellick led the World Bank successfully which is why he should lead U.S. foreign policy now.  Zoellick is Republican, but has never run for political office and so cannot be accused of partisan lunacy.  He is a compassionate statesman, who is known for building bridges between people and ideas.  As U.S. Trade Representative he increased U.S. Free Trade Agreements five-fold.  Zoellick had both the PRC and Chinese Taipei enter the WTO when he was U.S. Trade Representative.  As Head of the World Bank, Zoellick started the Climate Investment Funds.  These Funds go towards development of newer and cleaner technologies promoting sustainable development.  It is Zoellick’s compassion for others and a life-long dedication to public service that make him the best candidate for Secretary of State in a Romney Administration.

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