From The New York Times -- May 30, 2012:
Some G.O.P. Foreign Policy Experts Are Tepid on Romney
By Sam Hodgson
Mitt Romney and John McCain attended a Memorial Day tribute in San Diego. Mr. Romney has struggled to gain the support Mr. McCain had of the Republican foreign policy establishment in 2008.
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Henry A. Kissinger gave his endorsement to John McCain more than a year and a half before the last presidential election, explaining in April 2007 that Mr. McCain’s “record, character and belief that America’s best days lie ahead” made him the “the right leader for these times.”
But with the next election barely five months away and Mitt Romney gearing up for a tough battle with President Obama, Mr. Kissinger, a former Republican secretary of state, remains on the sidelines. The reason, according to several Republicans familiar with the matter: concerns about Mr. Romney’s aggressive statements on trade policy toward China, a keen issue for Mr. Kissinger, who helped reopen relations with China and who later, as a consultant, has had clients with significant interests there.
As Republican leaders fell in behind Mr. Romney this spring, many members of the party’s foreign policy establishment have been more muted. Reluctance by this group to come forward for Mr. Romney more quickly reflects an unease over some of his positions, including his hard line on Russia and opposition to a new missile treaty.
Mr. Romney will soon get a boost, however: Condoleezza Rice is expected to endorse him formally on Wednesday night when she headlines a fund-raiser for him near San Francisco, according to one of her aides and a Romney aide.
She would join Frank C. Carlucci, a defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan, and Stephen J. Hadley, a national security adviser under President George W. Bush, in officially backing Mr. Romney. Other Republican foreign policy stalwarts are likely to endorse him once they get a chance to discuss their differences with him directly.
But some nevertheless believe that Mr. Romney has taken approaches too confrontational or too hawkish, or worry that harsh campaign-trail statements could hurt later diplomatic efforts and may signal a drift toward neoconservative passions as the party seeks to take back the White House, say Republicans familiar with the discussions.
Some longtime deans of the Republican establishment, like Brent Scowcroft, the two-time national security adviser, believe the party as a whole has drifted rightward. Mr. Scowcroft declined a request for an interview, but he has recently voiced opinions at odds with Mr. Romney’s.
For example, a seeming eagerness to follow the cues of Israeli leaders has at times left Mr. Romney with what appears to be a dim view of the need to press Israelis and Palestinians toward a settlement, which many old-line Republican experts see as crucial to stability in the Middle East and cultivating ties with the Arab world. “I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process; instead we should stand by our ally,” he told an Israeli newspaper last year, referring to Israel.
A month ago, Mr. Scowcroft criticized the Obama administration and Republicans alike as failing to push for a comprehensive Mideast settlement. In an appearance on CNN, he was asked then by Fareed Zakaria, the host, whether he was comfortable with the Republican Party. Mr. Scowcroft looked down and paused before observing that “many parts of the party” now call him a “Republican in name only.”
“I don’t think I’ve changed my views at all,” he added. “I think the party has moved.”
Colin L. Powell, who preceded Ms. Rice as Mr. Bush’s secretary of state but backed Mr. Obama in 2008, has expressed concerns about neoconservative sway within the Romney camp. Some foreign policy advisers for Mr. Romney, he said, “are quite far to the right.” He has also taken strong issue with Mr. Romney’s statement that Russia is our “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”
“Come on, Mitt — think. It isn’t the case,” Mr. Powell said last week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding that Mr. Romney’s remarks had caught “a lot of heck from the more regular G.O.P. foreign affairs community.”
James M. Lindsay, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the Romney team “seems to be tilted more toward the neoconservative wing of the foreign policy establishment.”
But he cautions not to extrapolate too much. “It matters much less who’s giving advice to the candidate and a lot more who the candidate is actually listening to.” Mr. Lindsay added, “Most people in foreign policy circles recognize that some of what is said on the campaign trail is not going to survive the transition to office.”
The Romney campaign bristles at the “neoconservative” description, and says its advisers have a range of backgrounds, including some who worked for Mr. Reagan, President George Bush, Mr. Powell and Mr. Scowcroft. And they say Mr. Romney enjoys hearing dissenting views.
Mr. Kissinger and another Republican secretary of state who has not made an endorsement, George P. Shultz, were unavailable for interviews. They backed Mr. McCain in April 2007.