So I see Rick Perry gave a quasi-foreign policy speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars 112th National Convention. Here's the gist of the foreign policy section:
James Lindsay analyzes the content over at CFR, concluding that, "There is something in it for every significant foreign policy constituency in the GOP," although "any mainstream Republican or Democratic presidential candidate could have given Perry’s speech." This is likely because, "while Perry’s speech was heavy on foreign policy bromides it was short on specifics."
Lindsay is being kind -- this speech is ninety-eight percent concentrated pablum (contra Lindsay, the "multilateral debating society" crack does signal it being a GOP speech). Seriously, I hereby challenge my friends at Shadow Government who might be Perry-friendly to find something of interest in this speech. It's the foreign policy equivalent of this scene from The Distinguished Gentleman:
Now, to be fair to Perry, this San Antonio News-Express news story suggests that he had some constraints on what kind of speech he could deliver. So, really, I'm not sure that anything of consequence can be divined from this.... er.... assemblage of cliches that maybe, just maybe, passes the Turing Test.
Still, what Perry said is such pure, unadulterated boilerplate that, as a foreign policy commentator, one must step back and gape in wonder. Reading it, the absence of anything interesting kept nagging me as hauntingly familiar.
And then I realized -- Rick Perry had just delivered the Wolf Blitzer of foreign policy speeches!! It's familiar, yet utterly devoid of interesting content!!
And for that, Rick Perry is the distinguished inaugural nominee of the Wolf Blitzer Award for Foreign Policy Boilerplate.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.