The Cable

Mitt Romney promises an “American Century”

Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech on Friday will accuse President Barack Obama of sacrificing America's strength and leadership in the world, and will promise to restore American preeminence through increased defense spending and a more aggressive international stance.

"I will not surrender America's role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President. You have that President today," Romney will say in his speech at The Citadel in South Carolina, according to excerpts released by his campaign.

"I am here today to tell you that I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world."

He will promise to reverse Obama's "massive defense cuts," which is a reference to the $350 billion in defense savings the White House has projected will come from the deal  struck with Congress to raise the debt ceiling. He will also call for a bigger Navy, deployment of a huge missile defense shield, and a more confrontational approach to Iran.

Romney will also say that the United States must "employ all the tools of statecraft" in order to prevent the need for military action, and to organize its response to the Arab Spring.

Romney will promise to implement an eight point plan in his first 100 days in office to "set a new tone" for U.S. national security policies. He promises to grow the Navy by increasing shipbuilding from nine to 15 ships a year and to keep at least 11 aircraft carrier groups up and running. He promises to increase ties to Israel, Britain, and Mexico in order to "restore and enhance relationships with our most steadfast allies."

Romney would also deploy two aircraft carrier groups against Iran -- one in the Eastern Mediterranean and one in the Persian Gulf. He also wants to increase missile defense spending and "raise to a top priority the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic-missile defense system."

Regarding the Arab Spring, Romney would organize all diplomatic and development initiatives under a "regional director" who would "set regional priorities and direct our soft power toward ensuring the Arab Spring realizes its promise."

He also would seek to increase trade with Latin America, develop a national cyber security strategy, and conduct a full interagency review of U.S. military and assistance programs in Afghanistan.

"God did not create this country to be a nation of followers," Romney will say. "America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers.  America must lead the world, or someone else will... Let me make this very clear. As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America."

Getty Images

The Cable

State Department turns out to honor Philo Dibble

The Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown was full this morning as friends, family, and about 200 State Department employees gathered to pay their respects to longtime diplomat and State Department official Philo Dibble, who died suddenly of a heart attack last weekend.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary Bill Burns, Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman, Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan, Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, Assistant Secretary Phil Gordon, and a host of others from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs were among the attendees at Dibble's Thursday morning funeral.

Several other former assistant secretaries, sitting ambassadors, and members of the international Iran policy community all traveled back to pay respects to Dibble. President Barack Obama sent a letter to his wife Liz, which was read aloud at the funeral. There was also a eulogy and readings by former Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Janet Bogue, former senior foreign service officer Gretchen Welch and members of his family.

"It's been a very emotional day for us," said one State Department official who knew him well. "There was a lot of affection for him at the NEA bureau. It was very warm that the secretary was there. It really looked like the department came together as a family."

Dibble's most recent service was as deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, covering Iran issues. He came out of retirement to take the post, replacing John Limbert. From 2005 to 2008, Dibble had served as principal deputy assistant secretary of State for International Organization Affairs under then Assistant Secretary Kristen Silverberg, who was also at the funeral today.

Dibble's final success in his long career as a diplomat was to see the American hikers Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 29, released from an Iranian prison last month after more than two years of being held on trumped-up charges.

"He deserves big kudos for helping make that happen," one State Department official said, explaining that Dibble was the point person in dealing with the Swiss, the Omanis, and several other interlocutors involved in freeing the hikers. He was also heavily involved in the issue of human rights in Iran, the official said.

Dibble, who was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, also previous served as deputy assistant secretary in NEA from 2003 until 2005, and as deputy chief of mission in Syria from 2001 to 2003. His overseas tour included stints in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Tunisia, Italy and Pakistan. He also served as director of the office of northern Gulf affairs, deputy director of the office of Egyptian and North African affairs, special assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary of State for economic, business and agricultural affairs, and as financial economist in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and Lebanon desk officer.

Several State Department employees said Dibble will be remembered for his steady presence in dangerous places, his tireless work on human rights, and for his unique personality, which combined a warm demeanor with a dry wit.

"He was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was very purposeful and he said more in those few words than a lot of us who talk a lot but don't say as much," one State Department official said today. "I'll remember him for his sense of humor and his common sense."

Dibble was a graduate of St. John's College and held a masters degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

He is survived by his wife, Liz Dibble, NEA's principal deputy assistant secretary, and three daughters. He was 60 years old.