“The Threats We Face Have Grown Worse”

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during a rainy campaign rally in Newport News, Va., on Monday.

That’s what GOP president candidate Mitt Romney said Monday in his speech at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. It has become a familiar talking point among those dedicated to maintaining the status quo for U.S. national security.

It is too bad. It is not true, it misleads the nation into military misadventure, and it turns up the volume so loud on smaller threats that it generates distortion that may deafen us to bigger ones.

Romney’s speech, as colleagues Mike Crowley, Tony Karon and Joe Klein, have noted, contained little new. The GOP candidate seemed a little like an experimental test pilot, merely stretching the incumbent’s flight envelope.

For anyone who lived through the 45 years of the Cold War, we are now engaged in a messy world. No longer does superpower gravity work as a political centrifuge. Instead, everything from al Qaeda to the Arab Spring has been spun free of their traditional orbits.

With that Unified Field Theory now gone, terrorists – and outliers like Iran and North Korea – have come to the fore as the biggest threats facing the U.S. But they pale alongside the superpower standoff between the U.S. and USSR.

We now stand on Planet Bizarro, where a relatively peaceful world is described as unprecedentedly dangerous. Next thing you know, certain circles will declare increases in hiring are a bad thing. Oops.