On Iran, Romney asserted that Israel has the right to defend itself. Obama says this as boilerplate.
Romney made clear he means it — that if Israel has to attack, the U.S. won't flash the red light before or punish Israel afterward.
What about the alleged gaffe that dominated reports from Israel?
Romney averred that Israeli and Palestinian economic development might be related to culture. A Palestinian Authority spokesman jumped forth to accuse Romney of racism, among other thought crimes.
The American media bought it whole, despite the fact that Romney's assertion was a direct echo of the U.N. Arab Human Development Report, written by Arab intellectuals and commissioned by the United Nations.
It asserted that "culture and values are the soul of development." And went on to report how existing cultural norms — "including traditional Arab culture and values"— are among the major impediments to Arab economic progress.
The report deplores the rampant corruption, repressive governance and lack of women's (and human) rights as major contributors to backwardness in the Arab world.
Is there any question about Romney's assertion? PLO/Palestinian Authority corruption is a legend. Palestinians are repelled by it.
Why do you think the authority lost the 2006 (and last) free election?
Romney's point was to highlight the improbable emergence of Israel from resourceless semi-desert to First World "startup nation," a tribute to its freedom and openness.
Look at how Romney was received.
In Israel, its popular prime minister lavished on him a welcome so warm as to be a near-endorsement.
In Poland, Romney received an actual endorsement from Lech Walesa, former dissident, former president, Cold War giant, Polish hero.
Yet the headlines were "shove it" and "culture."
Romney's trip was a major success: one gaffe (Britain), two triumphs (Israel and Poland) and a fine demonstration of foreign policy fluency and command — wrapped in a media narrative of surpassing triviality.
Krauthammer's email address is lett...@charleskrauthammer.com.