DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE—After the flurry of attacks on American embassies abroad, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took time to attack President Barack Obama for the official government response to the attacks, resulting in a setback to Romney's flailing campaign. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson responded with a broad critique of American foreign policy and went so far as to say that we should reconsider having embassies in foreign countries.
"I maintain that because of our military interventions we have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country that, but for our military interventions, would not exist," Johnson told a crowd of college students at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday.
"Let's get out of these embassies now. Let's stop making ourselves a target," Johnson said.
During his speech Johnson, who is at the beginning of a nationwide tour of college campuses, said that politicians use terms like "our vital American interests" as cover for violent military actions that cause more harm than good for the United States.
"Tens of thousands of innocent civilians that die in the countries that we militarily intervene, our men and servicewomen coming back in body bags, our men and servicewomen coming back with their limbs blown off, all in the name of what?" he said.
The recent uprisings in the Middle East have brought foreign policy, ever so briefly, back into the 2012 presidential campaign. To date, 52 people have died in events related to assaults on American consulates and embassies including the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
After his speech Johnson questioned why the United States has embassies at all.
"I questions having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere! I understand American tourists and issues American tourists might have with passports but does that involve an embassy? Does that involve having an ambassador?" he said to Reason during an interview.
Johnson thinks that the embassies are raising the level of animosity some Middle Easterners may have for the United States.
"Let's get out of those embassies now so we don't provide some symbolic target—it's more than symbolic, it's real," he said.
Johnson is scheduled to film some televisions ads with the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire later tonight.
He continues his college tour in North Carolina tomorrow.