Foreign Policy Pushed Aside in Presidental Election
by Daphne Chow on Friday, November 16th, 2012
A look back at the election reveals that despite the various differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, their foreign policies were strikingly similar.
Both candidates shared similar views on tighter regulations and “international isolation,” The Wall Street Journal says. CBS News reported that as for individual countries, both Obama and Romney wanted little to do with the Syrian War, but were willing to help Israel if it is attacked. They both vowed to remove troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 but endorsed the continued use of drone attacks in Pakistan. Finally, the two candidates felt strongly that the US should by no means allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
The differences in foreign policies of the two candidates lay in their approach. Romney tended to lean towards more conservative values, while Obama leans towards more liberal ones. These inclinations are not surprising considering these two men’s parties. Yet, for some voters, Romney’s allocation of military spending- $2.3 trillion over 10 years as estimated by CBS News- was shocking. This absurd amount of money caused many to question whether or not Romney truly would be the better choice for fixing the economy.
In the previous election, foreign policy was a deciding factor for most Americans due to the ongoing war in Iraq. Now, in 2012, with America’s current economic and fiscal concerns, voters appeared to focus on the candidates’ economic policies rather than their foreign ones. According to Fox News, 59% said the economy was their most important issue in this election, compared to the mere 5% that chose foreign policy.
Though the economy has made very gradual improvements, too large a percentage of Americans are still unemployed. The nation’s current economic climate should be remediated before diverting time and money towards other countries. Obama and Romney’s similar views reveal that both parties, Democrats and Republicans, share the desire to repair the United States’ domestic issues first. This bipartisanship is a step in the right direction; America should be united to mend our economy. Before looking at other countries, we should primarily take a look at our own.
But foreign policy has always been an important aspect of American politics. Though his main goal is of course to repair our less than satisfactory economy, now that he is elected, Obama should direct some of his attention to foreign policy, and try to create a clear strategy for dealing with the many issues that only received lip-service during the 2012 campaign. If Obama makes one wrong move, his mistake could greatly impact the United States’s standing internationally. In order to remain a world power, America must strike a balance between working hard on our economy while maintaining a solid foreign policy.
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