With the United Sates presidential election coming to a conclusion today, it is important to ask what kind of “global” leader we will obtain. According to the BBC, for every country in their pool that ranked support for Obama and Romney, Obama was clearly the favorite. In another poll where 26,000 people across 30 countries were polled, it was found that 81 percent would support President Obama compared to a mere 19 percent for Romney (conducted by the CVOTER International/WIN-Gallup International). Romney scored somewhat higher in international polls conducted in Pakistan (41%), Georgia (36%), Macedonia (30%), and China (29%).
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Romney’s two main issues for foreign policy center on the economy and the United States being a military super power. Because of the rapidly growing economies of other countries such as China, the United States needs to open its economy further by reducing tariffs and loosening immigration laws. In terms of the Middle East (more specifically Jihadists), Romney seems to espouse employing military options and putting pressure on Muslim extremists. Diplomacy to improve relations might be a secondary consideration to his administration. In countries like Pakistan where Al Qaeda is rooted, a Romney administration would likely send its forces there to work with the local population to contain “terrorists”. In Iran he supports tougher economic sanctions to ensure that no nuclear weapons will be made.
In 29 of the 32 countries polled by the CVOTER poll, Obama’s policies and competence are ranked at 55% (with the lowest rank given by Pakistan). President Obama believes there should be a regional conference involving Iran and Syria as part of a strategy to find solutions where all parties will be satisfied. Some do not think President Obama has the best interests of Israel in mind. According to “The Guardian”, the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is perceived to be rooting for Romney. Relations between Netanyahu and Obama have been severely strained because of the United States’ stance on the Iranian nuclear program.
Even though Romney claims a tough posture on Iran’s nuclear weapon program (economic sanctions) he seems less inclined to push Israel toward allowing the Palestinians an independent sate. This puts Israel in a delicate situation as to which presidential candidate best suits their needs. Eytan Giboam, a specialist in US-Israel elections at Bar-Ilan University, states, “Some in Israel are happy that the candidates are competing over who is the biggest supporter of Israel, but this is a negative development. It would be much better for Israel to enjoy bi-partisan high level support”. A member of the Palestinian liberation Organization, Hanan Ashrawi says that “Obama is not a savior, and Romney will not be a devil. Neither one is a free agent; there is a US policy of bias and support for Israel (on both sides)”. Even though the global community as a whole vastly sides with President Obama in re-election, Israel is more supportive of Romney.
President Obama’s foreign policy stance is well known on the world stage. Romney and his running mate have little foreign policy experience, and Romney has changed his position on foreign policy issues, as well as on most other issues, throughout his political career and over the course of this campaign. He is much more of an unknown quantity on the world stage. Compared to Barak Obama, who has maintained a steady and disciplined foreign policy, Romney has no certain course. It should be troubling to foreign citizens that many of Romney’s advisors were at one time Bush/Cheney advisors. The Bush administration’s foreign policy failures were widely derided in the global community, and many think Romney may be persuaded to repeat these failed policies. Just a little thought to mall over while we wait for the results of the Presidential election!