Swoop: Washington’s World: September 3rd – 9th, 2012: Conventions & Statements

Swoop: Washington’s World: September 3rd – 9th, 2012: Conventions & Statements
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Swoop: “Aside from the speech of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, foreign affairs featured little at the Republican National Convention. In his acceptance speech Mitt Romney committed himself to a strong military, but other than two negative references to US economic dependence on China, made no mention of international issues.

By contrast, we expect that at next week’s Democratic convention President Obama will speak confidently about his foreign policy record. At this stage it appears unlikely that foreign policy will win or lose many votes, but one presidential debate will be devoted to the topic. In addition to military spending, two country issues will likely stand out: China which Secretary of State Clinton is visiting next week and Iran where a new IAEA report has added urgency to the debate.

On China, Romney has undertaken to designate the country as a “currency manipulator” as one of his first acts if elected. Whether he actually follows through with that threat may be less important than that both Obama and Romney will adopt a tough position on China’s claims in the South China Sea.  With the “rebalancing” of US strategy to the Asia-Pacific region the seeds are being sown for a more tension-laden relationship with China – whoever is elected president.

On Iran, Romney has criticized Obama for failing to support Israel adequately but in private he has adopted an approach that closely tracks the Administration’s strategy of deploying ever-tougher sanctions. For the moment US officials are continuing their detailed exchanges with their Israeli counterparts. There is agreement that the IAEA report is not a “game changer”, but the Israelis remain very skeptical about the efficacy of sanctions. Obama is due to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly later this month, so no unilateral Israeli action is likely before that time.

Unexpectedly, State Department officials are drawing satisfaction from Egyptian President Morsi’s strong condemnation of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and from the UN Secretary-General’s criticism of Iran’s human rights record. There is still no consensus inside the Administration about the way forward on Syria. While there are plenty of hawks in both parties who favor US intervention, we still believe that caution will stay Obama’s hand.”

Source: Swoop / Videos added by Cap Falcon
Photo Credits: President Barack Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews aboard Marine One, Aug. 31, 2012. The President boarded Air Force One for the flight to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)