Swoop: Washington’s World: October 22nd – 28th, 2012 – The Last Round

Swoop: Washington’s World: October 22nd – 28th, 2012 – The Last Round
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Swoop: “As President Obama and Governor Romney prepare to meet in the third and final presidential debate on October 22nd – which will be devoted to foreign policy – it remains unclear whether in terms of substance there is much that divides them. It is certainly true that Romney’s foreign policy team contains a number of “super hawks” and that, from time to time, Romney’s rhetoric has reflected their views.

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Nonetheless, our sense after conversations with both sides is that the convergences between Obama and Romney are more important than the gaps: both will pursue a tougher line toward Iran, both will remain cautious or confused about the implications of the “Arab Spring”, both will continue disengagement from Afghanistan, both will face the same resource dilemmas on defense spending, both will be more commercially protectionist in attitudes to China, neither will pay much attention to Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa, both will be much more domestically focused than internationally.

Only in the arena of defense spending connected with the looming issue of “sequestration”, do we detect a decidedly difference in approach to the spending limitations. All in all, those closest to the two campaigns suggest to us that continuity rather than change is likely to prevail.  For example, on the most pressing issue of the day – the rapid course of events Syria – both sides endorse the same objective of the ousting of the Assad regime, but both remain equally cautious about any US intervention that goes beyond diplomacy, intelligence sharing and some quiet, behind-the-scenes logistical assistance to regional actors like Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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In Asia, there are similar common perceptions between Democrats and Republicans. Their instincts are to side with China’s opponents on territorial issues. The reported Chinese naval maneuvers in the East China Sea this week have sent a chill through Washington foreign policy circles. With a series of US-China trade disputes looming, the rhetoric from both sides is toughening. Part of this is traditional presidential politicking, but there is a palpable sense among US strategic planners that relations with China – rather than the Iran issue – will lie at the center of the next Administration’s priorities. ”

Source: Swoop
Photo Credits
: President Barack Obama is interviewed by Jon Stewart during a taping of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” at the Comedy Central Studios in New York, N.Y., Oct. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)