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Published on August 6th, 2012 | by Harry Evans
Image © [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="566"] © JaumeBG[/caption]   Quite a week for US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as he returns from a round-the-world trip. In theory these traditional trips give an opportunity for potential Presidents to lay the foundations for future foreign policy. In reality they are really a test of how a candidate handles the international stage and the unspoken rules that govern foreign exchanges. In the 2008 elections, President Obama's foreign policy record was questioned, and the 'voyage' around the world was an opportunity to refute these fears. Mr Romney, however, has shown that he is incapable of showing the foresight, strength of policy and tact to adequately deal with the world arena. Mr Romney arrived in the UK on the eve of the 30th Olympiad and proceeded to question the hosts' ability to undertake the task. Needless to say, this was met with a stunned response by British officials and it is a worry for more than just his foreign policy. Not offending allies is a basic convention of politics, even domestic politics, and this casts doubt on whether Mr Romney's public career has properly prepared him for the role of President. In addition, Mr Romney announced that he had met with the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). This, for reasons of security, as well as convention, is not something that foreign diplomats usually announce; this is a demonstration of the lack of expertise on Mr Romney's team because this should have been made known to him. The total amount of senior staffers taken was 3, compared to Obama's 2008 total of 14. Why this was is unclear. It would apparently be indicative of Mr Romney's overall attitude to foreign policy that has a lack of priority in his campaign, which does not even have a senior staffer dedicated to international affairs. The journey progressed to Israel, where there were more worrying signs of mishandling US foreign policy. Mr Romney insulted the Palestinians by refusing to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine Authority, and then saying that the economic differences between Israel and Palestine stem from cultural differences. Officials in Palestine were offended, and it seems that Mr Romney fundamentally misunderstands the situation because it must be at least partially the fault of the Israeli occupation that has held back Palestinian economic growth (this shortfall in understanding is reflected by the incorrect figures Mr Romney used to justify his comments). The Israel visit was wrapped up with a fundraising event with a casino tycoon in a building that once housed British security offices before it was blown up by Zionists in 1946. By the time Mr Romney flew to Poland to tie up a particularly unsuccessful week he had cordoned off the press contingent, having answered only three questions, and attracting flack from even right-wing reporters. In Warsaw, Mr Romney reinforced bridges but held a match to Mr Obama's Russian 'reset' that has seen the US attempting to restore dialogue with President Putin's government. The worrying part to the final leg of Mr Romney's journey was not that he made mistakes, but that he was being deadly serious: a return to cold war politics and a freeze-out in Russo-American relations. These are not the policies of a moderate Republican, as Mr Romney claims to be, and it is worrying that he also had stern words for Iran. These foreign policies will raise questions over who is actually creating Mr Romney's foreign policy, especially given the guests at his Israel fundraiser, some of whom had significant connections to oil. The fallout from this tour is twofold: the media is questioning the international competence of Mr Romney, and Mr Romney is questioning the focus of the media. Mr Romney apologised after excluding the press in Poland, but since landing in the US, the offensive against the 'fourth estate' has continued. Mr Romney has accused the press of picking up on unimportant details of an otherwise successful trip and of misunderstanding his comments on Palestinian culture. If only they were unimportant: in fact these gaffes are terribly realistic of the kind of things a real President needs to avoid saying. Will this make a big difference to Mr Romney's standing with the American people? It will probably have very little impact. The actions in Israel were aimed at endearing a domestic demographic: the sizeable Jewish population in America. Unfortunately, the majority of Jews in America would not vote for a Republican no matter how obviously Benjamin Netanyahu favoured him. Other than that, Mr Romney's actions abroad appeal to no real portion of the population, who are mostly concerned with domestic issues. 'Global Trade' falls down a list of priorities from Pew Research Centre and is near 'Strengthening Military'. These are widely held to be unimportant areas for voters in the US. The last week may have been Mitt Romney's 'Palin' moment, but he could not have faltered at a better juncture. Appearing incompetent on the world stage matters a great deal more to the world than it does to Americans and many will shake their heads, but it will not cause voters to reassess their judgements of the candidate. It should worry voters, not just about his international qualifications, but about what ramifications such a lack of tact and vision can have at home. It will have little effect, however, and voters will largely go on in the same way. As Mr Romney returns to solid ground, he will be grateful to get back to losing his lead in Florida and having his taxes scrutinised: issues that he has staffers to deal with.

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From Romney Mitt Love

© JaumeBG

 

Quite a week for US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as he returns from a round-the-world trip. In theory these traditional trips give an opportunity for potential Presidents to lay the foundations for future foreign policy. In reality they are really a test of how a candidate handles the international stage and the unspoken rules that govern foreign exchanges. In the 2008 elections, President Obama’s foreign policy record was questioned, and the ‘voyage‘ around the world was an opportunity to refute these fears. Mr Romney, however, has shown that he is incapable of showing the foresight, strength of policy and tact to adequately deal with the world arena.

Mr Romney arrived in the UK on the eve of the 30th Olympiad and proceeded to question the hosts’ ability to undertake the task. Needless to say, this was met with a stunned response by British officials and it is a worry for more than just his foreign policy. Not offending allies is a basic convention of politics, even domestic politics, and this casts doubt on whether Mr Romney’s public career has properly prepared him for the role of President.

In addition, Mr Romney announced that he had met with the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). This, for reasons of security, as well as convention, is not something that foreign diplomats usually announce; this is a demonstration of the lack of expertise on Mr Romney’s team because this should have been made known to him. The total amount of senior staffers taken was 3, compared to Obama’s 2008 total of 14. Why this was is unclear. It would apparently be indicative of Mr Romney’s overall attitude to foreign policy that has a lack of priority in his campaign, which does not even have a senior staffer dedicated to international affairs.

The journey progressed to Israel, where there were more worrying signs of mishandling US foreign policy. Mr Romney insulted the Palestinians by refusing to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine Authority, and then saying that the economic differences between Israel and Palestine stem from cultural differences. Officials in Palestine were offended, and it seems that Mr Romney fundamentally misunderstands the situation because it must be at least partially the fault of the Israeli occupation that has held back Palestinian economic growth (this shortfall in understanding is reflected by the incorrect figures Mr Romney used to justify his comments). The Israel visit was wrapped up with a fundraising event with a casino tycoon in a building that once housed British security offices before it was blown up by Zionists in 1946.

By the time Mr Romney flew to Poland to tie up a particularly unsuccessful week he had cordoned off the press contingent, having answered only three questions, and attracting flack from even right-wing reporters. In Warsaw, Mr Romney reinforced bridges but held a match to Mr Obama’s Russian ‘reset’ that has seen the US attempting to restore dialogue with President Putin’s government. The worrying part to the final leg of Mr Romney’s journey was not that he made mistakes, but that he was being deadly serious: a return to cold war politics and a freeze-out in Russo-American relations. These are not the policies of a moderate Republican, as Mr Romney claims to be, and it is worrying that he also had stern words for Iran. These foreign policies will raise questions over who is actually creating Mr Romney’s foreign policy, especially given the guests at his Israel fundraiser, some of whom had significant connections to oil.

The fallout from this tour is twofold: the media is questioning the international competence of Mr Romney, and Mr Romney is questioning the focus of the media. Mr Romney apologised after excluding the press in Poland, but since landing in the US, the offensive against the ‘fourth estate’ has continued. Mr Romney has accused the press of picking up on unimportant details of an otherwise successful trip and of misunderstanding his comments on Palestinian culture. If only they were unimportant: in fact these gaffes are terribly realistic of the kind of things a real President needs to avoid saying.

Will this make a big difference to Mr Romney’s standing with the American people? It will probably have very little impact. The actions in Israel were aimed at endearing a domestic demographic: the sizeable Jewish population in America. Unfortunately, the majority of Jews in America would not vote for a Republican no matter how obviously Benjamin Netanyahu favoured him. Other than that, Mr Romney’s actions abroad appeal to no real portion of the population, who are mostly concerned with domestic issues. ‘Global Trade’ falls down a list of priorities from Pew Research Centre and is near ‘Strengthening Military’. These are widely held to be unimportant areas for voters in the US.

The last week may have been Mitt Romney’s ‘Palin’ moment, but he could not have faltered at a better juncture. Appearing incompetent on the world stage matters a great deal more to the world than it does to Americans and many will shake their heads, but it will not cause voters to reassess their judgements of the candidate. It should worry voters, not just about his international qualifications, but about what ramifications such a lack of tact and vision can have at home. It will have little effect, however, and voters will largely go on in the same way. As Mr Romney returns to solid ground, he will be grateful to get back to losing his lead in Florida and having his taxes scrutinised: issues that he has staffers to deal with.

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About the Author

Harry Evans

Harry is a recent Philosophy graduate from the University of York. He is taking a Master’s in European Studies next year at UCL and has a particular interest in Scandinavian politics and economy. His time is currently spent undertaking an internship, researching and writing a history of the University of York Philosophy department. At University, he was editor of the student Philosophy journal, and has been published by the Club of PEP journal. Harry is hoping to make a career in International Relations and Journalism, and writes for Catch21 in this capacity. For more information and updates follow @hevans567 or find him on LinkedIn. You can also read more from this author on their personal blog.



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