luzribeiro (luzribeiro) wrote in talk_politics,

Romney's enigmatic foreign policies

In this election year, many commenters are asking the question (and for a reason) what the US foreign policy would be if Mitt Romney wins the presidency. Some argue that Romney might take the neocon path and try to save change the world by force. You know, preemptively. To shape it to America's liking (whatever that may be supposed to mean). Others say he'd rather be closer to the more traditional Republican line. Many conservatives are suspicious about him, particularly on his foreign policy. They believe he is only adopting the conservative rhetoric out of political expedience, hoping to consolidate the conservative vote before the election.

But most are unanimous that Romney's possible foreign policies would be largely defined by the foreign-policy team he ends up surrounding himself with. The way Obama picked up the likes of Brzezinski soon after his own victory. And he has already started shaping quite an awkward mongrel of a creature in that respect. One consisting of various factions. But he'll have to pick a side eventually. One scenario logically puts Bob Zoellick in the Secretary of State position, an appointment that wouldn't be very well received by the neocons. Another scenario sees former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton on that chair.

We could distinguish three main camps in the GOP in regards of foreign policy. The pragmatic guys around James Baker and Brent Scowcroft; the nationalists around Cheney; and the neocons around Paul Wolfowitz. The latter two look more prone to uniting in a common front in their pursuit of, let's call it that way, a policy of militarism + idealism.

Meanwhile, a large chunk of the conservatives believe that Romney doesn't really have any coherent vision on foreign policy, and his sole purpose at this point is to criticize Obama on anything, hoping to score cheap political points. Obama's camp never misses an opportunity to remind that Romney doesn't speak what he thinks and believes, and he'll have to flip-flop once again on foreign policy. For example on the issue of China. Romney outright called China a currency manipulator. (Obama himself not staying too far behind in that respect, either). And at the same time he expressed an extremely bellicose position against Russia, naming her America's main foe. Something the more far-right voters might have enjoyed a lot, I'll give you that.

But ultimately Romney, or any other future president, whatever real or perceived defects in their foreign policy they may or may not have, would practically act very differently from what they're speaking now. Bush spoke one thing pre-election and did quite another once elected. Obama made some bold promises before the election, kept some while notably "evolved" on the rest (not without some "help" from Congress, indeed). I'm thinking Romney would flip-flop as well, once faced with Realpolitik.

That's the essence of the hypothetical foreign-policy realism about the US strategy on the political scene - a scene that's been built for decades around a circle of allies (I'm not saying friends; just permanent interests), and along the lines of geopolitical rivalries, and the international problems of diplomacy, national security and the economy, and the means for their solution. It's a structure that can't be altered too significantly, no matter who's in office and how much fervor they have put in making bold hollow promises while on the election track. At the end of the day, America's foreign policy doesn't change that much from one administration to another, no matter which side is in power. It just follows its course.

So, back to talking about jobs, then?
Tags: international relations, mitt romney, mitt romney's dog on the roof
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