US candidates have ‘identical’ foreign policies

US candidates have ‘identical’ foreign policies

WASHINGTON - Hürriyet Daily News
US candidates have ‘identical’ foreign policies

Crowley says major changes shouldn’t be expected in US foreign policies.

The difference over foreign policies between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney is very narrow when compared with the race between George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry in 2004, a former spokesperson of the U.S. State Department has said.

“What was interesting about the last debate is that it demonstrated that there is a significant continuity in U.S. foreign policy. We are clearly not going back to the election of 2004,” said Philip J. Crowley in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News after the foreign policy debate on Oct. 22.

Crowley was in office from 2009 to 2011, and now teaches at George Washington University, following his resignation from the government after his comments criticizing the Pentagon over their treatment of Bradley Manning, the alleged Wikileaks whistleblower. He argues that there was a very dramatic difference between President

George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry over the war in Iraq eight years ago, but that now foreign policy differences between Obama and Romney are essentially rhetorical.

Defense spending

“At the end of the day, I don’t think that in the areas from Syria to Afghanistan, to Iran, the Romney foreign policy would be dramatically different from the existing Obama foreign policy,” Crowley said. The Romney campaign’s emphasis on similar foreign policy principles to the Obama administration is a deliberate calculation, according to Crowley. “Romney fully understands that in an election turned on national security, Obama has a very significant advantage. He wants to diminish the importance of national security and make the election about the economy instead,” he said. In the third and last debate before the presidential election on Nov. 6, both candidates said they saw military intervention as a last option on Iran, and they also both came out against having boots on the ground in Syria.

They are also both competing to be the candidate closest to Israel.

Crowley thinks the biggest difference between the two was on defense spending. “Romney said he would not cut our military budget, but Obama said the contrary. This is what sets the election of 2012 apart from elections over the past 20-25 years. Support for the military has always been a traditional Republican strength. And yet here, Obama has very significant advantage.

Romney is running up against the same challenge that Ronald Reagan had when he came to office in 1980, claiming that he could raise defense spending, lower taxes, and balance the budget,” Crowley said. When asked about the likely consequences of the election in terms of the regional developments around Turkey, he said: “Romney criticized the president by saying that Iran was four years closer to having a nuclear weapon, but when asked what specifically he would do he focused on sanctions, as the current administration has already done. Notwithstanding his rhetorical attacks, it is not clear that Romney’s bottom line differs significantly from the Obama bottom line.”

According to Crowley, there will essentially be a continuation in American foreign policy in
the region if Romney is elected. “In the Middle East, both men indicated that they did not see
U.S. military intervention as being feasible. In fact, Romney was more categorical in ruling out U.S. military intervention. Both men also emphasized coordinating with allies, particularly Turkey,” he said.


WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse

President Barack Obama said he would love for Hillary Clinton to stay on as secretary of state after his hoped for re-election, but that “despite my begging” she has decided to move on. “She has done an incredible job. She has logged a lot of miles, she has been working so hard,” Obama told viewers on NBC television’s “Tonight Show.” Obama heaped praise on Clinton, who four years ago was his bitter rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. “She has done a great job. I would love for her to stay,” said Obama, adding however that he also understands why she is leaving. “I suspect that it is time for her to spend a little bit more time with her family,” he said. “I could not be prouder of the work she has done.”


WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.

The Republican who used to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said: “I voted for him in 2008, and I plan to stick with him in 2012.” Powell said that in 2008, the Democrat Obama inherited an economy that was close to depression, with Wall Street in chaos and the housing sector starting to collapse.

Under Obama’s leadership, stability has come back to the financial community, housing is picking up and consumer confidence is rising, although unemployment remains high, among other problems,
Powell said. Also, Obama has protected America from terrorism and wound down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

“And so I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on,” Powell said. Powell, himself once widely touted as a prospect for the White House, said his party affiliation has not changed but he said he’s “a Republican of a more moderate mold,” something he said was “a dying breed.” Four years ago, Powell, the first African-American to occupy the top U.S. military post, also came out publicly in support of Obama, who became the first African-American president.