You’re not going to get a lot of Romney-Ryan sympathy from me – you might not get a whole lot of pragmatic analysis on everyday-life campaign issues either – but what you will get is an authentic foreign policy analysis. Now it’s not that I’m inherently left-wing, not at all, as a matter of fact I have often described myself as centre-right. But honestly? There’s something about this specific Republican Presidential candidate that scares the shit out of me. And it should scare the shit out of you too.
If you asked that question I am pleased to say that I agree with your sentiment, I like you – we share common values – I’d even go as far as to say you’re an intelligent individual and you will probably go far in life. But really it’s for those of you who are still planning on voting Romney-Ryan that this piece is aimed at.
Let’s set aside my personal distaste for Romney and the general value system that the American right-wing seems to have developed over the past 4 years and let’s be clear:
A vote for Romney is a vote for the demise of America’s global power as a force for good; simple.
I mean, seriously, step outside your own personal biases for a minute; what kind of Presidential candidate writes-off 47% of his electorate before he is elected? Aren’t Presidents meant to serve all Americans? If Romney doesn’t even consider the idea of at least campaigning for the vote of half of his electorate what sort of precedent does that set for his potential Presidency? What sort of precedent does this set for the rest of the world?
I think by now it’s pretty clear that the Republicans aren’t really interested in the good of the world, or even the good of the nation. They are self-interested and (generally) represent a small minority of powerful, rich Americans who are incredibly well organised and mobilise effectively every 4 years; and they are effective, you have to give them that. But what worries me is that the man they’ve thrust forth as their ideal specimen – their leader – has not got a clue, especially when it comes to foreign policy. I mean this guy honestly believes Russia ‘is without question our number 1 geopolitical foe’ – get a grip! Unfortunately for the world, and the Middle East in particular, Mitt Romney’s campaign has been, and continues to be, riddled with nonsensical foreign policy stances.
Let me clarify my point. After more than a year and a half of tumultuous revolution, the Arab world is more socially and politically accessible now than ever before. The region is crying out for someone to demonstrate a model of stable, sincere and solid political government; in return the United States give them the possibility of a President in Mitt Romney – does that make sense to you?
Allow me to elaborate further. What really and truly alarms me about the Republican candidates’ approach to the ultimate seat of power and more specifically, his approach to foreign policy is that, in a time when Palestinian voices were starting to be heard, public opinion beginning to push back against the overly-hawkish repressionist movement, and with peace seemingly closer than ever, Romney not only slams Obama for having ‘thrown…Israel under the bus’, but also brazenly implies that Palestinians don’t want peace. Further evidence of this can be seen in the choice of location for one of Romney’s absurd fundraisers: none other than Jerusalem itself – the most fought-over city in world history. This surely further cements the hawkish, anti-peace agenda which is clearly so central to the Republican campaign.
Not only is it considered distasteful for an American political candidate to hold a high-profile fundraiser abroad, as it implies a commitment to a foreign country as a means of reaching out to American interest groups, but the man actually had the nerve to more or less call Palestinians lazy for lacking economic ‘vitality’. This is, let’s remember, an occupied territory – what goes in and out of the country is controlled strictly by the Israeli government. And Romney is blaming the Palestinians for lacking vitality? Oh yeah, did I mention Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mitt Romney actually first met in the late 1970s when they were co-workers at corporate advisory firm Boston Consulting Group? Disaster.
For all involved Romney as President would be a calamity. For America as a state, (yes, national interest still exists, even when smothered) these sorts of acts throw the more ‘politically conscious’ Arab governments offside. For Israel, there will be a rise in international condemnation of their actions not to mention that their neighbourhood may get even more hostile. Ultimately, for the world, the continued lack of peace that the American government will impose upon the Middle East will continue to hamper security and economic development around the world.
On the other hand we have Barak Obama – a man who has quite adamantly shown that he is not as typically pro-Israeli as previous White House occupants. For all intents and purposes he seems determined to try and counterbalance the immense power emanating out of centres such as Washington, New York and Los Angeles. The President seems willing to give Palestinians and, quite frankly the rest of the world, a fair go.
Despite these seemingly good intentions, under Barack Obama the US has still vetoed UN Security Council resolutions and blocked the road towards Palestinian statehood. On a regional level it has continued play the role of the worlds bully. Drone and special forces attacks continue to violate the sovereignty of greater Middle Eastern regimes. The President has still had to rely on, and be influenced by, the great clout held by lobby groups, special interests and the mega-rich – maybe to a lesser extent than his political opponent, but it was still there.
I’m going to be honest with you – I was extremely hopeful that 4 years under Barack Obama would bring a change that the world so desperately needed in the desperate times of 2008. I was disappointed at the outcome. However, as the plucky optimist I am, I cling to the hope that another term in the White House for Obama is just the right diagnosis for our current illness.
Those among us who strive for stability and prosperity should bear in mind that, should President Obama be re-elected for a second term in office, he will be released from the increasingly nasty and sticky constraints of fundraising, schmoozing and playing generally the ‘politics game’, free to actually do his job.
Barack Obama’s current ‘shackles’ include foreign policy lobby groups such as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who are, as you’d expect, unashamedly pro-Israeli. The liberation from these political shackles will hopefully encourage Obama to enact real change in the Middle East and in particular in the Israel-Iran-Palestine love/hate triangle. It seems to me that Barack Hussein Obama is a fundamentally good man, not a God, a man who makes mistakes and faces adversity, but perhaps most importantly; a man who fundamentally knows right from wrong. That being so, I am of the belief that a man with the drive and ambition of Barak Obama would not want to leave the most powerful seat in office without leaving his stamp for good on the world.
Let’s trust him.