Obama and Romney: different rhetoric but foreign policies are the same

A world where Mitt Romney holds the single most powerful office may sound a very different place from that of Barack Obama. In many ways, however, it is likely to look uncannily familiar.

On one global issue after another, the Republican candidate has lambasted his opponent for his alleged failure to stand up for US interests and values abroad – a traditional theme of Republican attacks on Democrats. But to the extent Romney has put forward concrete proposals, most haveUS Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney been all but indistinguishable from the status quo, according to both liberal and conservative analysts as well as diplomats in Washington.

The main caveat concerns a future president Romney’s response to a crisis, where instincts may prove more important than long-held plans. George Bush came to office in January 2001 with a conventional list of foreign policy priorities, led by a carefully rehearsed response to the rise of China, only to veer off sharply after the 9/11 attacks.

The most immediate global crisis now which is likely to be on the top of the Oval Office in-tray for whoever wins next month’s election, is the Syrian conflict. Arguably the most striking sentence in the Republican candidate’s speech to the Virginia Military Institute on Monday relates to Syria. The current administration has allowed weapons supplies to flow to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups from the Syrian diaspora, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, rather than provide them directly. Romney does not commit the US to supply arms, but talks about working with “our international partners” to deliver them. Whereas the Obama administration appears to have made great efforts to limit the flow largely to guns and ammunition, Romney said the rebels should be equipped with “the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets”. read more http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/08/us-presidiential-candidates-foreign-policy