By Teresa Welsh |
Unfortunately for the Romney campaign, foreign policy is an issue that will remain a strong suit for President Barack Obama. For the first time in a generation, Democrats lead in poll after poll on issues regarding national security. Moreover, this is the first time in decades where one member of the Republican presidential ticket has not had wide ranging experience on issues in foreign affairs, perhaps leading President Obama to quip at the Democratic National Convention that former Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan were "new" to U.S. foreign policy. Three major areas give Obama a decided advantage over his opponent.
First, American sentiment toward foreign policy appears to go hand in hand with the foreign policy agenda the Obama administration has been promoting. According to a recent Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey, most Americans, while still wanting to maintain an active role on the global stage, want the United States to be more selective in their engagement with the world, are weary of further military intervention, and desire cuts in defense spending. These positions run counter to many of the Romney campaign's stated goals in American foreign affairs.
Second, Romney has been his own worst enemy in advancing his foreign policy agenda. From describing Russia as our number one "geopolitical" foe to his criticism of London's preparation for the 2012 Olympics, where he was rebuked by London's mayor and Prime Minister David Cameron, Romney's foreign policy rhetoric has appeared belligerent, offensive, and out of touch with the realities of global affairs. Romney looks more like a a sabre rattler and less like a president as he tries to project himself as strong, dynamic, and visionary leader on international relations.
Finally, the Obama administration's foreign policy successes have largely muted criticism coming from the Romney campaign. Winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing Osama bin Laden, and weakening al Qaeda, negotiating a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and placing greater emphasis on using diplomacy and sanctions against rogue states like Iran and North Korea, have given the Romney campaign little argumentative space to criticize Obama's handling of U.S. foreign policy. Unless some great international disaster befalls America, foreign policy is an issue where President Obama will achieve victory going into the November election.
About Jason Edwards Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College