The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Foreign Policy Update: What’s the Goal of Romney’s Trip?

by Newsteam Staff
July 27, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at 10 Downing Street to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, July 26, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, July 26, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).


During his trip abroad, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged not to criticize President Barack Obama’s foreign policy as some analysts are debating the actual point of his trip.

After meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Ten Downing Street on Thursday, Mitt Romney offered reporters a brief overview of his day (LAT), saying he spoke “at some length about Syria, about Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, among other places in the world, and spoke about the developments in Syria.” However he went on to say he did not want to refer to any comments made by leaders representing other nations, nor describe foreign policy positions he might have while on foreign soil,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent writes that Romney’s statement runs contrary to the presumed goals of the trip. “Romney has been criticized for failing to detail his policies, and for failing to say how they would differ from Obama’s. This trip was designed to demonstrate Romney’s comfort level on these issues,” Sargent says. “It won’t inspire confidence that he doesn’t see this tour as the right venue to tell us what he does know, or what his own foreign policy would actually look like.”

However the Economist says the trip has always been about domestic politics not foreign policy. “As always when presidential candidates travel abroad, Mr Romney’s trip is about votes, not diplomacy,” the Economist notes. “If the Republican looks and sounds like an American statesman abroad, and, most important, avoids any obvious gaffes, his tour will have served its purpose.”

For more on the candidates’ stances on major foreign policy issues, check out all of CFR’s Issue Trackers.

Suggested Other Reading:

In the April edition of the journal World Affairs, Nile Gardiner examines the history and the state of the Anglo-American alliance, sometimes called the “special relationship.”

The Canadian International Council takes on seven commonly held theories about international relations — including that the dream of a united Europe can be achieved and that the United States is exceptional.

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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