The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

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

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Convention Update: GOP on Foreign Policy, Competitiveness

by Newsteam Staff
August 30, 2012

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan accepts the nomination as at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 29, 2012 (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters). Rep. Paul Ryan accepts the GOP nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 29, 2012 (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters).


The United States’ role on the world stage and in the global economy were central topics during the second night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) accepted his party’s nomination for vice president of the United States.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, spoke extensively on what the election of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would mean for U.S. domestic and foreign policy:

“When we nominate Mitt Romney, we do so with a greater purpose than winning an advantage for our party. We charge him with the care of a higher cause. His election represents our best hopes for our country and the world.”

“It is said this election will turn on domestic and economic issues. But what Mitt Romney knows, and what we know, is that our success at home also depends on our leadership in the world. It is our willingness to shape world events for the better that has kept us safe, increased our prosperity, preserved our liberty and transformed human history.”

“We are now being tested by an array of threats that are more complex, more numerous and just as deadly as any I can recall in my lifetime. We face a consequential choice – and make no mistake, it is a choice. We can choose to follow a declining path, toward a future that is dimmer and more dangerous than our past. Or we can choose to reform our failing government, revitalize our ailing economy and renew the foundations of our power and leadership in the world. That is what’s at stake in this election.

“We can’t afford to cause our friends and allies – from Latin America to Asia, Europe to the Middle East, and especially in Israel, a nation under existential threat – to doubt America’s leadership.”

“We can’t afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget – on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making. His own secretary of defense has said that cutting our military by nearly $1 trillion would be ‘devastating.'”

“Across the world, people are seizing control of their own destinies. They are liberating themselves from oppressive rulers. And they want America’s support. They want America’s assistance as they struggle to live in peace and security, to expand opportunity for themselves and their children, to replace the injustices of despots with the institutions of democracy and freedom. America must be on the right side of history.”

“The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater. People don’t want less of America. They want more. Everywhere I go in the world, people tell me they still have faith in America. What they want to know is whether we still have faith in ourselves. I trust that Mitt Romney has that faith, and I trust him to lead us.”

In his address to the convention, Ryan spoke of fending off an alleged U.S. decline:

“Instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act with the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known.”

Former U.S. Trade Representative Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) talked about the importance of international trade to the U.S. economic recovery, contrasting President Barack Obama’s record with Romney’s plans.

“[Y]ou cannot spend your way, regulate your way, tax your way or blame your way out of the economic mess we are in. You have to liberate the productive power of the American people through policies that encourage innovation, risk taking, investment and jobs. And you have to compete and win in the global economy. Governor Romney understands this.”

“In contrast, President Obama is the first president in 75 years-Democrat or Republican-who hasn’t even sought the ability to negotiate export agreements and open markets overseas. Now why is this important? Because 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders. And to create jobs, our workers and our farmers need to sell more of what we make to those people.”

“While this administration has been dragging its feet, other countries have been busy negotiating hundreds of new trade agreements to benefit their workers and their farmers, taking away our opportunities. President Obama has been so driven to advance his big government ideology that he has abandoned the daily economic work that a government must do to open markets, restore business confidence and create the climate for job growth.”

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice touched on a wide variety of foreign policy matters, and issues that impact U.S. global competitiveness:

“We have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal – as men and women in the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, ‘Where does America stand?’ Indeed, that is the question of the moment: ‘Where does America stand?’ When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question – clearly and unambiguously — the world is a chaotic and dangerous place. The U.S. has, since the end of World War II, had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.”

“And I know too that there is weariness – I know there is a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough. But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen: no one will lead and there chaos or someone who does not share our values will fill the vacuum. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind.”

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality — that our leadership abroad and our well being at home are inextricably linked. They know what to do. They know that  our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world — our friends and allies must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined. And our foes, our foes must have no reason to doubt our resolve — because peace really does come through strength. Our military capability and technological advantage will be safe in Mitt Romney’s hands.”

“We must work for an open global economy and pursue free and fair trade to grow our exports and our influence abroad. If you are worried about the rise of China, just consider this: he United States has ratified only three trade agreements in the last few year, and those were negotiated in the Bush Administration. China has signed 15 free trade agreements and is in the process of negotiating as many at 18 more. Sadly we are abandoning the field of free trade and it will come back to haunt us.”

“And most importantly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild the foundation of our strength, the American economy, stimulating private sector led growth and small business entrepreneurship. When the world looks at us today they see an American government that cannot live within its means. They see a government that continues to borrow money, mortgaging the future of generations to come. The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny. That is not the America that has inspired others to follow our lead. When the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history. That is the true basis of ‘American Exceptionalism.'”

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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