The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

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

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Midday Update: Romney Says Mideast Needs New Strategy

by Newsteam Staff
October 1, 2012

Photo of the Day: GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and his wife Janna wave as they arrive at a campaign event September 29, 2012. (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and his wife Janna wave as they arrive at a campaign event September 29, 2012. (Jessica Rinaldi/Courtesy Reuters)

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney discusses U.S. policy in the Middle East and said President Barack Obama  is “misunderstanding” and “misapplying” U.S. values in his dealings with nations in the region, especially given the growing security situation.

“[A]mid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them,” he wrote. “If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel’s security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom. We still have time to address these threats, but it will require a new strategy toward the Middle East.”

Republicans – including Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona – continue to criticize President Obama over his handling of the consulate attack in Libya (TheHill).

Romney is also planning to make a major speech on foreign policy within the next few weeks.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on democracy promotion in the Arab world.


President Obama has blocked a bid by a Chinese firm (AP) to own wind farms near a Navy drone testing site in Oregon on national security grounds amid ongoing tensions about China on the campaign trail.

“Obama’s decision was likely to be another irritant in the increasingly tense economic relationship with China,” the Associated Press reports. “It also comes against an election-year backdrop of intense criticism from Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, who accuses Obama of not being tough enough with China.”

It’s the first time in twenty-two years that a president has used his powers to block such a deal. Ralls, the Chinese firm, has also announced plans to sue (FT) over the decision, claiming that it’s unconstitutional. The move has been criticized by some for costing U.S. jobs (PolicyMic), both related to this specific deal and through the discouragement of general Chinese investment.

This CFR Issue Tracker details both candidates’ stances on U.S.-China policy.


A new Foreign Policy Initiative poll tracks a host issues facing voters from terrorism and Middle East policy to Russia, China, and defense spending and foreign aid.

“The conventional wisdom in the United States appears to be that matters of foreign policy will be marginal to the public in the upcoming November 2012 elections,” pollsters concluded. “However, the findings of FPI’s recent national survey make clear that, even despite continuing concerns about the economy and other domestic issues, an overwhelming majority of Americans (92.2 percent) assign importance to the United States continuing to play a significant role in global affairs, and a very strong majority of Americans (85.7 percent) still see the United States as a ‘force for good in the world.’”

The poll shows that 45 percent of U.S. voters polled consider Iran to be the biggest threat to the United States. Sixty-two percent also support the use of military force to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon over the option of avoiding an armed conflict and accepting that Iran probably has nuclear weapons.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both presidential candidates’ stances on U.S.-Iran Policy.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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