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: Moderation on China Expected After Election

by Newsteam Staff
October 17, 2012

Photo of the Day: A member of the media walks past a demonstrator before the second U.S. presidential campaign debate October 16, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: A member of the media walks past a demonstrator before the second U.S. presidential campaign debate October 16, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

Both President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney have used increasingly tough language on China (NYT) during the campaign, but analysts predict that based on the experiences of past administrations, either candidate would likely moderate his position if elected (CNN).

While the Obama administration has taken “protectionist actions” on trade with China, the benefits of this policy have been hard to discern, and economists worry that Romney’s proposed policies – including labeling China a currency manipulator and increasing duties on Chinese goods – could provoke a trade war, reports CNN.

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


After having criticized both the DREAM act and President Obama’s program of deferred deportation for some young undocumented immigrants, Mitt Romney said in Tuesday night’s debate that he supports creating a path to citizenship for them (WashingtonTimes).

“The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids I think should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States,” he said. “And military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident.”

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on immigration


Tuesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney focused heavily on domestic topics, but the subjects of Chinese trade policies and the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi provoked two of the most heated exchanges of the second debate (NYT).

A Foreign Policy Initiative survey late last month on the positions of undecided voters, whose votes may decide the outcome of the election, shows them to be “focused primarily on the economy, wary of tinkering with defense spending, relatively hawkish on Iran and Syria, concerned about the rise of China, ambivalent on Afghanistan, skeptical of foreign aid, pessimistic about the direction of the country but bullish on America’s global leadership” writes Uri Friedman in Foreign Policy.

The third and final presidential debate on October 22nd is expected to focus mainly on foreign policy issues.

Read the full transcript here.

Read what Obama and Romney are proposing for a number of major foreign policy topics in these CFR Issue Trackers.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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