Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy Flaws

Much talk has filled mass media since the kick off of the presidential elections, with most of the analysis and speculations hovering around what mattered most to Americans: Economy; but what about the other main segment of presidential capabilities, namely foreign policy? While Obama’s foreign policy has crystalized over the past four years in world consciousness, Mitt Romney remains a focal point of controversy, not only because republicans developed the bad habit of ruining their nations’ foreign policy, but also because of the thundering statements of Mitt who vowed to redefine the 21st century as the American century by excellence under Washington’s leadership. Such declarations ought to push the casual citizen to offer special consideration to the Republican runner up for presidency, and to develop a thorough understanding of what is widely held to be the very policies that will shape the world we live in.

I will walk you through Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy, with special focus on the republicans’ strategy with regard to the Middle East given the current unfolding and turmoil spanning throughout the region.
It is worth noting, before heading any further in this article, that Mitt Romney’s Foreign policy speeches have so far only communicated a set of critiques and undermining statements of Obamas’ handling of key topics such as the Arab Spring, the Syrian crackdown on civilians and the nuclear potential aspirations of Iran, without pointedly communicating a clear strategy and set of policies that will define the path Washington will undergo under a republican administration. Although unclear and suspiciously similar to the key fundamental pivots of Obama’s foreign policy, Romney’s driving philosophy for handling world challenges can be, as written in the Economist’s Lexington notebook, best characterized as a “[…] Reaganesque talk of achieving “peace through strength””[1]. The peace-through-strength line of thought has proven to be
unproductive and indeed detrimental to US interests under the Bush administration. The setbacks of unilateral action coupled with disregard of the new realities of distribution of power makes a new Bush Style foreign policy unraveling in the Middle East, and on a more global scale, noxious for world cooperation and for US interests indeed. Discouragement of multilateral cooperation is not a speculation but rather a plain acknowledgement by Romney himself since he plainly declares in his Foreign policy document when discussing the Syrian crisis: “Instead of taking the initiative to establish his own transition plan, the President outsourced leadership to Kofi Annan and the United Nations”. A foreign policy based on individual aspirations to shape the politics of a certain region through unilateral action not only undermines international cooperation, but also rules out the component of diplomatic compromise, which it is worth remembering, is the driving fuel of world politics and was the only way out for the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missiles crisis (since we are commemorating the 50th year of the event, it worth clarifying that the secret deal with the USSR over the American missile system deployment in Turkey is the compromise that allowed the peaceful resolution of the Cuban issue, thus Realpolitik in action, not unilateral vocation for world individual leadership as Romney advocates).

The rise of China as a global economic engine, and the resurgence of Russian interests in the Middle East coupled with the emergence of new Arab governments with a less pro-American leadership tendency puts the US in a sensible position, a position where diplomatic efforts and compromises are the only pathway towards greater collaboration, not confrontational tensions that will shrug the new global players from elaborating friendly approaches and policies towards the US. The usage of power can be adopted as foreign policy framework only if a nation is declared as sole superpower and is safe from any potential resistance by instated or emerging global actors. This is what Romney fails to account for in todays pluralistic and multifaceted world, instead clinging to the notion of American exceptionalism, exceptionalism he advocates for not only as a domestic philosophy but also as a driving foreign policy.

Mitt Romney, in his speech at the Virginia Military Institute on October 8th, argued for the case of a 21st century American exceptionalism, a driving philosophy that is the backbone of US foreign policy, by stating that “It is the responsibility of our president to use America’s great power to shape history – not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events”. The American exceptionalism is held to be true today only in the domain of military dominance, yet the emergence of the current economic powers (BRICS) has shattered this concept as detailed in the "Post American World" by Fareed Zakaria. The rise of the rest is what is at the heart of discussions in the white house given the impact such rise upholds on US leadership and exceptionalism, and it is the first time since the collapse of the USSR that the US position as world superpower is under threat. Americans do believe in the uniqueness of American history, yet the debt leverage China has and its trade advantage over the US, the shift of educational and financial capital towards the East and the cultural dilution of American culture amidst new prominent additions to the Globalized world tradition is a reality that contrasts with the typical American belief of US exceptionalism. Thus it is important to question the practicality of the policies Mitt Romney advances and through which he claims he will underscore the rise of the rest and consolidate the fading American exceptionalism.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

International Affairs on the Edge Magazine

Finally our Magazine is out! This 1st publication compiles recent articles by Mohamed Amine Belarbi on various topics, ranging from A potential war on Iran to US Foreign Policy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Post-American World: Book Review

My Book Review for "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zacharia is now live!


"A good read combining a deep understanding of economics, history, foreign policy and global security, “The Post-American World” offers rich resources and ideas t
o have a grasp on the mechanics of international affairs today, allowing the casual reader to reflect on today’s politics, how they are shaped, and what is the likely outcome they can offer given the many political orientation world powers, and especially the US, decide to follow."