Tonight we will hear from both candidates on Foreign Policy. We know pretty much by now what we are going to get from the president over the next four years, but the question is what will we get from Mr. Romney if he becomes president.
I just finished reading an interesting book titled Obama and the Middle East by Fawaz Gerges an influential writer on the troubled region which I highly recommend. The book takes the reader from a time when the United States was highly respected to where we are today. The author categorizes the current presidents policy as modest and humble as opposed to the Bush Cheney ideology of power and assertiveness.
In contrast to Bush, president Obama is not a liberal interventionist and is much less inclined to use force to advance American causes setting strict limits to any use of military force while encouraging multi-lateralism as opposed to unilateralism.
Per the author the president and Hillary Clinton have had to spend much of their time trying to redirect American foreign policies in a more constructive direction because of the damage done by the Iraq War which the Arab world looks at as an effort by our country to create a democratic model for Iraq’s neighbors to follow.
The use of torture and the abuse of Iragi prisoners at Abu Ghraib significantly damaged America’s moral credibility in the Arab world too. These events have reinforced a widely held belief by Arabs that the United States believes that it stands above international laws and practices. The author believes that the Bush Doctrine has created more enemies and more terrorists that we will have to confront in the future.
The president also draws critical remarks from the author because he has turned a blind eye towards Israel continuing to construct settlements on Palestinian land which makes a two country solution more improbable. He explains it as negotiations over how to divide a pizza pie while one side is eating all of the pizza.
Frustrated Arab countries who once looked to the United States for leadership are weary of our rhetoric and inaction so they now turn to Egypt, Turkey and Iran for solutions to their problems. It will take more than four years to undo the damage that has been done and for Arab countries to again look to the United States for leadership in the region.
My hope is that Mr Romney if he becomes president doesn’t return to the Bush foreign policy, but if he does we can look forward to more bitterness and angry to be directed at us for many years to come.