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Candidates’ Foreign Policy Orientations, Essay Example

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Essay

President Obama’s foreign policy has carried a multilateralism mixture and bold action. Barrack’s campaign website does not give particular foreign policy issues, but his work record forms his foreign policy basis in the ongoing 2012 presidential election campaigns (Jones, 2012, p. 1). One of the issues is multilateralism where Obama has uplifted multilateralism importance in America’s foreign policy. Multilateralism refers to policy direction movements with the cooperation and assent of other nations. Multilateralism directly counters unilateralism, the taking of policy actions by a country alone. George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor, applied unilateralism in the case of Kyoto Protocol. During the Libyan War of 2011, Obama famously acted multilaterally in the NATO intervention (Jones, 2012, p. 1). He committed the US naval and air forces to create a no-fly zone in Libya to hinder Qaddafi’s forces from killing Libyan rebels. Obama let other NATO nations lead in supporting the rebels after securing the no-fly zone. Although Obama’s multilateral strategy worked, Republicans have criticized claiming that the President should not have led from behind. The US supported the rebels, who killed Qaddafi, while keeping its combatants safe and avoiding engaging in another war.

Another foreign policy issue driving Obama politics is grappling with Afghanistan and Iraq (Heather et al, 2011, p.2). The American war weariness played a role partly in Obama’s winning the 2008 elections. The US had been at war with Iraq for five years and in Afghanistan for seven years. Obama made announcements of troop decreases in Iraq and ended American military missions towards the end of 2011. The official pulling out of combat troops out of Iraq took place before Christmas 2011.

However, Obama failed to stop the Afghan war. This is because there was a launch of the insurgency against the US and Afghan troops by the Taliban, which was supporting Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, his terrorist group. Therefore, Obama announced a troop surge to fight the resurgent, Taliban instead of bringing the American forces home (Jones, 2012, p. 1). The killing of Bin Laden is one of the successes in the Afghan war, and Obama looks to bringing home the American troops by 2013.

Another key issue in Obama politics is the killing of Bin Laden. This took place on May 1, 2011 after a raid, on an enclosed compound, Abbottabad, in Pakistan, bu the US navy. Bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and thus he was top of the FBI’s list as the most wanted terrorist. When he took office in 2009, President Obama ordered the US intelligence units and the military to catch Bin Laden. The work of intelligence revealed that Bin Laden was in Pakistan prompting Obama to revert to unilateral action by ordering a strike without alerting American allies. There was an element of doubt on the alliance of Pakistan with the US since Bin Laden was in Pakistan for a long time and had evaded being caught for many years. Obama had limited his criticism of Pakistan as Congress threatened to cut foreign aid to Pakistan. Obama knew that Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan on the Eastern side, determined peaceful Afghanistan after a possible military deployment in 2013.

Other Obama’s foreign policy efforts include leading other western countries to levy harsh sanctions on Iran. This is to deter Iran from nuclear establishments with oil sales. He also ordered orchestration sanctions on Syria to stop Bashar al-Assad’s killings through the US state department. This has not yet worked owing to China and Russia’s opposition on additional measures. Obama has also started repositioning the US to acquire a large presence in the region of Asia Pacific and the preeminence of the growing Chinese there.

We, therefore, observe that Obama’s administration has employed some form of realism international relation. Realism refers to an approach to practice and study of international politics. Realism emphasizes the nation’s role and assumes that national interests are the motivators of all nation-states. He has had much concern on security, and the US has had to make decisions without cooperating with other countries. For instance, the US acted unitarily when Obama ordered an air strike on Pakistan in the year 2009. We can also say that Obama has employed liberalism. For example, in the fight against Qaddafi, he sought cooperation from other nations and supported rebels.

The Republican presidential hopeful, Romney has been focusing more on the domestic issues of the United States. However, presidential hopefuls, in their politics, should touch on foreign policy. Romney has no foreign policy experience having served only as governor (Jones, 2012, p. 2). He has made two speeches on foreign policy: one in October 2011 at The Citadel and the other on July 24, 2012. The two speeches are similar, not having many differences. Romney concentrates on five areas of concern in US foreign policy.

He notes one as ‘nations with rising ambitions’. He gives China and Russia as examples of this category. He asserts that the countries could significantly contribute to an international system health grounded on political and economic freedom. However, he mentions that Russia and China’s authoritarian character leads them to engage in actions, which undermine international security (Heather et al, 2011, p.2). On Islamic Jihadism, Romney describes it to be “multifaceted challenge”, which poses terror threat to America and its allies. Romney notes the struggle in the Middle East as containing states, which are too weak to protect or police them. He also adds that the region is the world’s critical nuclear proliferation point. Romney says that failing and failed states are terrorists’ breeding grounds, as well as for pirates and other criminal networks. He cites Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan as examples (Jones, 2012, p. 2). He also notes Rogue Nations and gives North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela as suspects. The Republican candidate hopes to accomplish his goals for foreign policy by working on what he refers to as “three American power foundations: a strong economy, strong military and strong values”.

We also note that Romney’s ideas are according to realism. Liberalism refers to political doctrine, which takes enhancing and protecting an individual’s freedom to be the politics’ central problem. It is the believe of liberals that the government is necessary in protecting individuals from harm by others. However, they also confess that government can be a threat to liberty. His foreign policy has an approach similar to that President Obama. Romney differs from Obama only in identifying the flaws in the Obama administration. Romney fails to give foreign policy direction and instead dwells on rhetoric and barbs.

Obama’s fiscal policies have a specific policy positions including taxes, deficit reduction and spending (Heather et al, 2011, p.2). He has a general philosophy that for deficit reduction over a long term, economic stimulus should take place now. He endeavors to tax the wealthy in order to raise additional revenues. He focuses at trimming Medicare, farm subsidies, federal pensions and military spending. Obama has proposed “Buffet Rule” to limit deduction amounts claimed by high-income earners. Instead, he envisions as crucial setting up what will amount to a minimum rate of tax for millionaires.

Jeff Zients, the Office of Management and Budget acting director, when Obama unveiled his budget in February 2012, was quick to tout measures of deficit-reduction (Strassel, 2012, p.2). He said that the deficit-reductions amounted to over $5 trillion savings spread over 10 years. This would come from $1.5 trillion tax increases, $850 billion war savings and $1 trillion in military spending. The budget does little in reducing spending on Medicaid, Medicare and social security, which are biggest federal spending drivers in the subsequent decades.

On spending, the president has proposed increased spending on nondefense research, transportation projects, and teacher training. He has also called for tax breaks to small businesses that hire new workers and manufacturers who bring jobs to the U.S.

The president’s budget tweaks Medicaid and Medicare while promising enormous savings from healthcare (Heather et al, 2011, p.3). Obama wants to make low the corporate rate to 28 percent from 35 percent. He has been laboring to bring to an end the Bush-era household income tax cuts above $250,000. The president promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of 2012 in February 2009, but recession has hindered this so much.

Romney is planning to embrace Ryan’s budget brainchild if he gets to the White House. The budget calls for deep cuts in spending which would see the elimination of some government agencies, change food stamps and Medicaid into a bock-grant program, and transform Medicare by providing a subsidy for its patients (Strassel, 2012, p.2). This budgetary plan looks to cut individuals’ tax rates across the board. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Romney would need to get rid of innumerable tax breaks that profit families and workers to bring marginal rates of income as low as he advocates (Heather et al, 2011, p.2). These will include student-loan interest deductions, mortgage-interest deductions and charitable donation deductions. In addition, there will be tax breaks for employers offering health insurance. According to the Tax Policy Center, elimination of the tax breaks would amount to a tax rise on families, which earn less than $30,000. Romney budget proposal aims to cap federal spending, cat salary salaries and size of the federal workforce, repeal the 2010 health care law and change Medicaid into a block-grant program.

Obama differs from Romney in the issue of tax in that Obama looks to end the tax cuts of the Bush era. Romney promises to extend it instead. Obama looks to raise additional revenue from those with household income over $250,000 annually (Strassel, 2012, p.2). Thus, people who earn high amounts will witness their rates rising to 39.6 percent. Romney expects to cut, by 5%, nondefense discretionary spending. Obama, on the other hand, does not aim to cap, as a share of GDP, federal spending. The president has proposed billions of expenses on transportation projects and infrastructure.

Both Romney and Obama take similar, divergent deficit approaches. Obama’s budget promises $4 trillion, over ten years, deficit reduction with $1.5 trillion coming from increases in tax and other savings (Heather et al, 2011, p.2). In contrast, Romney’s plans aim at making immediate, drastic changes toward austerity. His deficit plan aims to slash federal spending down to 20%, by 2016, of GDP. Furthermore, his plan bets to spur economic growth through low tax rates.

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