by William Wallace
Some of you might remember when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were battling it out for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Four years later in 2012, two candidates have been fighting to get the Republican nomination, to go head to head with President Obama in November. Last Tuesday, the final nail went in the coffin; as Senator Marco Rubio himself put it, “the [Republican] primary is over”. Mitt Romney hasn’t reached the required number of delegates, but there is certainly little chance that Rick Santorum can catch up. Last week’s primary in Wisconsin was Santorum’s last chance: had he won, he’d have carried the momentum through to Pennsylvania, but his coming 5% behind Romney means that Republicans will see the latter as the only candidate capable of defeating Obama, which is essentially what the GOP nominee will have to do. Most opinion polls show that when the United States goes to the polls in November, faced with choosing between Obama and Romney, they will choose the former. But I ask this: what if Mitt Romney, ex-Governor of Massachusetts, wins the standoff with President Obama? What if Romney is elected 45th President of the United States of America? And, more importantly, what will it mean for Britain?
Since January, Romney has focused his attacks on Obama, rather than his fellow Republican contenders. He has thrown insult after insult at the President, but some comments he has made are not just attacking Obama. He has made it quite clear that he doesn’t like Europe, plain and simple. Despite spending three years in France on a Mormon missionary and acquiring a truly terrible French accent (see video below), Mr. Romney has said that Obama “wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society... we must ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity” In January, he also said that “the President takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America”. These remarks are a slap in the face for us Europeans and make it evident that a President Romney will not be terribly supportive of Europe. But he also will not be terribly supported by Europe. You’ll find that the majority of European governments are centre-right: France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain to name but few. Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron have all got on well with Obama and have not shown support for Romney in the manner that they did for McCain in 2008. I would go so far to say that a President Romney will damage relations between the US and Europe.
Republicans are historically more supportive of Israel than the Democrats, and, considering the dangerous situation brewing between Iran and Israel, one should be wary about how Romney would play his cards if he were leader of the free world. Unlike Obama, Romney would put militaristic means before diplomacy. President Obama has very openly stated that the two countries must avoid conflict at all costs. Romney takes a more aggressive standpoint, one that he made clear during the GOP debates last year, as he stated “if all else fails... we will take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon” This was welcomed by Republicans, but I can’t help but quiver at the thought of an all-out nuclear war between the US/Israel and Iran. Romney’s policy on the Middle East is far too hostile – admittedly not as much as Rick Santorum’s – when the nations in that area could descend into war in the near future. The only person still in the GOP race who has the correct stance is Ron Paul, but his campaign has being going backwards since Day One. In the interests of maintaining the more peaceful solution, Obama ought to be commended for his triumphs in being stricter with Israel. Would Romney have such a strong record on foreign policy? Short answer: no.
Last October, Romney said that he will “count dear the Special Relationship with the United Kingdom”. Whilst we can take Romney’s word on it, we shouldn’t forget the strained relations with Europe and staunch pro-Israel stance that would unfold under his Presidency. Romney might even be more supportive of the British claim to the Falklands, unlike Obama, but we must be more concerned about Europe and the wider world. So if you know anyone who lives on the other side of the pond: tell them to vote for Obama.
SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
* presidential elections take place every four years,
* there are two main parties: the Republicans and the Democrats,
* the Republicans tend to be conservative, the Democrats liberal.
* both parties have to nominate a candidate to go head to head in the general election in November,
* the nominating process takes several months as each state and territory vote for the party nominee,
* each state has a certain number of delegates who represent the candidate at the party convention later in the year.
* Romney has been ahead in the delegate race and has over half the required number.
* Obama has faced virtually no opposition in this year’s Democratic primaries
* everyone expects it to be an Obama-Romney race in November.
See also George Hope's article on Rick Santorum: