Believers in the Free World are backing Romney

Domestic policy is one thing, but if America makes the wrong choice for its Commander in Chief, the Free World as a whole is imperilled

Believes in the Free World
The Commentator
On 4 November 2012 17:47

In most cases, it is no-one else’s business but the nation’s voters to decide who they elect as their head of government. We may have a personal preference for one or other candidate; we may support a set of policies in our own country and hope that they succeed in another country.

But as Americans go the polls on Tuesday, there is one issue that foreigners do have a right to make their voices heard on, especially when the nation in question is the United States of America.

Almost by definition, US foreign policy affects us all. We at the Commentator have strong views on the US health care debate – whatever you do, don’t emulate the British National Health Service, the worst health care provider in the Western world. We also favour low taxes and free enterprise.

Even if it is also true that a strong American economy is very much in our interests, Americans alone must make the choice as to where they want their country to go, and how. Gay marriage, abortion, gun control, the death penalty? What have such issues got to do with us?

But if the leading country in the Free World makes the wrong choice on foreign and defence policy, that raises questions about the Free World itself, and those countries who value being part of it.

To put it bluntly, Barack Obama has failed to provide the kind of international leadership that we in Britain are looking for. We certainly acknowledge our own country’s responsibilities, and its failings. We are deeply opposed to the current Conservative-led government’s defence cuts, and have grave reservations about some of its policies in the Middle East.

But America is America, and without strong, confident leadership from Washington the enemies of the Free World will step into the vacuum. We have been disappointed and perplexed by President Obama’s flip-flopping over Israel. His “apology tour” in the early part of his presidency did nothing to mollify anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, and much to embolden those who interpreted it as a sign of weakness.

We do not believe that Iran takes the Obama Administration seriously, and we worry that that Islamist dictatorship would push hard in a second Obama term to go nuclear.

We have very little confidence that President Putin in Russia feels as constrained in his ambitions as he did under either President Bush or, for that matter, President Clinton. Does China see Obama as a soft touch? We do not know, but we would not be surprised. We do not accuse the president of being weak on terrorism, but does he really understand its causes, or is he all too ready to blame America itself for having stirred the hornet’s nest?

Governor Romney, is of course, an unknown quantity, at least in the sense that he has never been Commander in Chief. That is true of any new candidate for the highest office in the United States. But Romney has given all the indications that we would want from a would-be president. He plainly believes in the primacy of America as the leader of the Free World (have we used that construction more in this article than Obama has in his entire presidency?), and when Romney talks about it he sounds convincing.

He understands clearly that the key problem in the Israel-Palestine conflict is Palestinian rejectionism. When he says he supports the US military with a passion, he is believable in a way that Obama is not. He seems to grasp the challenges posed by a rising China. He knows the risks that Russia continues to pose. He supports the trans-Atlantic alliance. He believes in freedom; he believes in America.

We repeat that the kind of domestic issues that dominate political debate in democracies across the world are a matter for Americans alone.

But for the reasons we have described, we will be hoping that Mitt Romney emerges victorious this coming Tuesday, and we would venture to say that true believers in the future of the Free World, from wherever they may hail, are right behind us.

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