The World We’re Actually Living In –

A poke in the eye to Romney’s foreign policy from T.F., but a good discussion-starter and, to be fair, a good hint for how the challenger might really pose a threat to Obama on national security:

Let’s look at the world we’re actually living in. It is a world that has become much more interdependent so that our friends failing (like Greece) can now harm us as much as our enemies threatening, and our rivals (like China) collapsing can hurt us as much as their rising. It’s a world where a cheap YouTube video made by a superempowered individual can cause us more trouble than the million-dollar propaganda campaign of a superpower competitor. It is a globalized economy in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America’s largest business lobby, has opposed Romney’s pledge to designate China as a currency manipulator and is pressing Congress to lift cold war trade restrictions on Russia, a country Romney has labeled America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” It is a world where, at times, pulling back — and focusing on rebuilding our strength at home — is the most meaningful foreign policy initiative we can undertake because when America is at its best — its institutions, schools and values — it can inspire emulation, whereas Russia and China still have to rely on transactions or bullying to get others to follow. It is still a world where the use of force, or the threat of force, against implacable foes (Iran) is required, but a world where a nudge at the right time and place can also be effective.

via The World We’re Actually Living In –


14 thoughts on “The World We’re Actually Living In –”

  1. Foreign policy is so vital to this election today. The US has an opportunity to rise to the top if international relations are orchestrated correctly. This article is correct- foreign policy is important and highly complicated. We need a president with understanding like Obama and force like Romney yet both have major flaws that have yet to be solved.

    It has been interesting watching how Romney, focusing on foreign policy in the past weeks, has suffered in polls in battleground states. This is not only due to his Libya folly. Obama had a fabulous platform to speak at the UN yet he only delivered a speech. Each candidate is a risk. They cannot promise what they say. Foreign policy is of the utmost importance and it seems as though Americans must choose from one extreme or another. If Romney gives his planned foreign policy speech soon, Americans can hopefully see more proof as to which candidate has a stronger international plan.

  2. I like Thomas Friedman because he has the ability to precive things differently that most people, but I would like him to comment on President Obama and his secetary of state, Clinton’s, handling of the security of our embassy’s, expecially in Libia. First, one has to ask, “Has any or our foreign embassy’s ever been attacked? Of course the answer is a resounding “YES!!” Next, ask if the U.S. has been sucessfully attacking Al Qaeda in various parts of the world? The answer to that is also a resounding “YES!!

    It wouldn’t have been hard for someone with even half a brain, to conclude that an attack on one of our embassy’s was eminent and the anniversary of 911 would be a good time. So, which embassy? Well, there was one in Benghazi, Libya that was almost defenseless and had a very small defense force. Even Ambassador Stevens wrote in diary that he feared for his life. And it was well known that there were numerous bands of rebels who had access to RPG’s, mortars, and other similar weapons who were roaming the streets and countryside of Libia. In my view, Obama and Clinton has Christopher Stevens blood on their hands for not taking action long before the attack ever occured.

  3. Romney’s approach to foreign policy seems to have a strong realist influence that can be seen through his desire to label China a currency manipulator, Russia being the number one geopolitical adversary, and his support of Israeli action against Iran. In each case, there seems to be a zero-sum game in play where any advance by an “enemy” or adversary is depicted as a loss of U.S. power be it economic loss to China, area of political influence loss to Russia, or loss of power against Iran in the Middle East. While realism is able to explain many things, I question whether it is the correct perspective to go after in the post-Cold War era in which globalization and connectedness are expanding.,9171,2122773,00.html

  4. I have long believed that foreign policy is the most important factor in judging a presidential candidate, because it seems to me that it is the most important part of a president’s job. Something I realized while reading this is the sad truth that the GOP’s foreign policy today is the same as it has been. Why does it seem that the Democratic party has a monopoly on “thinking afresh about the world”? I think the Republican Party could use a little more of a fresh view in the foreign policy arena. It is unfortunate that I must bundle my conservative social and economics views with old fashioned views on foreign policy.
    This is a link to the Republican party platform on some foreign issues.

  5. This is the point in US history where America and its people will decide whether they want to be on top still as the dominant power, or they wanna be like every other country and be pushed around when it comes to foreign policy in general. If the US decides to be stern, and focus on rebuilding itself and cracking down on key places such as Iran and Russia and China, the world will not mistake who is on top in the world we live in. But if we decide to let up as a superpower, we will lose our position to those rising powers and be pushed aside and stomped. This is the direction that the US is heading under the Obama administration.

  6. This is one of the reason for my departure from the Republican party. As I begun to get a better world perspective the attitude that we should be aggressive and fearful of the world really began to just seem ignorant to me. We can not survive with the mentality that we are “better” and can do what ever we want. The world we live in is far smaller than ever before. I would rather us get closer to “The end of History” rather than a “Clash of Civilizations”. This idea though that civilizations are destine to clash seems to be a major part of the Republican ideology. Of course, I understand hard speak to rouge nations, but we still need to be diplomatic. Governor Romney made a statement fairly negative about Russia and Russians earlier this year. I remember when he said it, since I was living there. Many of my English students did not have a kind view of him. They didn’t “hate” America or freedom, most Russians love both, though the audacity of Romney to act like we are still in the Cold War, many really didn’t have a good view of him as a man and felt insulted. It was interesting to actually see how the statements of a candidate had upset normal people overseas. There is no black and white in this situation, since we are dealing with humans. It wasn’t even black and white during the Cold War. There are things that make us different, but yet I had more in common with people half way across the world, who were of a different nationality, religion and up bringing than those here at this university. We are not divided as many Neo-Conservatives seem to think. To many are living with a Samuel Huntington view of international relations, and with people who have that view in office, we are more likely of creating more violence in the years to come.

    While many of us have probably read Huntington’s work, this is a link to his controversial essay

  7. I felt that this article was very well written and an interesting read. It really goes to show the importance of foreign policy in today’s world. Romney will have his hands full as he tries to present his ideas for where our nation should go in this area. I did not agree with the last few lines of the article that said, “Voters will have to go with their gut about which guy has the best gut feel for navigating this world. Obama has demonstrated that he has something there. Romney has not.” While it this is true i feel that the very fact that Romney has not “demonstrated something there” is that he has not had a chance to demonstrate what he is capable of. I don’t think we can judge a candidate for something he has not been able to prove. I do think if Romney wants to instil confidence in his voters he will need to be more specific on what exactly his foreign policy is going to be.

  8. I agree with Friedman that Romney, and the GOP, don’t acknowledge many major differences between global policy now and the cold war. This is especially true in trade relations with China (President Obama has promoted similar policies but not as much). It is important that a leader looks at issues in a different light in the modern world which Obama seems to do. However, it seems that is often used an excuse not to do anything. Leadership still requires boldness and willingness to face issues head on. Friedman points out some differences between the two foreign policy stances but it seems that there are a lot of similarities as well. A main difference is in how they present the same message. Here is a list of some issues and the candidates views of them.

  9. As students who are studying the art of diplomacy, the differences between Romney and Obama’s foreign policy should give us something to really think about. As diplomats, you represent your country’s government. Under the Obama government, we’ve learned that sometimes tragic events like Benghazi happen. However, for a nation that is as globally involved as the United States, those instances are limited. To me, it’s interesting to consider what life as diplomat’s will be under the Romney government. How will a more stern, militaristic, and caustic policy at home influence the day-to-day negotiations and relationships between diplomats abroad? Can an “American Century,” as Romney envisions it, be realistically implemented on every level of foreign diplomacy?

  10. If we want to speak about national security and foreign policy in regards to Obama let me point out some facts.

    It was Obama’s second full day in office on January 22, 2009 that he issued the Guantanamo Review Task Force. This task force recommended releasing 126 current detainees to their homes or to a third country, 36 be prosecuted in either federal court or a military commission, and 48 be held indefinitely under the laws of war. In addition, 30 Yemenis were approved for release if security conditions in their home country improve. I do not condone the unethical torture that was occurring at the prison, but I do not condone the recommendation to release criminals and terrorists that are a threat to the United States of America.


    In addition, Obama is seeking 2013 budget cuts for: The Second Line of Defense (radiation detection equipment); Sea based X-Band Radar (Radar capable of acquiring, tracking, and discriminating the flight characteristics of ballistic missiles); the National Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund; the National Bio-Argo-Defense Facility; the Draw-down of Military End Strength; and a decrease in nuclear power.

    To see further proposed budget cuts for our National Defense Department see the following url:

    Upon reviewing our Country’s situation a current politician stated, ‘‘Our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We’re not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies. And that’s dangerous.”


  11. In the world of today foreign policy is a very vital topic of discussion. Clearly, the author of the article feels that Romney, if put into office, will make some drastic decisions. However, I would like to pose the question: How accurate are these predictions of this one written opinion. The truth of the matter is that predictions made in political science are off the majority of the time. This is not my opinion. But the opinion of Professor Robert Keohane, one of the most renowned political scientists of our time. He clearly stated in a lecture that predictions by some of the professionals generally can’t be taken too seriously. So I say, give Romney a break. Lets not base everything on speculation but search for some hard facts. Keohane speaks on what to trust as correct inferences and biased inference. More on the subject can be found on this site where the lecture is recorded.

  12. Reading this article, I thought about how important a role foreign policy will play in the upcoming presidential election. The growing economic clout of China, India, Brazil, other populous nations challenge the unipolar monopoly of the US. At the same time, the US has internal political, economic, social issues to resolve. As Romney states, I believe that more representation and presence in the global economy should be granted to China and the growing economic clout of other populous nations.

  13. When he states that failing nations such as Greece and our rivals, China affect us equally, he seems to ignore Romney’s view of dealing with countries economically. Economics control the world. Either wars are fought for economic purposes or the economic reprocussions of wars define nations on the global heirarchy. Why do people tend to forget that an economic expert is running for president? They blame him for being rich, but doesn’t his position make him even more suited to deal with an economic world?

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