On October 23, European time, in the University of Florida, the Democrats recorded the third round of the candidate debate on foreign policy as an asset, believing that the incumbent President could easily win the debate. This is due to the fact that Obama is much more sophisticated in matters of foreign policy, and Romney has already said enough to show, on the one hand, his lack of competence in international affairs, and on the other hand, his unreserved penchant for confrontation.
Still, the Democratic candidate desperately needed a convincing victory in this debate. In recent days Obama has slumped too close to Romney in the polls. Samples showed that their rating was practically equal on an average level of approximately 46-47%, and sometimes even with an advantage of 1-2% for the Republican. The distribution of sponsorship is very typical. The major donors for Romney are dominated by financial corporations and for Obama by companies related to information technology. It turned out that by betting the «big money» on the Republicans they were gradually tipping the scales in their favor. It appears that the Democrats calculations basically materialized. A poll conducted by CNN, found that the victory in the debate gave Obama 48%, and Romney only 40%. (1)
One of Obama`s main directions of attack on Romney was on the «Russian Front». Barely concealing a sarcastic grin, the President said to his opponent: «Governor, I'm glad that you recognize «Al-Qaeda» as a threat, because a few months ago you thought that the greatest geopolitical threat to America was Russia … but you probably know that the cold the war ended more than two decades ago». (2) Frankly Romney was «seduced» by this attack, despite the fact that Obama, in response to his earlier statements, has repeatedly and successfully used the statement that the Cold War has been over for a long time. For the Republican it was extremely awkward to give up his well-known views, especially as the president also condemned his rival for his constant incoherence and inconsistency. While insisting that Moscow still rules an «evil empire,» at the same time as the majority of Americans have not bought in to this idea since Ronald Reagan, so it became difficult for Romney. Frankly he bobbed and weaved and tried to justify himself: «When I spoke of Russia, I had in mind that it is only a geopolitical enemy, while Iran and» Al-Qaeda «are the enemies in terms of U.S. national security». Denoting the new «main enemies,» Romney, however, said he would not reject the previous statement: «If I become president, I will not wear rose-tinted glasses, when thinking of Russia and Vladimir Putin. I will not promise him more flexibility; what he will get from me is only inflexibility. «However, his specific accusations against Moscow boiled down to the fact that it continues to «put a spoke in the wheel» of the Americans when voting in the UN Security Council. That is, Romney does not want to see Russia infringe on the «rights of America,» and he questioned the sovereignty and freedom of choice of another state.
Romney tried to demonstrate the same veneer of hardness in respect of China, saying that «on the first day of my presidency I will accuse China of manipulating exchange rates». It is not as if Beijing does not regularly hear allegations of this kind from the Americans, to which the Chinese are indifferent, for the past interdependence of the two largest economies of the world, the United States is increasingly becoming more dependent and vulnerable. Understanding this Obama noted that his administration has already taken steps to bring China to justice at the WTO. If we take into consideration Beijing`s legitimate claims against Washington, no less (consider as example the last steps of the White House to prevent the expansion of the Chinese in the field of IT monster Huawei in America), it is clear that neither the incumbent president nor the challenger have a real recipe to «curb» China. However, rhetoric aside, in their analytical developments the Americans have long recognized that the major geopolitical conflict in the years to come will be a world struggle between the Chinese «Behemoth» and the American «Leviathan». And apparently, the U.S. political elite are still not ready for this fight.
Of course it might seem odd that the current leader of the White House defined «Al-Qaeda» and international terrorism as the major geopolitical threat to America. These «parties» have their own special, but not geopolitical, nature. Obama refused to apply the dubious laurels of «major threat» to Russia. However, there should also be no delusion, as during the years of the Obama administration, Russia became the main testing ground of modern American technology of «soft» or «smart» power on «not quite friendly territories»… Tied amongst first place, on the geopolitical threat of nuclear weapons in Iran, Romney was even more precise, although we probably should talk about the threats to American allies rather than directly to the United States. Significantly this time the Republican candidate’s angry invective towards Russia was at least partially repudiated.
What is truly alarming, is Romney`s position on Iran. In relegating Tehran to the role of the chief enemy of America instead of Russia, the Republican made a number of far-reaching statements. According to him, not only will he not allow Iran to become a nuclear state under any circumstances, but he will also bring President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the courts: «If I become president of the United States, I will ensure that Ahmadinejad is convicted under the UN Convention on Genocide, this will I do». Romney also pledged to ensure «that Iranian diplomats around the world will become pariahs, just as when we were pursuing South African diplomats during the apartheid years». Thus, the Republican exposed another «reason» for war against Iran. I must say, in the ranting condemning Ahmadinejad for «genocide» Mitt Romney belongs to the absolute minority in world politics. Such blatant hypocrisy in the invention of casus belli (justification for an act of war) is very similar to allegations about the development of nuclear weapons by Iraq before the invasion of that country, as well as the hunt for Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
What is interesting is where did Romney get such ideas? Do not be surprised if the source is found, for example, in Israel. The Republican candidate, as few before him in America, is tied hands and feet by obligations to Tel Aviv. Probably, the position of the U.S. financial elite that supports Romney, is very sensitive to the opinion of the Israeli lobby in the country, and is predefined by the same. For a «breakthrough» in the presidential race, many believe, a Republican must owe the same groups. Understanding that, during the debate, Obama was also generous with compliments to Israel, calling the country «a true friend of America». However, Tel Aviv has already outlined officially to opt for Romney. Given the fact that in parallel to the unfolding preparations for early parliamentary elections in Israel, in which according to polls, the Likud leader and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a strong lead, is not hard to see how this «sweet couple» can drag the world into a major war in the Middle East. If you think about the character of the new accusations against Iran, their principal feature is not feasible. It is possible, for example, to suspend its nuclear program, but it is impossible to take to the incumbent president to a court in a foreign country, and no country in the world would recognize a tort of genocide against them. Postulating abstract information, Romney deliberately simulates the thesis, the outcome of which is possible only with the use of force, although it is stipulated that a military strike on Iran should be only a last resort.
So far it's hard to say, if the candidates foreign policy debate in the U.S. presidential election will have a decisive impact on the preferences of American voters. As always, for Americans internal problems will remain most important.
Will both candidates learn the necessary lessons from this debate? Hopefully if Obama wins he will remember the advantage gained in the final debate, and perhaps in the whole campaign, was brought to him by the statement saying that the cold war with Russia ended over 20 years ago, and Russia is no longer a geopolitical enemy of America. However, these words need to be reinforced by deeds. If Romney gains the upper hand, there is a chance that he will recall in his memory that his «cavalry charge» on Russia nearly cost him his place as the head of the White House. Mitt Romney will have to understand that the time of unchallenged U.S. dominance in the world has gone forever and the relationship with other nations, including Russia, has to be built in new ways.