Who cares!

Obama or Romney? Does it matter for the Muslim world?

US PRESIDENCY

MEHBOOB MAKHDOOMI

Succeeding John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 US elections, Willard Mitt Romney is running for the United States presidency in 2012 against the same Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Romney, an American businessman, has served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
There have been three presidential debates between the two contenders in October. And the final debate, focusing on the foreign policy, was hosted by Lynn University in Florida. Bob Scheiiffer moderated the debate. It drew 59.2 million TV viewers. It was of more interest to non-Americans, as Americans seem to be more inclined to the domestic issues this time around. Muslim world and China were more keen on these debates as they wanted to know the candidate suitable to them so that they could hope for his victory. They have not been able to find one as both the candidates did not differ much on their international agenda.

Iran: Obama strongly promised that Iran would not be able to attain nuclear capability because of its rigid stand against the Islamic republic. During his tenure Romney called Iran biggest threat to the national security of United States and pledged to the nation that he would tighten the noose and impose strict economic sanctions. He even went to the extent of saying that he will ensure that Ahmadinejad is indicted under the ‘Genocide Convention’ and Iranian diplomats treated the same way as were South African Apartheid diplomats. He even expressed his willingness to go for an all-out war, if other options are exhausted.
Af-Pak Region:  Drone attacks may or may not kill the targeted militants but they certainly kill the civilians. As Obama boasted about his drone strategy, Romney minced no words in praising his electoral adversary in doing so.

Israel: The two presidential candidates competed with each other in supporting Israel, calling it their strongest ally and declared that if Israel is attacked, it will be tantamount to an attack on the United States. Even many American commentators could not fathom this race for lending such an unrelenting backing for Israel. Hence, the unconditional pro-Israel policy continues in the white house, irrespective of who rules it, implying that Palestinians won’t get justice, as far as America is concerned. 
United States Armed Forces: When the Muslim world is already complaining about US military interventions and its unbridled powers under the Obama presidency, Mit Romney is not satisfied with it. He intends to repeal even the 10 percent budget cut on military spending, consensus about which was, otherwise, reached in ‘2011 budget control act’. Romney did not seem to be happy with receding number of ships (285 as compared with 313 in the year 1917) and regretted that their air force is smaller than what it was in 1947, to which Obama aptly reciprocated, saying that the US also has less horses and bayonets than before as the military strategy has changed and the country now has aircraft carriers and underwater nuclear-submarines which ultimately prove more lethal for the enemy. Why do they need to increase the defense budget when they are not facing any military confrontation at home and their economy is struggling? They are referring to their presence in foreign countries, especially in Muslim lands. 
Obama and Romney did not differ much even on Libya and Syria. In fact, CBC’s Evan Solomon, in his post debate analysis, noted that Romney could have hammered the President Obama hard on the Libya question, but he did not.

China: Apart from the Muslim world, the Chinese were quite intrigued as well, of course on the economic front and not on the military one. So on the China question, Obama was quite candid in saying that United States is a pacific power and shall have a presence in the area as the countries in the region other than China are being approached for trade relations just to maintain pressure on China. Mitt Romney went even further in castigating China by accusing them of inadvertently lowering their currency value so that their products become economically more viable. Interestingly, Romney branded China as ‘Currency manipulator’.
Unlike 2008 pre-election campaign when Obama in an interview with Joe Klein of Time magazine just couple of weeks before the elections had emphasized on the need to resolve Kashmir dispute and had even gone to the extent of appointing a special envoy for it, the Kashmir question is nowhere to be seen this time, neither from the Democrats nor from the Republicans.

(Feedback at makhdoomi.mehboob6@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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