The audacity of reasonableness: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, US foreign policy and Australia

International relations Australia North America

At first glance, the differences between the two candidates for president of the United States in 2012, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, are striking. Each candidate is doing his best to emphasise these differences. Most commentators have drawn sharp distinctions between the two candidates on foreign policy. Global perceptions of the two men are also noticeably different: most of the Western world wants Obama to win.

The argument of this Analysis, however, is that when it comes to foreign policy, the similarities between the two men are more striking than the differences. President Obama is not as left-wing and dovish as many believe, and Governor Romney is not as right-wing and hawkish as he would have us believe. Americans face an important choice on 6 November. Their decision will be felt here in Australia. But the world is not at a crossroads.

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