Obama vs Romney on Foreign Policy

This photo combo shows President Barack Obama in Chapel Hill, N.C. on April 24, 2012, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on April 18, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.
This photo combo shows President Barack Obama in Chapel Hill, N.C. on April 24, 2012, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on April 18, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.
Pamela Dockins
A look at where President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney stand on key foreign policy issues:

Defense spending

President Obama, as a result of a 2011 deficit reduction agreement, could face an automatic federal budget cut of more than $100 billion at the end of the year if there is no compromise agreement with Republicans.  The plan, known as sequestration, slows the rate of U.S. defense spending.  During the foreign policy presidential debate, Obama said his military budget proposal would not be "reducing" spending but "maintaining" it.  He accused Romney of proposing military spending that had not been sought by military leaders.  

Romney wants to reverse what he calls "Obama-era defense cuts."  The former Massachusetts governor said his goal would be to set core defense spending, which includes funds for military personnel operations, procurement and research and development, at a minimum of 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. During an October presidential debate, Romney defended his plans to build a larger military by cutting spending on government programs, including the president's health care plan which critics call "Obamacare."


Obama said his administration has shown strength by enforcing what he calls the "toughest, most crippling sanctions" ever on Iran as part of international efforts to deter Iran from its alleged nuclear weapons goal.  He said the United States will not perpetually engage in nuclear negotiations with Tehran that go nowhere and that the U.S. would only accept an agreement that ends Iran's nuclear program.  The president said Romney's proposals on Iran are not that different from what he has already done.  

Romney has said Iran's nuclear program is the United States' greatest threat.  He pledged to work with Congress and U.S. allies to implement new and broader economic sanctions against Iran and tighten existing sanctions.  Romney has also said he would push for greater diplomatic isolation.  During the October debates, the Republican challenger said Obama's policies had brought the U.S. "four years closer to a nuclear Iran."

Foreign conflict

The role of the United States in the Afghan conflict was a key issue during the 2008 presidential election. Then-senator Obama visited Afghanistan during his campaign.  With U.S. involvement in the conflict growing less popular with voters, Obama has pledged to end U.S. combat operations by 2014.  On Syria, Obama wants international pressure to be exerted on President Bashar al-Assad's government.  He has expressed reservations about arming rebels, saying "we have to be absolutely certain of who were are helping." In Libya, Obama has pledged to find those responsible for the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans.  

Romney, like Obama, supports ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014. Romney, however, has said the withdrawal should be based by conditions on the ground, as assessed by U.S. military commanders.  On Syria, he has proposed a three-part strategy that includes increasing sanctions targeting the Syrian government, working with Syrian defectors and intelligence resources to prevent the export of Syrian weapons of mass destruction and facilitating efforts to supply arms to "responsible members of the opposition."  Romney has criticized Obama for what he called a "lack of security" leading up to the September raid in Benghazi.


The president sought a more conciliatory approach towards China and has stopped short of calling Beijing a currency manipulator. In an October presidential debate, Obama said his administration had a record of winning trade violation cases against China. He said he would continue to press Beijing on currency issues and would insist that China plays by "the same rules as everyone else."  

The Republican challenger has branded China a currency manipulator and has also accused Beijing of stealing U.S. intellectual property and patents and counterfeiting U.S. goods.  Romney says he will pursue policies that will discourage what he calls "imbalanced trade relations" between China and its neighbors. Romney has also said he favors maintaining and expanding the U.S. naval presence in the Western pacific region, in part to discourage any Chinese aggression against its neighbors.


Obama has expressed a desire for a resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  He has called on both sides to base talks on borders that were in place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before the territories were captured by Israel in a 1967 war. The president has chastised Israel for continued settlement building in disputed areas, but he has said his administration has ramped up security cooperation with Israel.

Romney has said as president, his first foreign trip would be to Israel.  He has accused Obama of alienating the Jewish state, and has said he would work with Turkey and Egypt to shore up what he calls "fraying" relations with Israel.  Romney said he supports a Palestinian state, but would reduce assistance to Palestinians if they continue to pursue United Nations statehood recognition or if they form a unity government that includes Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States and Israel.
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Comment Sorting
by: NVO from: Usa
November 03, 2012 12:20 PM
To embrace Obama is to embrace the NEW WORLD ORDER! Wake up you ignorant fools, whom still tout this SOCIALIST!!

by: Robert from: U.S.
November 02, 2012 8:38 PM
Notice a lot of people commenting here who are not U.S. citizens. They have not experienced the last 4 years under Obama - - unemployment double of what he promised by this time in his first term, the national debt increased more during his term than under any other president in U.S. history, the price of fuel skyrocketing, graft and corruption in his administration the likes of which has never been seen before such as ramming through a health care plan late at night behind closed doors (including blatant bribery of politicians to make that happen) that will cripple our nation if allowed to continue. He has also continually lied to the American people, a good example of which is the incident in Libya that cost the lives of our Ambassador and some of our elite special forces. He also has disregarded and disgraced the Constitution of The United States (which he swore to uphold). One glaring example of this is the involvement of our military to overthrow the dictator in Libya, violating the War Powers Act which requires Congressional approval under such circumstances. Obama has not earned a second term by any stretch of the imagination, including his attempt to use the recent tragedy of superstorm "Sandy" to his political advantage in New Jersey and totally ignoring other hard-hit areas such as Staten Island, New York. As of Nov. 1, FEMA was strangely absent from some of those hard-hit areas of New York as dead bodies were being pulled from the wreckage.
In Response

by: qwerty from: usa
November 03, 2012 11:52 PM
You reallly need to get your facts straight because obama raised the country from a crisis and has done so much the past 4 years. Imagine what he could do in double the time!!!!
In Response

by: Amskeptic from: Georgia
November 03, 2012 10:48 AM
Hey Robert, I am an American citizen who HAS experienced the last four years of Republican hatefulness, obstructionism, hostage-taking on the debt-ceiling, and sheer ignorance in the face of science, I have experienced their disdain for the rest of the world, their anti-intellectualism, their stone-age mysogeny, and a an American citizen who has experienced their tedious grandstanding, I say they are a disgrace to the human community.
In Response

by: Cuddster from: NJ
November 03, 2012 7:03 AM
Robert, you are a typical talking head Republican who doesn't know the true facts. First of all let me remind you our President inherited a country on the verge of a financial collapse. A stimulus package proposed and put forth by President Bush that President Obama had to sign off on. Our military overextended and fighting a battle over suspect claims of "weapons of mass destruction". Leading us into not one war but THREE wars at one time! Taxpayers pay astronomical figures for the uninsured because they use the ER for medical care and can not be refused there. So doesn't it make more sense to provide healthcare to every citizen? Our President has told no lies regarding the attacks in Benghazi. Absolutely there was a security intelligence failure as there was with the 911 attacks. Get your facts straight talking head and do some research!

by: RareSense from: Australia
November 01, 2012 8:22 PM
Mitt Romney will collapse America, to spend $100 Billion on defence over health care is shear madness. Australia, has Medicare - it is very successfully in fact we have one of the strongest economies and lowest unemployment rates in the world it shoots down Romney's Argument to pieces that it doesn't work. In fact Medicare it is actually about reducing National costs. Think the big picture here America, you are giving the right to be healthy in America, Medicare is about preventing heath issues getting worse and costing more money and resources. If you have healthy people, the benefits are many from, greater productivity due to less people being sick off work, less unemployment from the point of people being to sick to get a job. From an outsider looking in it is frightening to see a nation that is so ready to spend money on Military over looking after it's peoples own welfare. Historically the it has always led to civil unrest..... beware America, you are fear everyone else harming you, where the greater danger is from within. You will do it yourselves. Good luck in the elections I hope you all make a well informed decision. Obama
In Response

by: marvin nubwaxer from: usa
November 02, 2012 7:50 PM
if there was a serious threat to the universal healthcare system anywhere it exists people would riot in the streets against it. people who have national health maybe pay more in taxes but they live much better with healthcare security. it's a disgrace the usa doesn't have a national healthcare program.
In Response

by: Abdulqayoomabro from: Garhi khairo/jaccobabad
November 02, 2012 3:53 AM
Thank you dear you know well abut effected people, Medical Camp and Water Supplying want America. You Should Make a Forum for the effected people.
it is my dream that i live in America.
Jesus Abdul Qayoom Abro

by: Cassey from: Atlanta, Ga
November 01, 2012 1:42 PM
Obama, has proven time and time again that he is worthy of a second term. Akind hearted leader for the U.S. working with Christie showed more than enough words to say... with the upmost adiration, I believe Obama and Christie will get second term for the great display of leadership for our country.

by: Bob Bickel from: New Jersey
November 01, 2012 12:17 PM
Here is why I voted for Obama - http://bobbickel.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-i-voted-for-obama.html

by: camari from: texas
November 01, 2012 11:43 AM
This says alot about what each one can bring to the table we have had a lot of foreign policies obama has done a god job on getting our troops out and bring more peace between the U.S.A and other countries they have more respect for us and look up to us more because of our president so why try to stop something good from happening. we NEED Obama to bring us out of this shitty place were in and i believe in $ more years be can be back on track .!

by: Kate McKinny from: Ontario, Canada
November 01, 2012 10:25 AM
After watching Obama work with Christie yesterday and easing the fears of the many citizens impacted by TS Sandy - I firmly believe that Obama will get in for his last term as POTUS.
In Response

by: nancy from: MN
November 04, 2012 2:18 PM
Obama has been denying religious liberty and our constitutional
rights! I want my country back with our constitutional guarantees.
Romney will keep peace thru strength. Obama may invite terrorists
on our soil much like the actions not taken in Bengazi. With Obama's unilateral disarmament and stating he will have more flexibility to reduce our missile sheilds after the election, Obama
is a clear threat to our National Security. From my vantage point, He would love nothing
more than to turn us into a One World Communist Regime.
In Response

by: by;Nina from: florida
November 01, 2012 7:57 PM
This president shows the real leadeship time and time again.a bit example about yesterday,with Christie such a cool things their both did, we can learn from them how to work together for the sake of the people.i truly believe .this presedent deserve a 2nd chance ,and will happen.
i also do have high regards for Christie by being honest and fair..

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