News / USA

Romney Adviser Discusses Foreign Policy Plans

Suzanne Presto
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is known for his abilities in the corporate world, but he has been criticized for lacking foreign policy experience.  Dov Zakheim, who served at the Department of Defense during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, is among Romney's foreign policy advisers.

Middle East

Romney has said his first foreign trip as president would be to Israel.  During his visit there in July, he lashed out against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The dictator in Damascus, no friend to Israel and no friend to America, slaughters his own people as he desperately clings to power," Romney told an audience in Jerusalem.  

Syrian security forces and rebels have been battling for more than a year. The United Nations estimates that at least 20,000 people have been killed in the bloodshed.

Adviser Dov Zakheim says the Republican nominee would aid the rebels.

"Romney has made it very clear that he would do all that it takes to get arms to the rebels -- that means money, that means equipment," said Zakheim.  He added that to achieve this goal, the U.S. likely would work more closely with other countries that support the rebels.

Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

During his visit to Israel, Romney also had strong words for Iran's leaders.

"We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so," said the nominee.

Iran is pursuing a nuclear enrichment program, despite United Nations sanctions. Tehran says the program is peaceful, but it has not given U.N. nuclear inspectors access to disputed sites.  

Zakheim says Romney would make sure Iran does not have even the capability to make a nuclear weapon.  

"Mr. Romney, as a fresh face, as a new start, would come in and say 'no enrichment, no exemptions' and, of course, back that up with a serious promise of the use of force, which frankly we hope we won't have to use," Zakheim said.

Russia

At the Democratic Party presidential convention, President Barack Obama criticized his challenger's foreign policy credentials.

"After all, you don't call Russia our number one enemy -- not al-Qaida, Russia -- unless you're still stuck in a Cold War mind warp," said Mr. Obama, prompting cheers from the crowd.

Romney has referred to Russia as America's "number one geopolitical foe."  Zakheim says it is because Russia's behavior is "not conducive to improving the world situation."  

At the U.N. Security Council, Russia has blocked U.S.-supported resolutions on Syria aimed at stopping the fighting there, and Russia also has opposed stronger actions to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Our concern with Russia again is not that we see them as an enemy because we don't," explained Zakheim.  "Our concern with Russia is that they seem to be backsliding in terms of human rights, in terms of aggressiveness toward their neighbors."

South Asia

As the political campaign season in the United States ramps up ahead of the November election, the war in Afghanistan is winding down.  The United States plans to withdraw its combat forces in 2014.

If elected, Romney is not bound to adhere to that 2014 withdrawal timetable.  

"As of now, 2014 is on the schedule and Mr. Romney is prepared to abide by it, if the military is comfortable," said Zakheim.

To get supplies into Afghanistan, the U.S. relies on routes through neighboring Pakistan, but tensions remain heightened between Washington and Islamabad.  

The U.S. has long been frustrated with insurgent havens in Pakistan.  The U.S. has used drones to strike suspected terrorist targets there, which Islamabad says violates its sovereignty.  Last year, U.S. Navy Seals raided a compound in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad and killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.  

Pakistan remains a major recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
   
The U.S.-Pakistani relationship calls for "a much more sophisticated approach," Zakheim says.

"That means not cutting off aid entirely but maybe directing it in more effective and efficient ways," the policy adviser explained.  "It means still maintaining a relationship with the military, but what that relationship is like, how we give them money, in what sense and to what purpose and to what end and to whom -- those are very important questions that need to be answered."

China

Romney has repeatedly said he would designate China a currency manipulator, a label that could lead to sanctions.  The Republican nominee also pledged to counter what he says are abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade and intellectual property.  Zakheim says  Romney does "not see China as a natural enemy."  

Africa

In Africa, foreign policy adviser Zakheim says Romney would continue to support programs that battle terrorism and those that promote development and health.  Zakheim highlighted the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR, which began under President George W. Bush and continued under President Obama.

Zakheim noted that bipartisan foreign policy is possible, if the policies are good ones.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jay from: Ohio
September 12, 2012 12:13 PM
Just what we need to get rid of the deficit, another war monger. Trillions of dollars spent on the longest war in american history, and Romney wants to start pointing fingers on the way to an election. Not good....He doesnt see china as an enemy because they have made him alot of money with all those jobs hes given to their slavery based economy. He is in the same class as all of those ceo's that care about nothing more than thier own wallets and not the good of the american people. From the outside in, the democratic party allways has seemed to be for the people, and the republicans for war and business with a side of what do the "conservatives" want to hear. We wont allow abortions(got the churches vote), but we will send our children to needless wars to die so we can get rich..oops i mean conquer terrorists....communists..or whatever the excuse is that era.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs