News / USA

    US Election Results Could Affect Foreign Policy

    US President Barack Obama records the weekly address, 01 Oct 2010 (file photo)
    US President Barack Obama records the weekly address, 01 Oct 2010 (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio

    U.S. voters will elect a new Congress on November 2, and public opinion polls indicate the domestic economy will be the top issue this year.  Experts say foreign policy concerns do not appear to be a major factor in the congressional midterm elections.  Republican gains in November, though, could have an impact on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy over the next two years.

    Political experts agree that the economy and worries about the high unemployment rate will be the dominant issues in this year's election, even though the United States and its allies remain at war in Afghanistan.

    President Barack Obama would like to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, battlefield conditions permitting.

    "The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground and our support for Afghanistan will endure," said President Obama.  But make no mistake.  This transition will begin, because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people's."

    Afghanistan remains the Obama administration's top foreign policy challenge, and even though U.S. casualties have increased in recent months, domestic support for the war effort remains stable, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

    "Interestingly, the groups that are most supportive of the president's war policy are Republicans and conservatives, who are less likely to support anything else on his agenda," said Brown.

    If Republicans gain seats in the November elections, as analysts expect, that could solidify support for the Afghan war in the short term.  It also could create the potential for conflict in Congress, however, if Democrats press for the beginning of a withdrawal next year.

    Republicans are emphasizing economic issues in their campaign platform, especially tax and spending cuts.  But the Republican agenda does include a pledge to remain tough on terrorism and to press for a more comprehensive missile defense system.

    Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry of Texas said, "We are committed to standing by our friends and our interests.  We will restore full funding for missile defense and push for tough enforcement of sanctions against Iran."

    Republican gains in the House and Senate could strengthen the hand of conservative critics who charge that the president has not been tough enough when it comes to denying Iran a nuclear weapons potential.

    Henry Nau, with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, said, "I doubt seriously if sanctions are going to bring them around on stopping their nuclear program.  That is, of course, Obama's view of the way the world works, and they are going to continue to make trouble."

    But in general the debate over foreign policy is not likely to matter much during this year's election campaign, according to Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution.

    "Interesting from my point of view is that there has been relatively little discussion of foreign policy in the midterm elections," said Mann.  "Issues like Iraq, even Afghanistan, Iran, the Middle East, are talked about at the edges but are in no way central to the campaign itself."

    If Republicans do gain seats in November or win back a majority in one or both chambers of Congress, they could be in a position to at least try to steer U.S. foreign policy in a more conservative direction.  For example, conservatives could press the Obama administration to be more assertive in dealing with Russia and China.

    Activists from the grassroots Tea Party movement are pushing the Republican Party to the right, and analysts say that could have an impact when President Obama deals with a new Congress early next year.

    Charles Kupchan, with the Council on Foreign Relations, said, "The centrist wing in the Republican Party is not likely to gain because a lot of the winners of the Republicans are going to be more Tea Party members who are also not centrist liberal internationalists.  They tend, I think, to hail to what you might call the neo-isolationist wing of the Republican Party."

    Republican gains in the Senate also could complicate efforts to ratify a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia.  The START 1 treaty expired in December of last year, and the Obama administration wants a vote in the Senate on the successor treaty soon.  But experts say that Republican gains in the Senate could embolden conservative critics of the treaty, who argue that its ratification would weaken U.S. defenses, a notion that President Obama and Senate Democrats reject.


    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora