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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.