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‘Obama’s instincts are for peace’

The foreign policy of US affects nearly every country in the world. Broadly the world will be celebrating Obama’s reelection. He is overwhelmingly more popular worldwide than Romney, according to recent surveys. According to a BBC survey conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA between July and September, Barack Obama had significantly higher global approval ratings than Romney.

The survey that polled 21,797 people in 21 countries found that an average of 50 percent favored President Obama with only 9 percent favoring Mitt Romney. The rest were either unsure or indifferent.

Romney however did beat Obama in Pakistan. According to The Huffington Post, 14 percent of Pakistanis polled said they would vote Republican compared to 11 percent Democrat. Surprisingly seventy-five percent of Pakistanis did not favor either candidate.

Obama’s biggest fans were in the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland, while Pakistan, Georgia, Israel, Macedonia and China favored Romney, according to the global straw poll.

Romney had criticised Obama’s foreign policy as apologetic, especially in the Middle-East. Obama has been trying to defy this perception during his first time in office but for now Obama’s policy might be even more remorseful than before as he the worry of reelection will no longer be looming.

Out of 508 promises made by Obama, 41 per cent of them have been broken, stalled, or compromised, according to Politi Fact. People do have qualms regarding Obama’s foreign policy in regards to the promises he made in the last presidential campaign. President Obama promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp quickly. Within days of taking office, he signed an order demanding closure “as soon as practicable”. But sadly Guantanamo Bay is still not closed.

International policy under President Obama’s administration has depended more on negotiations and understanding in the Middle East. Obama didn’t have the best of relationships with Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, although Obama’s administration has increased US military aid to Israel, essentially in response to the threat of a possible nuclear program in Iran.

Obama failed to visit Israel during his presidency because of this alleged tension with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which he had outright rejected. It would be interesting to see U.S-Israel relations strengthened in Obama’s last tenure, there is probability of enhanced security cooperation and coordination on Iran.

Obama’s plan is to withdraw US troops in Afghanistan and transfer the responsibility for security to the government in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The US foreign policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan is unlikely to change much. However, Imran Khan, chairman of the Political party, Tehreek-Insaf has a different perspective.

“Obama in his first term escalated the war in Afghanistan, and then the surge failed,” Imran khan said in an interview to Al-Jazeera. “Obama with Gen. David Petraeus hoped that the increased surge would bring the Taliban on the dialogue table but it didn’t and that actually strengthened the Taliban and they felt they could out-weigh the U.S” said Khan.

“The only hope is that Obama might change his policies in his second-term, as he no longer would be worried about re-election.

“Obama’s instincts are for peace,” he said.

Obama promised in 2009 that peace in the Middle East would be a top priority of the foreign policy. Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian leaders have been invited to the White House for peace talks. Obama administration has also made diplomatic propositions to Syria.

Obama administration has targeted high-level militants in Yemen and Somalia through covert drone strikes and Obama will expectantly still engage with partners in that region to promote reforms that will help coagulate the revolutions that overthrew dictators in key Arab states. On Syria, as Obama said his goal would be to promote a moderate Syrian leadership.

Obama successfully convinced Russia and China to back extreme sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, a task that might have been difficult for Romney, especially after calling Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”

US-Russian relations have improved over the years and have helped in several areas such as arms cuts and trade, including completing Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

 Obama promised in (2008) to engage with Iran. Nevertheless, there was an immediate transformation in his tone and Obama urged Iran to “unclench its fists”, and sent a video message to the people of Iran offering a “new beginning”. Obama might continue to tighten sanctions on Iran, there is much less probability of the use of military force against Iran, although Obama has said that he can use force as a final resort to stop Iran in persistence of its nuclear program during his presidential campaign. Iran has argued that its nuclear program is solely for civilian energy purposes.

The Daily Mail summarises the survey results showing how the world would vote:


Argentina: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney

Austria: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney

Belgium: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney

Brazil: 90 % Obama, 10 % Romney

Canada: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney

Chile: 80 % Obama, 20 % Romney

China: 48 % Obama, 52 % Romney

Colombia: 77 % Obama, 23 % Romney

Costa Rica: 83 % Obama, 17 % Romney

Finland: 93 % Obama, 7 % Romney

UK: 85 % Obama, 15 % Romney

Venezuela: 77 % Obama, 23 % Romney

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France: 88 % Obama, 12 % Romney

Germany: 92 % Obama, 8 % Romney

Greece: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney

Hong Kong: 85 % Obama, 15 % Romney

India: 64 % Obama, 36 % Romney

Indonesia: 87 % Obama, 13 % Romney

Ireland: 86 % Obama, 14 % Romney

Italy: 87 % Obama, 13 % Romney

Japan: 75 % Obama, 25 % Romney

Latin America: 79 % Obama, 21 % Romney

Thailand: 65 % Obama, 35 % Romney

Turkey: 73 % Obama, 27 % Romney

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Mexico: 88 % Obama, 12 % Romney

Middle East: 79 % Obama, 21 % Romney

Peru: 75 % Obama, 25 % Romney

Philippines: 62 % Obama, 38 % Romney

Poland: 64 % Obama, 36 % Romney

Portugal: 94 % Obama, 6 % Romney

Russia: 73 % Obama, 27 % Romney

Singapore: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney

South Africa: 68 % Obama, 32 % Romney

Spain: 82 % Obama, 18 % Romney

Sweden: 90 % Obama, 10 % Romney

Taiwan: 69 % Obama, 31 % Romney



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