What's the Difference Between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul Foreign Policy?

We here in the U.S. sometimes tend not to notice elections in China, Australia, or even Canada. But the entire world watches every four years as Americans head to the polls to vote for president, to see what they could lose or gain by the election of a new American president.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. When George W. Bush won reelection in 2004, the news was flooded with stories of how the world couldn’t understand what we had just done. In 2008, the world rejoiced as we elected Barack Obama, especially across Europe and the Middle East. Obama today still enjoys much more popularity in Europe than here at home. If Europeans could vote, Obama’s reelection would be a lock.

Each of the GOP candidates has their own vision for America and its place in the world. As the nations of the world watch the Republican primaries unfold, no doubt they are taking note, wondering what could be in store for them and their interests should Obama be replaced this fall.

Rick Santorum is the most hawkish of all the GOP candidates, believing the bombing of Iran would be justified to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon. His primary goals economically are to slash corporate taxes for manufacturing down to zero, giving a huge incentive for companies to bring jobs back home. He would also use his influence to promote humanitarian work and aid to the most impoverished parts of the world, a-la Bush in Africa.

Newt Gingrich is a hawk, but he’s a cheap hawk, favoring crippling sanctions and unilateral action if necessary. He wants to drastically cut the purchasing of Middle Eastern oil and invest in energy programs at home. Gingrich also favors "telling the truth" about radical Islam, which will serve only to prevent him from winning over friends he wouldn’t have won over anyways.

Mitt Romney is as hawkish as anyone else, but favors military action as a last resort. Standing firm with allies like Israel and Britain, he believes military action should always be on the table but favors sanctions and meeting with preconditions. He favors cutting taxes and regulations, making it easier for businesses to repatriate. He does not favor bailing out the southern European economies. Romney also wants to increase trade and sign new trade deals, while at the same time labeling China a currency manipulator.

Ron Paul believes in a form of isolationism, no matter what he calls it. While he believes in trade and diplomatic relations, he would recall nearly all active service members from around the world. This may get praise from aging hippies, pacifists, and modern hipsters, but it could have the unintended consequence of further straining ties with our allies. Paul sometimes seems to deny threats from terrorism and has stated in so many words that our problems would certainly not exist if we were a little nicer.

There’s no doubt that countries like Russia, China, Brazil, and Iran would love to see Obama win a second term. Other countries on the other hand might be eager for someone who would have their back in private as well as in public. With the primaries now underway, there is no doubt the world will be watching closely.

Perhaps this picture, more than any, states a sentiment around the world that is not often reported.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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Jesse Merkel

Jesse currently works as a Content Engineer for HubShout, LLC. In the past, he wrote about the political scene in his hometown of Rochester, NY for Examiner.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse worked as a professional guitarist and private music instructor for over seven and a half years, while also volunteering on several local and national political campaigns. These days, Jesse enjoys writing about music, movies and pop culture, and is a die hard Trekker.

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