Obama, Romney Pandering to a Less Interventionist Public (For Now)

In last night’s presidential debate, Romney walked a narrow line of fundamentally agreeing with President Obama on key foreign policy issues while trying to seem tougher. At the same time, he tried to avoid being boxed in as pro-war by Obama, saying things like “We don’t want to get drawn into a military conflict,” and “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

Republican voters might criticize Romney for so eagerly escaping the hard-nationalist, pro-war label, but Romney’s decision here was politically shrewd, as the fickle, fluctuating Massachusetts Governor so often is. He understands what Pat Buchanan pointed out last week: the perceived peace candidate tends to win.

Pew Research Center, for example, found this week that a large majority, 63 percent, want the US to be less involved in the Middle East’s political changes. This is a precept that is simply out of the question for policymakers, including the president.

Truth be told, outside of the election in two weeks, the public is wholly ignored in foreign policy-making. This 2005 study from American Political Science Review assessed multivariate foreign policy preferences and their influence on actual policy, considering business, elite opinion, labor, and the general public. It found that business interests along with elite opinion within the foreign policy establishment basically dictate foreign policy.

The strongest and most consistent results are the coefficients for business, which suggest that internationally oriented business corporations are strongly influential in U.S. foreign policy…Business people (along with experts) are estimated to exert the strongest effects on policy makers overall and, especially, on administration officials…

And as for the public, the researchers favored their models to account for possible miscalculations in their models’ emphasis in popular opinion:

Even with these reduced and refined models, the public does not appear to exert substantial consistent influence on the makers of foreign policy…A more plausible interpretation of these borderline-signifcant coefficients, however, is that the public simply has no effect at all…In general, public opinion takes a back seat to business and experts.

This is par for the course. States have always been self-serving institutions with the aim of furthering their own power and control, in conjunction with their collaborators in the corporate world who benefit from the state capitalist system. Charles Tilly, author of Coercion, Capital and European States, described war as primarily “a means of satisfying the economic interests of the ruling coalition by gaining access to the resources of other states.”

And that’s how it will stay with regard to foreign policy, even if both candidates try to portray themselves as the peace candidate. Meanwhile, both parties desperately maintain our empire, hegemony, and coercive capabilities abroad. The public is a little less interested in that, because it primarily serves the interests of the state, not the people.

3 thoughts on “Obama, Romney Pandering to a Less Interventionist Public (For Now)”

  1. I like the answer of this German Scholar when he was asked about terrorism and Islam: He said:

    ·Who started the First World War, which killed 37 million and injured 22, 379, 053 that includes 7 million civilians?Muslims?
    ·Who started the Second World War, which killed over 60 million, which was over 2.5% of the world population?Muslims?
    ·Who killed about 20 million of Aborigines in Australia? Muslims?
    ·Who drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed 166,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki? Muslims?
    ·Who killed more than 100 million Red Indians in North America?Muslims?
    ·Who killed more than 50 million Indian in South America?Muslims?
    ·Who took about 180 million African people as slaves and when 88% of them died, threw them into the Atlantic Ocean?Muslims?
    They weren’t Muslims! First of all, you have to define terrorism properly…. If a non-Muslim does something bad… it is crime. But if a Muslim commits the same, he is a terrorist. So first remove the double standard… then come to the point.
    *** Just for your information ***

  2. First of all, let me emphatically state that I despise Obama. This guy is a Communist and if he is reelected, our nation is in for a very, very rough ride over the next four years – one that we may never recover from, and one that what's left of our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will not survive.

    However, shifting over to Romney – and examining the unbelievable infestation of this guy's campaign staff and list of advisers with a neo-con detection microscope – he is covered, head to toe, with neo-con disease carrying dog ticks that were previously attached to the cocaine brain damaged, lying, smirking, war criminal weasel from Crawford, Texas. Remember – how this weasel was campaigning the first time, saying that he thought America needed to adopt a 'more humble' foreign policy? That we needed to think about bringing at least some of our troops home and stop meddling in other nation's business? That was how this weasel cleverly peeled away the support that might have otherwise gone to Patrick Buchanan who ran on the Reform Party that same year.

    And, guess what happened once the weasel got into office? The neo-con PNAC Agenda immediately was kicked off and we saw the exact opposite of what this guy had promised – an explosion of illegal wars, massive expansion of interventionism all over the Middle East and elsewhere, and our foreign policy was now being implemented and directed out of the Israeli Knesset – and has been ever since. So, fast forward to the most recent and final GOP debate and here we have Mitt Romney, covered from head to toe with neo-con dog ticks – the very same gang of Israel-First neo-cons who LIED our nation into Afghanistan and Iraq, and who tried their best to get us to attack Iran before their cocaine brain damaged stooge left office, and who've been trying their best ever since to lie about Iran's nuclear intentions and cook up some pretext or false flag event that they can pin on Iran and use to trick the USA into the next war on Israel's 'attack and destroy for us list' – and now, Mitt Romney is looking the war weary American public in the eye on national TV and assuring us that he has no plans to start WW3 and we are supposed to believe him and all of his lying neo-con dog ticks?

    Hey, I don't even trust Obama on this issue – despite the fact that, so far, he's put up a little
    resistance to Netanyahu's pathologically insane demands to attack Iran. In Obama's case, I think its simply a matter of his not wanting to start a new war that might not go well and harm his chances to get reelected. But, if he does get a second term – he will then be free to proceed with this insanity with the minimal amount of personal risk to the rest of his Communist agenda for the USA.

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