US election unlikely to change US foreign policy

(By Deutsche Welle) As the election nears, President Obama and Governor Romney have tried to draw clear distinctions between their foreign policies. But the next president will face hard realities that leave little room for maneuver.

Throughout the campaign season, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has sought to present an alternative vision to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, saying that he will lead the US into another “American Century” by acting with “clarity and resolve” on the world stage.

Romney’s rhetoric plays to an electorate that still views the United States as the most important country in the world, but one whose influence is ebbing after 10 years of war and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  Just 24 percent of Americans believe their country plays “a more important” role as world leader compared to a decade ago, according to a September 2012 study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“When Obama was elected there was a recognition that the American people felt we were overcommitted in a number of places, and you’ve seen obviously the decision to get out of Iraq as the most obvious manifestation of that,” Stephen Walt, an American foreign policy expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told DW. “Even when Obama decided he was going to escalate in Afghanistan he put a deadline on it.”

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As world power shifts, will US reassess its ‘exceptional’ status?

(By Deutsche Welle) Since its birth, the United States has viewed itself as an exceptional nation destined to spread its values as far as possible. But as American hegemony goes into decline, will the US accept other nations as equals?

After two centuries of economic growth and increasing world influence, America has come to view itself as a nation apart. Other countries – France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia – may have been great powers. But the US has historically seen itself as an exceptional power – one destined to lead the others into a globalized era of democratic peace, underpinned by a universal network of free trade.

The country’s belief in its own exceptionalism “is not based solely on power but it’s based very much on principle and on the perception of political values in the country,” said Edward Luck, senior vice president for research and programs at the International Peace Institute.

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