Uncertain future

November 1, 2012
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By Wednesday morning we will know who is to be the next President of the USA. The race for the popular vote is tight; the Electoral College may be anything but. Whatever the outcome, it is likely that there will be a change of direction in US foreign policy (and not just because, whoever wins, Hillary Clinton’s retirement means that there will be a new Secretary of State). It would be wrong to assume that President Obama’s re-election would bring a simple continuation of the approach of the past four years. Some insiders believe that on Iran, for instance, a second Obama term would see the likelihood of military action increase; he does not want to leave office as the President who presided over a nuclear Iran, and will not have to worry about re-election.

On the other hand, his famously frosty relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu could turn ice-cold without the limiting factor of securing another term. As for Mr Romney: we know only marginally more about his approach to foreign affairs than we did about President George W Bush before his election in 2000. He has made a great deal of his support for Israel, but — the same holds for a second Obama term –— much will depend on who is appointed as Secretary of State. So although we will know the name of the President, that will only be part of the story.

Last updated: 1:06pm, November 2 2012