Foreign policy takes stage, yet most voters indifferent, professor says

October 1, 2012 by Courtney Culey

(—Foreign policy has taken center stage in the presidential campaign as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tout their differing plans – and take aim at one another's vision for international security.

Unfortunately, voters pay little attention to these issues when electing a president, said Matt Zierler, associate professor of international relations at Michigan State University's James Madison College.

"Foreign policy does matter, but voters traditionally don't pay much attention to it," Zierler said.

There's a lot of tension in the world, Zierler noted. The European financial crisis appears to be getting worse. The Middle East is in chaos. There is violence in Libya and Egypt and United States Embassies are under attack. And Iran is working to gain nuclear power.

But Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican challenger Romney have disparate views on many of these foreign policy and global issues should be handled.

"In reality, they might have similar goals, but it's all about how they want to get there," Zierler said.

Obama prefers a more diplomatic approach, Zierler said. Obama aims to work with U.S. allies but not cater to their needs. He is committed to ending the and bringing U.S. troops back, and hopes to cut U.S. defense spending.

Romney takes a much more hardline approach to foreign policy, Zierler said. He wants to be tougher on Russia and China. He wants to take aggressive actions to prevent countries from gaining nuclear power. Romney likely will increase defense spending and wants to be more aggressive when supporting U.S. allies, Zierler said.

According to recent public opinion polls, Zierler said Americans tend to favor a approach more similar to Obama's.

Explore further: Obama leads in Michigan; many voters undecided, survey says

Related Stories

Obama leads in Michigan; many voters undecided, survey says

September 21, 2012

President Barack Obama holds a substantial lead in Michigan over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, although many of the state's voters remain undecided, according to Michigan State University's latest State of the State ...

Obama outpacing Republicans in Internet race

August 15, 2012

US President Barack Obama's campaign team is proving again in 2012 to be more conscious than rival Republicans are of the power of the Internet, particularly Twitter, a study released Wednesday said.

Aide says Romney thinks US health mandate not a tax

July 2, 2012

A top aide to White House hopeful Mitt Romney thrust a wrench Monday into the Republican attack line that President Barack Obama's individual health insurance mandate is a tax, arguing it's actually a penalty.

Romney threads position on health law 'tax'

July 5, 2012

Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has appeared to contradict previous campaign statements by saying President Barack Obama's health reform law entails a "tax" and not a penalty.

Recommended for you

Science: Public interest high, literacy stable

October 28, 2016

While public interest in science continues to grow, the level of U.S. scientific literacy remains largely unchanged, according to a survey by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2012
crap like this has got to be removed from physorg.

this is a sign the site is starting to weaken.

the fact that this so OBVIOUSLY is out of place means that someone was hired that ought not to have been. either they learn about their new duties, or they leave.

signed, someone who has been visiting physorg RELIGIOUSLY for over 7 years from the early days when it was less than a quarter of what it is now.

1 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2012
although the lady above does have a point - I think the real point is the pointlessness of the article - both clowns are in the great War Party whose dogma has not changed in this century - if it is brown and living over resources it must be attacked. Amerika had a chance for a real leader in Dr. Paul - but now only two neocon puppets.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.