The United States presidential election this November comes at an important moment for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The Arab uprisings have delivered new governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen that necessitate reconsidered U.S. policy. The uprising in Syria has devolved into civil war, and the international community has stalemated in response. The international conflict over Iran’s nuclear program has not been resolved, and opinion diverges over whether to continue negotiation or pursue military solutions.
The evolving political landscape in the region will, over the next four years, pose new challenges to American foreign policy and demand creative policy solutions. Both President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are prepared to face the challenges of a new Middle East, yet the two candidates articulate markedly different policy visions for the region.
This analysis uses the candidates’ policies and foreign policy statements about select countries in the region to clarify their preferred approaches to the Middle East. It also addresses how these past policies and statements may affect policies in the next presidential term. Finally, the report closes with an investigation of the candidates’ differing visions of the international sphere and the U.S.’s proper place in that world.