Jon Swaine, Telegraph (London), July 24, 2012
Mitt Romney would restore “Anglo-Saxon” understanding to the special relationship between the US and Britain, and return Sir Winston Churchill’s bust to the White House, according to advisers.
As the Republican presidential challenger accused Barack Obama of appeasing America’s enemies in his first foreign policy speech of the US general election campaign, advisers told The Daily Telegraph that he would abandon Mr Obama’s “Left-wing” coolness towards London.
In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.
Mr Romney on Wednesday embarks on an overseas tour of Britain, Israel and Poland designed to quash claims by Mr Obama’s team that he is a “novice” in foreign affairs. It comes four years after Mr Obama’s own landmark foreign tour, which attracted thousands of supporters.
He lands in London early on Wednesday morning, in advance of meetings with David Cameron and other senior ministers on Thursday. He will also meet Ed Miliband and Tony Blair before attending two lucrative fundraisers and the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
He used a speech in Nevada on Tuesday to accuse the President of drastically weakening America’s stance towards rivals such as Russia, China and Iran while imposing “devastating” spending cuts on the US military.
“If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President,” he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “You have that President today”. Promising another “American century” in which the US acts as the global night watchman and does not hesitate to “wield our strength” when needed, he said: “I will not surrender America’s leadership in the world”.
Members of the former Massachusetts governor’s foreign policy advisory team claimed that as president, he would reverse Mr Obama’s priority of repairing strained overseas relationships while not spending so much time maintaining traditional alliances such as Britain and Israel.
“In contrast to President Obama, whose first instinct is to reach out to America’s adversaries, the Governor’s first impulse is to consult and co-ordinate and to move closer to our friends and allies overseas so they can rely on American constancy and strength,” one told the Telegraph.
“Obama is a Left-winger,” said another. “He doesn’t value the Nato alliance as much, he’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him. He wouldn’t like singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.”
The two advisers said Mr Romney would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr Obama when he took office in 2009. One said Mr Romney viewed the move as “symbolically important” while the other said it was “just for starters”, adding: “He is naturally more Atlanticist”.
Mr Obama has appeared less interested in relations with London than Mr Bush. He repeatedly rebuffed Gordon Brown when the then-prime minister sought a meeting at the UN in 2009 and was criticised for responding to an elaborate gift with a set of DVDs that did not work in Britain.
A change in tone was reflected by the enthusiastic welcome extended to Mr Cameron during an official visit and dinner in March. However, British diplomats remain frustrated by their “transactional” relationship with the Obama White House and lack of support on issues such as the Falkland Islands.
Mr Romney has not made any commitments on the Falklands, but several in his foreign policy team favour backing Britain and publicly rejecting claims of sovereignty by Christina Kirchner, the Argentine president. Under Mr Obama the US remains neutral.
The advisers could not give detailed examples of how policy towards Britain would differ under Mr Romney. One conceded that on the European crisis: “I’m not sure what our policy response is.”