American diplomat says Obama or Romney win will not affect US-JA relations
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
A high-level diplomat at the United States (US) Embassy in Kingston says he does not envisage any major changes to that country's foreign policy in the aftermath of the November presidential election, regardless of the outcome.
"While there is a great deal of debate between the parties about foreign policy, there is a great deal of continuity when the policy is closely examined," Dr Raymond Brown, the new deputy chief of mission (DCM) at the US Embassy in Kingston, told The Sunday Gleaner during an interview last week.
"You will see that there is a debate where all ideas contend, but when you want to see what the policy is, look at practice, not debate," Brown stressed.
"We have seen significant consensus by both parties on issues of foreign policy and national security."
According to Brown, in all of the issues being debated by the two major parties - Republican and Democratic - there has not been a great deal of focus on foreign affairs, and that's because it is a constituency-driven system.
"Local policy issues drive the interest of our politicians ... . The reality is that there has not been a great deal of focus on this issue of foreign policy."
The DCM, who has been in the island over the past six weeks, stressed that it is local interest that drives the focus of US politicians.
consistent foreign policy
He argued that, historically, there has been consensus on US foreign policy led by the State Department.
"As a result, you have seen in the relatively modern period since World War Two (there has been) a significant consensus by both parties on matters of national security and foreign policy," Brown said.
He said while there may be "jiggles" along the edges of the parties' positions, the core foreign policy of the United States has maintained continuity for several decades.
"That (was) particularly true in the cold war (era), but it is also true in the post-cold war period," Brown asserted.
He said the same basic understanding obtains in relation to the US immigration policy.
"Both parties agree that it is important to protect their borders, and both parties agree that there has to be a rule-based system for the movement of persons ... . There are some differences in degrees but there is a fundamental agreement on that."
Brown said in terms of major national security issues, there is not a great deal of disagreement. "In some cases you have aspects of foreign policy that some would say pander to local constituency interests."
US President Barack Obama and the Republican challenger Mitt Romney are to face off in three debates starting on October 3.
The third debate on October 22 will focus on foreign policy.
See full US election watch coverage on page D10.