Washington: Building a strong economy and defense budget will be the top priority for Mitt Romney as the US president, and foreign policy is likely to be pushed down to fourth or fifth spot in terms of priorities, a top aide of the White House hopeful has said.
"His foreign policy really comes down to four or five points," Romney's senior foreign policy advisor Mitchell B Ress told a group of foreign journalists during a conference call.
This is the first time that the Romney campaign allowed foreign journalists an insight into its foreign policy as it gave details of what the priorities of a possible Romney Administration would be.
"These are broad strokes but they are really indicative of what you would see from a Romney administration. First of all we don't have as much international influence and power we'd like unless we have a strong economy at home," said Reiss who has served in the previous Bush administration.
Romney, according to him, realises that foreign influence, foreign power, diplomatic influence, military power, organically grows out of a domestic economy that?s strong and growing.
"So I think the first job is really going to make sure that the economy gets righted. Second is a commitment of at least four percent to the defense budget," he said.
"There is supporting our friends and allies much more strongly than the way they have been treated under the Obama administration. If you recall; the President (Obama) came into office wanting to reach out to our adversaries. Not trying to restore or improve relations with our allies. And I think the Romney administration would change that," Reiss said, adding fourth is a commitment to a free trade agenda, that really has not been present for almost all of the Obama administration.
"Fifth is sort of a philosophy. It's a belief that America is really an exceptional country that the world is better off if the United States is the leader.
Better off than if China or Russia or some other country really provided the public goods or freedom of navigation for free trade, or was able to support international institutions to benefit everybody," he noted.
"American exceptionalism is something I know he believes in, he's talked about quite a lot. And decline, on the other hand, is something up to us, it's a choice. It's not necessarily our destiny. It gets back to making the tough decisions on the economic policy, with entitlements, the budget etc.
But he believes there is no reason why the United States can't be the leader of the free world in the 21st century like we were for the last half of the 20th century," Reiss said.
First Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012, 21:33