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View from America: new elections, new directions?
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View from America: new elections, new directions?
Take one superpower, add a financial crisis in a globalised economy, sprinkle wars abroad and growing isolationist voices at home and finish off with a fine political balance in one of the democratic world's most intricate systems of governance. Welcome to the USA in 2010. The mid-term election results may have only muddied the picture. NATO Review looks at their potential impact at home and abroad.
What links the US mid-term election results and future US foreign policy? How did voters feel about foreign issues? NATO Review asks Washington experts and Main Street voters.
NATO Review attends a Tea Party to see why people are drawn to the movement and if their domestic opposition to Obama's Administration will affect their views on his foreign policies.
The Democrats losses at the mid-term losses were not just about jobs. They were also about America's place in global issues and how American values were supported, argues Professor Michael Cox
The mid-term election results are not all bad news for President Obama - but their impact on his foreign policy could be more difficult to predict.
Just how much power does the House of Representatives have in US foreign and defence policy, and how much could newly-elected Republicans change direction, if they wished to?

President Obama was elected in 2008 on a message of delivering hope and change. Two years later, change was delivered back to his door - change in the political landscape.

And now he has to hope for a less partisan atmosphere in Washington if he is to push through more of his agenda in the two years left before he is up for re-election.

But the situation is not as bleak as it may immediately appear.

Sitting Presidents are sitting targets during mid-term elections, particularly if the economy is tanking. It is unlikely any incumbent would have seen his party do well in the economic ruins of 2010.

And Republicans will now have to take joint responsibility for future actions, instead of obstructing and criticising past ones.

But it is the effect on foreign policy which remains unclear. Will Republicans start to pander to the more extreme wings of the Tea Party? If so, the effects could be major.

Take just one example. At this year's CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), a straw poll was held to see who attendees would like to see as the Republican nominee for President in 2012. The top three were Ron Paul (who won by a clear majority), Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. In other words, two of the top three most popular choices were libertarians or Tea Partiers.

Ron Paul has called for NATO to be disbanded. He has called for the US to pull out of the Alliance if it does continue. And has bemoaned what he claims is a US $1trillion annual spend on global operations, saying the money should be used for other purposes.

Now, it is unlikely that we will see President Ron Paul elected President in 2012 (he has even said he is not sure if he wants to run). But for those who think this may be a passing fad, consider this: Ron Paul's Tea Partier son, Rand Paul, has just been elected to the US Senate. This tide is yet to turn.

Paul King