U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has named Paul Ryan as his running mate in the November elections. Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Congressman, is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and is also on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
One of the largest concerns that has emerged regarding Mr. Ryan’s pick as vice president candidate is his lack of foreign policy experience. While Mr. Ryan has some experience in addressing foreign policy, his main focus had been on domestic issues. Reflecting this, one of the first things Mr. Ryan said after accepting the role of Mitt Romney’s running mate was that he “never really left” his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin even though he worked in Congress.
According to Tim Roemer, a former Congressman and former ambassador to India, “I think his (Ryan’s) experience as a vice presidential candidate is thin; or for a future president and commander-in-chief, it’s virtually absent”.
This view was echoed by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, one of the Senate’s leading voices on foreign policy while he was in office. According to Mr. Feingold, “The Romney-Ryan ticket is extremely weak when it comes to foreign policy…These guys do not have a serious view or background in what’s going on in the rest of the world”.
“This is not a team that is really ready to lead the country internationally”, Feingold added.
But Thomas Mann, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brooking Institution, has argued that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan’s lack of foreign policy experience will not be a significant issue during the November elections. This is because US voters are expected to focus largely on domestic concerns.
“Because of the extraordinary focus on domestic matters, and similarly the economic-related focus of most foreign policy concerns, I think the absence of traditional foreign policy experience is not particularly damaging this year”, said Mann.
Report: Republican Romney names Paul Ryan as running mate [BBC News, 11 August 2012]
Report: Does the Romney-Ryan lack of foreign policy experience matter? [CBS News, 14 August 2012]
Report: Ryan a foreign policy question in a campaign about economy [Reuters, 12 August 2012]
Report: Russ Feingold: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan ‘Don’t Seem To Care’ About Foreign Policy[Huffington Post, 14 August 2012]