By Gregorio Bettiza and Emiliano Alessandri

As the US economy improves, Syria continues its descent into chaos and Iran carries on its enrichment program, foreign policy is acquiring a more prominent role in the 2012 presidential contest than initially expected. So far, the cornerstone of Republican attacks on Obama, however, is not the merits and demerits of his policies but the president’s alleged lack of confidence in American exceptionalism and hesitations about continued US leadership abroad. Mitt Romney insists that whereas the president is “apologizing to foreigners”, “accepting decline as destiny”, and “believing in a post-American world”, he will ensure that the 21st century will still be an American one. Obama has joined the debate. During his 2012 State of the Union address, the President argued: “anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about”…


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