12 September 2012
by Ýpek Yezdani
Washington has avoided intervening in Syria because it is “tired of war,” but this passive stance could change if Republican candidate Mitt Romney unseats President Barack Obama in November elections, a campaign adviser for the incumbent has said. “From the people I have spoken to, I know that Romney would be more inclined to take action in Syria if he is elected as president,” Sherman Eliot Katz told the Daily News on Sept. 10.
“Barack Obama would like to see other countries on board before taking any action,” said Katz, who is also a member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.
Katz made the comments on the sidelines of a conference on “U.S. trade policy after the coming presidential election” that was organized by the Economic Development Foundation (ÝKV) in Istanbul.
The adviser said Romney would look at international issues in a more unilateral way. “His approach would be more about only whether something is in the U.S.’ interest or not. However, Obama would adopt a more multilateral approach to international issues.”
Katz also said Turkey’s efforts to shelter Syrian refugees that had fled across the border were appreciated in the U.S. Congress and among U.S. politicians. In addition, he also said U.S. members of Congress were more interested in trading with Asia than with Europe.
“If the eurozone continues to struggle, then the likelihood in Washington is that the administration will look more and more to Asia rather than Europe to make trade deals,” he said.
Refugees past 250,000
Katz said that if Obama wins a second term in the White House, he would start to act more decisively on trade policy. “The Obama administration put it as a goal to double U.S. exports if he gets a second term as a president,” he said.
In Geneva, meanwhile, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said the number of refugees who have fled Syria for neighboring countries since the start of the conflict nearly 18 months ago had reached more than 250,000. “The latest figures show that more than a quarter of a million Syrian refugees (253,106 people) have now been registered in the surrounding region, or are awaiting registration,” Edwards said, according to Agence France-Presse.