As the general elections draws closer and the debate about foreign policy continues, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday laid out plans he said will improve economic conditions in the Middle East while still benefiting America.
At the Clinton Global Initiative, or CGI, in New York, the Republican challenger said under his presidency there will be a “prosperity pact program” that will ultimately fuse aid with trade. In other words, he has proposed a market-based solution in foreign policy as well, just as he does for most domestic issues.
CGI, established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, is an annual gathering of global leaders looking to find solutions to the world's problems and improve the lives of millions in more than 180 countries.
Romney said he plans to work with the private sector to identify any barriers to entrepreneurship, trade and other deterrent to investments in developing nations, while giving assistance packages and focus on small- to medium-size businesses.
In exchange for these benefits, there must be a shift toward freedom, rule of law and property rights.
“The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise," Romney told the gathering. "Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy – free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation."
Romney added that temporary aid packages cannot sustain an economy for long.
"But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity," he said.
Romney hopes to accomplish this with the help of the private sector, which he said provides 82 percent of resources to developing nations.
“Aid that elevates people and bring about lasting change in a community [is what you will see in a Romney government],” the presidential hopeful said.
Romney’s talk came hours before that of U.S. President Barack Obama, who will stand before the CGI crowd at noon to lay out his plans to improve foreign relations.
Both Romney and Obama have been at odds about foreign policy following the death of four Americans in Libya and the violence that hit U.S. embassies in other parts of the world.
Romney has accused Obama of a weak reaction to the violence in the Arab nation and of breaking away from Israel by not scheduling a meeting with America’s ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while the U.N. General Assembly meets this week in New York.
Obama fired back on Romney’s criticism of his handling Netanyahu and on the issue of a possibly nuclear Iran by hitting Romney's muscular foreign policy proposals: If Romney wants to start another war, Obama said, then he should “just say so.”