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What happens if Mitt Romney wins the US Election?

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If the Republican candidate ousts Obama, his stance on foreign policy,women’s rights and gay marriage could rock the UK. US-based blogger Nicky Woolf, political writer Dan Hancox and Professor Burk explain why

1. Repeals on gay marriage

In response to a tide turning in favour of marriage equality for same-sex couples, Romney has sought to shore up his conservative base, warning against abandoning “3,000 years of history” of marriage being between one man and one woman. An unfortunate footnote for Romney is that as a Mormon polygamist, his great-greatgrandfather had 12 wives. One man and one woman, one man and 12 women – same thing.

What it means for the UK by Professor Kathleen Burk (UCL History Department):

“A return to the conservative values of George W Bush would undo four years of progress on marriage equality from the Obama administration, and make it easier for David Cameron to do the same if he decided to appease his backbenchers.”

2. A Threat of War

Israeli President Bibi Netanyahu’s sabre-rattling over Iran might start to mean a lot more if the White House becomes less interested in peace-keeping. Obama has been cool towards Israel and favours diplomatic solutions. Romney is more bullish and a victory might well be seen as the first step to war with Iran: he called for the President to show “the military option is real and credible.” He has stated he would arm rebel forces in Syria and his rushed response to the attacks on US embassies in September show he’s hot-headed.

What it means for the UK by Professor Burk:

“An inadvertent war with Iran, as the UK tends to support the USA on such things. Oil prices would also rocket.”

3. Inflamed anti - abortion debate

“Mitt Romney is pro-life,” Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s senior campaign adviser, told ABC recently, dismissing social issues, like contraception and abortion rights, as “shiny objects” to distract public attention from the economy. It’s no wonder his team want to focus on the economy: Romney’s position on women’s reproductive rights has changed so often that even his own supporters aren’t sure where he stands. As Massachusetts Governor he was pro-choice, a record which continues to alienate him from the Republican Party’s evangelical Christian right. Now he is billed as anti-abortion, in line with the official Republican stance, but has recently said he believes in exceptions for rape, incest, and where the life of the mother is in danger.

What it means for the UK by Professor Burk:

“Romney has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices to help overturn Roe vs Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling on reproductive rights. If he succeeds it would certainly give succour to pro-life movements here in the UK.”

4. Upsetting the Might of China

Romney is gunning hard for China, going after the votes of American workers worried about losing out on jobs. In speeches he has called China a “currency manipulator” and promises to crack down on the country’s flagrant patent violations if he’s elected. This is a bit dangerous, but Chinese flaunting of patent laws does cost the US economy a huge amount each year. Taking a hard line with them is popular at home, but will damage diplomatic relations with the UN Security Council. China is not above imposing tariffs on US imports, which will be bad for American workers.

What it means for the UK by Professor Burk:

“Romney’s threat to China could mean an influx of cheaper technology and luxury goods if China trades with the UK instead of the US. However, it could heighten the currency crisis and put the global markets in a permanent state of anxiety.”

5. Soaring mobile phone prices

Who’s America’s “greatest geopolitical foe?” It’s Russia, according to Mitt Romney – and Vladimir Putin is “a threat to stability and peace.” These comments have already threatened delicate negotiations for America to construct a missile defence system in Europe. “I’m grateful to [Mitt Romney]” Putin said on Russian state TV, “he has proven the correctness of our approach to missile defence problems.” Putin is not someone you would want to be your enemy, especially while you’re trying to negotiate for peace in Syria.

What it means for the UK by Professor Burk:

“Russia is rich in precious raw materials used in mobile phones. If America prompts Russia to start working against Europe, it could affect the price of technology goods.”

Picture credit: Rex Features

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