In an effort to highlight his foreign policy plans if elected president, Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney is taking off on a six day international tour this week. His planned stops are England, Israel and Poland for very different political reasons. Game plans for the presidential nominee include meetings with ambassadors and political leaders, holding speeches and public events, and visiting historical monuments.
"This trip is an opportunity for the governor to listen and learn, to visit countries that share common values, common interests, and I should say in many cases shared heritage with people here in the United States," said Lanhee Chen, Gov. Romney's policy director.
The first stop on the international trip actually begins tomorrow in Reno, Nevada where Romney will be testing some of his foreign policy ideas in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference. Key points in his speech will be highlighting the differences in his approach to foreign relations compared to those of President Obama.
The former governor of Massachusetts will then be in London, England. In London, Romney will be catching the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, an important event to the Governor after his heralded success taking over a bankrupt 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, Romney will be meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne, foreign secretary William Hague, Labor Leader Ed Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He is expected to meet with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and any other world leaders in town for the Olympics.
Two expat fundraisers are also on Romney’s agenda, which, according to The Washington Post, will be held by lobbyists and executives from financial institutions, some of which are tied to the Libor rate-fixing scandal. CBS News reports, “11 members of Parliament, upset that some Barclay's bank executives were fundraising for Romney amid the scandal that has rocked their bank, signed a resolution calling on Barclay's executives to stop political fundraising and "concentrate entirely on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead."”
The second destination for the jet-setting former governor is Israel. This will be Romney’s fourth visit to Israel, the first being a family trip, and the other two being security and economic fact-focused trips. Israel’s inclusion of the trip is to show the American populous that US-Israeli relations will be very important to a Romney administration, something he criticizes current President Obama for not taking seriously enough. Romney will be given his briefing by US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, and will then be meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
The final stop for his international tour will be Poland, where Romney will be meeting President Bronislaw Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Romney will also be meeting with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president who extended the formal invitation to visit Poland to Romney.
Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 after overseeing the transition of Poland from communism to democracy. The trip is also important for future development of Poland, whose economy has strengthened recently despite the European Union decline. Romney hopes to strengthen the relationship with Poland who has supported the US in the past, even throughout wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by sending troops to assist the war efforts.
Afghanistan and Iraq will not be stops on the candidate's international relations tour, claiming time constraints. The Governor has been to Afghanistan in the past, in 2011, when he met President Hamid Karzai and others including General David Petraeus, former Commander of the International Security Assistance Force.