Mr Romney has already called Russia, America’s “number one geopolitical foe”, and promised to designate China a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office – a move that could be a prelude to trade sanctions. In Israel, over the weekend, he came close to encouraging an attack on Iran.
Those who yearn for a US foreign policy based on a Bush-style “moral clarity” and the confrontation of autocracies might thrill to all this. The implications are alarming, however: war with Iran, trade war with China, confrontation with Russia.
Mr Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy, even if it is difficult, is preferable to a foreign policy based on biffing “bad guys”. Talking to the Russians and trying to avoid war with the Iranians does not mean that you lack a moral compass or are “weak”. It simply means that – even if you have no illusions about the regimes you are dealing with – you try to find ways of living with them, as long as they last."