Don’t look now, but foreign policy is back on this year’s election agenda.
While Election 2012 is still very much about the economy, foreign policy issues are increasingly making a comeback. And as the conversation focuses more on Iran, foreign policy is emerging not because of a lack of news about the economy, but rather because of the increasing connection between the two topics.
The tensions between the U.S. and Iran illustrate the linkage. In response to the European oil boycott, Iran recently announced that it was cutting off exports to Britain and France, which, in part, drove oil benchmarks to a nine-month high of nearly $123 a barrel. This, in turn, “could prove worrisome for U.S. drivers since many U.S. refineries use imported oil to produce gas”. Gas prices are already rising across the country – currently the national average is above $3.50 a gallon – and many worry that gas prices could rise beyond $4 a gallon by the summer. There are even concerns that gas could spike to $5 a gallon if tensions surge.