31/07/2012 Newsnight


Can an Olympian be genetically modified? Is anorexia genetic, and so what if it is? Plus, does Mitt Romney have a coherent foreign policy? With Kirsty Wark.

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Tonight, will Olympic athletes soon have genetic engineering at their


fingertips. This unexpected gold medal has won top one top swimming


coach suggesting one -- this might be already a possibility. Can such


engineering even been done. Better, stronger, faster, it is possible if


you are a mouse, but humans? If we know what the key genes are, and


many people in sports genetics believe they have a list of around


100 genes they think are very important, theoretically, they


could all be manipulated. scientist, an athlete, and bioet


cyst, discuss what kind of modification is happening and


whether we can test for it. Also tonight, we have been given


new figures of the scale and causes of anorexia, does that change the


way we see its victims. I would make myself run in the snow when I


have chill blains, and I wouldn't touch food in case it went through


my skin. A writer recovering joins the chair of the health Select


Committee. Was there it all a Romney shambles, as his foreign


tour jets home from Poland, what has it told us of the foreign


policy of the man who could be US President in a few weeks time. Ye


Shiwen has done it again, tonight she won gold in the 200ms medley,


with the shockwaves still rerating from her gold in the 400 individual


medley. In that race she took five seconds off her previous best time.


Resulting in one of the US senior coaches labelling her performance


immediately after heroin as "disturbing", there was no evidence


of doping, and according to the chair of the Olympic Association in


Britain, the swimmer deserves recognition for her talent. She


also has particularly large hands and feet, which is not a crime.


Imagine in the future if athletes could be genetically modified. We


have news into research into this field? In the midst of this row,


the idea of genetic manipulation, or gene doping in sport has sur


Fayeed. We looked at this last -- if you are faced, we looked at this


last week, some of the enhancing coming along in the future, the


idea of epigenetics, a road athlete turning up or down useful genes. It


turns out this very idea of how our genes and our environment interact


will be the legacy of the Olympic testing lab. The Olympic testing


lab, where they look at all the samples of athletes, we should hear


from the Government tomorrow, will become a multimillion pound medical


research centre, where we will look at the interaction between our


genes and environment, to try to find new treatments. The way that


our genes and environment interact determines how well we respond to


certain treatments. So, for the time being, this lab is going to be


focusing on keeping these Olympic It looks like it will be Ye Shiwen.


Tonight Ye Shiwen was in the pool again, winning her second golgd in


the final of the women's -- gold, in the final of the women's 200ms


individual medly setting an Olympic record not a world record. The row


was fuelled by outspoken reaction to that performance, byed leading


American swimming coach, who described it as "unbelievable",


today there has been huge support for the young young swimmer, by


officials and athlete. These are athletes competing at the highest


level, we have seen records broken all over the place. In terms of


athletes themselves, as you know, in the final, the first five


athletes are tested, compulsory, and two others. It is really well,


we have a very, very strong drug testing programme, we are very


confident if there are cheat we will catch them. As we already have


done. This morning, the head of spwrin's Olympic Association backed


up that position. -- Britain's Olympic Association backed up that


position, saying Ye Shiwen had passed WADA tests. She has insisted


there is no problem with her performance, because the Chinese


sticks to the strict antdy doping policies. But there is another


possibility, the idea that such outstanding performances might be


the product of some form of genetic His is a lone voice, and US


officials have today distances themselves from his views. But is


genetic manipulation in sport possible, can we test for it? And


is it happening. When people talk about gene doping in sport, they


are not talking about designer babies, with genes hand-picked to


create the superathlete of the future. What people mean by gene


doping at the moment, is either adding genes to particular cells or


organs of an athlete's body, say to increase oxygen uptake in their


lungs, or the new science of epigenetics, turning up the power


of any useful genes an athlete happens to have been born with.


Tweaking genes can work in animals, Tweaking genes can work in animals,


the mouse at the front has been manipulated from birth to carry


extra genes to make it run faster, but also to want to run faster too.


It might work in mice, but how might human athletes improve their


performance by tweaking their genes. The two areas, strength and


endurance. The strength we have genes like insulin growth factor 1,


shown in animals, able to increase strength and power of animals


models. That is a possibility. The second is the gene you get more of


when you go to altitude, we have seen individuals who have mutant


genes in that area, they have also enhanced performance in humans,


that also would be a possibility. Tim Speckor carries out unique


studies on twins, he's looking at how the outside world can help our


how the outside world can help our genes being expressed in our body.


We know what the key genes are, and sports people believe they have a


list of 100 genes they think is important. Theoretically they could


all be manipulated and tuned up or down, using these epigenetic


methods. He thinks rogue athletes might one day be able to turn these


up or down by taking a pill. Scientists at the Olympic testing


lab say they have made it harder to cheat, and authorities have banned


genetic manipulation. Whether it is being done I think is unlikely. I


would show the evidence occurring from gene therapy, where we have


tried for over 20 years to make it work and cure diseases like cystic


fibrosis, and it is very hard. In practice we know how to do it,


actually making it work is very hard.


In the end, as other swimmers have said today, it is perfectly


possible for a young swimmer to suddenly shine in this way.


I'm joined now by Ruta Meilutyte, a bio ethicist in Scotland, and one


of the first to write about gene doping.


And a Professor of human geneology. And from Stratford, by the former


world champion swimmer Karen Pickering, who has competed at four


consecutive Olympic Games. First of all, that tremendous performance


from Ye Shiwen, as we have said, she has been absolutely cleared. Is


it inevitable that there will be talk of manipulation, when there


has been such a stunning victory, taking five seconds off her record


on Saturday. It is a bit of a shame, actually. I watched that


performance, my first thought was what an incredible swim it was by a


young girl that we have watched swim for a couple of years now, we


have been waiting for her to do something quite impressive. It is a


shame, and slightly cynical of some people, that they will look at that


performance and think that it's not quite legitimate. That wasn't my


first thought. We have seen a lot of amazing performances in the pool.


Some much more spectacular than her's was. But I think part of the


problem is that it was a little bit of sterotyping and a little bit to


do with China's history of doping, the reason why she is being singled


out. Do athletes expect it? We just heard in the film there, athletes


are being tested all the time, so the whole atmosphere round


enhancement is very live? I think that we know, unfortunately, there


are always going to be some athletes who want to get an unfair


advantage, whether that is through doping or through this new idea of


gene doping, you know, there is always going to be some people who


will try. You have been in the fifth Olympics,


seventh, you are watching it very closely this idea that the very


thing Karen said, there will always be athlete who is want to get ahead,


for all sorts of reasons. That desire to get ahead is legitimate,


can it be legitimately met through genetic engineering, or is it


always something that will be banned? The challenge for athletes


is we put them in a position where they are expected to go faster,


higher and stronger, yet restrict the means by which they can do this.


I think it is revealing that in 2006 the British Government


launched an inquiry into human enhance. Technologies into sport,


not anti-doping. It speaks to this broader culture of human


enhancement that surrounds the world of sports. The give us an


idea of something that would enhance an athlete's performance if


it was genetic engineering? Not so much genetic engineering, but the


kinds of enhancements are similar. Endurance and power are the two


main things. Laser eye surgery is an example, it is one of those


modifications that the world of sport can't really ban, but you and


I can use them and athletes can use them, it could enhance its


performance. That is the bigger challenge sport face, there will be


an explosion of enhancements athletes can use. Test or not test,


ban or not ban? Medically supervised enhancements is the way


to go. I disagree with that, it is fundamentally against the nature of


sport. That is why we have the Olympic here in London to sell rate


that. The world anti-dope -- celebrate that, the World Anti-


Doping Agency is clear about it, it has added gene doping to its list


of banned substances for a good reason. Can you test for gene


doping, there are 100 different genes said to possibly enhance or


improve an athlete's performance, how do you test? The first question


is, is anybody doing it, do we have any evidence that anybody is


actually using, what effectively is, gene therapy techniques. Do you


have the tests to know? The tests are being developed. There are


developments in analytical chemistry, sell later and molecular


biology, developing all the time. In eight years time, with a blood


sample, there are likely to be genetic fragments, traces of the


investigateors used to get genes into sis -- vectors that are used


to get genes into systems. It might be possible. I look forward to the


future in seven years when all the medals will be distributeded to the


true winners. It seems to me that is the scenario athletes could face.


Tell me, if there was something like the laser eye surgery, which


actually makes an Archer see better, and it is open to everybody else on


the planet. Do you mean to say athletes can't take it because it


will give them an unfair advantage? There is a clear distinction


between medal exemption for different conditions. What about


actively trying to make your performance better? It is a grey


area. We could have the same debate about someone, for example, who has


a mutation in their mystaten gene, for example, which we know,


enhances muscle mass. Do you ban these individuals, who, through no


fault of their own, have a genetic mutation. I think you don't. I


think actually the future of sport will wrestle with this problem, and


find it very difficult to restrict people from participating. On that


point, you were saying that there will always be some athletes who


want to get ahead. What if the advances in genetic engineering are


such that athletes can get a -- ahead in a legitimate way. Using it


to repair muscles and make them stronger. Do you think that should


be outlawed? I think it is up to WADA, the IOC, for governing bodies


to look at what those roles r it is our duty as athletes to abide by


those rules. We have to hope and know that our governing bodies will


do what is ried right, will make the right decisions and -- right,


will make the right decisions and clear up that grey area and we


stick to the rules. It is unfair to athletes if there is a grey area.


If things are changing all the time. Athletes, through no fault of their


own, could fall foul of the rules there must be a fear about that?


Absolutely. But never going to be black and white. There will always


be situations. You have had now in terms of medications as well. If


you just have to take, for instance, athletes who are asmathic, and


legitimately need some medication, that may be banned in being taken


in other ways. I think that there iss always going to be areas that


need to be looked at, and unfortunately it is never going to


be black and white. But we just have to hope that, with the


advancements in technology, and the science behind, and as well, using


intelligence testing, as much as possible, to understand what is


going on out there, because athletes do hear about things,


people do talk, and the knowledge is spread, we just have to hope


that using all those techniques we can catch those people and stop


them. You are talking about the knowledge being spread, one of the


many legacies of the Olympics, is this testing lab for dopg, and


presumably for gene testing, is going to be something that will be


used, not only for athletes, but for the general population. The


point is, science is moving so fast and coaches know, athletes are


always on the look out for these things, is it policable? The bigger


challenge is five years from now it could cost less than �1,000 to map


a genome. There will be such a strong public argument by then from


everybody, to have their genome map, that conceivably we will all have a


24-hour look at it. And presumably for parents if your kids are going


to be good at eightly thes. If there is genome therapy, you can't


ban that? Athletic performances are such a beautifully integrated


performance, so many factors are involved, it will be incredibly


complex to tease out the genetic factors, we don't have gene that is


can accurately predict performance, they are only loosely associated


with performance. A long way to go. We will see what happens over the


next seven years and look at those testings.


Anorexia is a killer and dreadful death. It is not too harsh to say


it has been dismissed in the past that it is a disease that affects


self-obsessed teenage girls. We have news that eating discords are


costing billions. And anorexia sufferers are presenting younger,


even below ten. And brain scans intricates a strong predisposition


to the disease. Doctors are warning that budget constraints are


preventing people being referred early enough to get to the root of


the problem. This report contains some explicit images.


One of the saddest things that my brother, who is 16 now, doesn't


remember me without this illness. I feel I have lost my innocence, it


has taken everything. Ffion Jones last had a birthday cake when she


was 11, that is when she developed anorexia. Now 22, it stole her


childhood. At first I felt like I was in control, I felt like it was


something that I could have as my own. That I was good at, because


nobody else could not eat. I felt quite invincible and powerful at


that point. That changed really quickly. I just felt like


completely consumed, I got taken over. Not only did she stop eating,


to the alarm of her family, she refused to drink. I developed all


these obsessive tendencies, I was a compulsive exerciser, I would make


myself run in the snow when I had chillblanes, I wouldn't eat or


drink, I became phobic of food, I wouldn't touch food in case it got


be a surbed through my skin. She is being treated at one of the


specialist centres at Cotswold House, intensive support is helping


her eat regularly. The latest research suggests a strong genetic


predisposition of anorexia, she will always have to live with its


consequences. I have a lot of long- term implications which I was quite


ignorant of and didn't want to acknowledge as part of the illness.


They are a lot of serious side- effects, it is not a case I will


not eat for a while and put on weight. I got diagnosed with


osteoporosis at 18. I went for an X-ray on my spine, my back is


crumbling because of calcium depletion, and my spine is


crumbling. I'm not sure if I can have children or note. By the time


people are diagnosed with anorexia, their weight is so low, their


general health is severely compromised. They are at risk of


organ and heart failure. This is especially true in younger patients.


Newsnight has seen new figures from the charity, Beat, which reveal the


true costs. In the UK more than 1.5 million people suffer an eating


disorder. Most cases start in adolescence, affecting seven out of


1,000 girls, and one in a thousand boys. In England their ill-health


costs �1.26 billion, a figure expected to double over the next 20


years. Of all the psychiatric illnesses, anorexia is the most


deadly. It kills more people than depression, and alcohol and drug


addiction. Half the people who get it doesn't recover, while a fifth


will die from it. This is a few years later.


This is rosary Marston, during her 30 -- Rosemary Marston, during her


30-year struggle with the illness. I thought I was living a lifestyle


that suited me. Today she says she's finally recovered. In one


crisis, when her funding support specialist treatment was withdrawn,


she expected to die. I saw my reflection in the mirror, and took


photographs of my reflection in the mirror. I thought this is what I


want to leave behind, that people know that this illness isn't just


about vanity, it is not about looking good on the beach. This is


serious. I then went into a coma. I was taken into hospital that day.


Stopping the symptoms themselves, damaging the brain more, is very


important.... Her consultant, a world renowned


expert in eating disorders, explains why people with anorexia


are simply unable to think straight. The symptoms themselves, because


they interfere with nutrition, that means the body and brain are


damaged, because the brain is one of the hungryist organs in the body.


It uses more calories per gram than muscles even. If you are depriving


the brain of calories, it doesn't function as well. The brain is the


focus of ground-breaking research into possible genetic causes for


the illness. Professor Bryan Lask says photo imaging technology, has


allowed his team to study part of the brain, the insula, which in


anorexic patients is not working properly, changing our


understanding of the disease. so long people thought this was


just people choosing to go on a diet and rather manipulating people


around them, by saying they are footoo fat. It was seen as this --


they are too fat. It was seen as spoilt middle-class girls getting


it. It is not like that at all. It is not a choice. You inherit a


particular profile of genes, not one gene, there isn't an anorexic


gene, but a combination of genes, that render you vulnerable to the


development of anorexia, when exposed to other factors.


Figures for those with anorexia are stable, but clinicians report they


are seeing younger patients, some below the age of ten, making


earlier intervention and treatment vital. It is definitely not taken


seriously enough. You could talk to any number of parents who have a


daughter with anorexia, and they will tell you about the struggle


they have, not only with trying to help their daughter themselves,


which is another story, it is so difficult for parents, but getting


informed help. They so often get palmed off with it is just a phase,


or they will send her to a dietician, they are wonderful if


you need one, but this isn't about what you eat, it is about what you


can't eat. We are really depriving our children of an essential


treatment. This specialist centre is run by


the private sector for younger patients. Traditional treatment of


anorexia involves restoring a sufferer's weight. But it is


recognised it takes far more to restore a healthy attitude to


eating. To avoid the disruption anorexia brings to a young person's


life. Eating will have left them with a lot of high emotions, high


levels of anxiety, feeling very angry, post-meal support is about


sitting with a young person after a meal, for a period of time, so they


can go past the most dangerous part of that anxiety. But the most


complex cases require long-term treatment. This centre include an


Ofsted-approved school toe try to replace the education that is -- to


try to replace the education that is sometimes otherwise lost. The


average stay at this home is about 20 months. Such specialist centres


are, of course, expensive, it is worth it, say staff, if repeated


hospital admissions can be avoided. But the pressures on health budgets


means people are much more ill, their weight much less, before they


can be referred to places like this. Clinicians warn of a revolving door,


where patients are pushed into and out of treatment, to save money.


will see more revolving door cases because we're not getting to the


root of the problem, we are addressing the symptoms quite


effectively, but we're doing so over and over again. In turn, as I


said, that will mean that a certain percentage of those cases will keep


coming back, and I think that actually a well intended strategy


to keep people out of hospital, will actually lead to more chronic


and severe and enduring cases. People say you are not thin enough


to need specialist services, and that's awful, that, you know,


people have to get more ill before they warrant specialised services.


So I think that needs to be changed, the fact that early signs and


intervening before people need intensive care, such as in-patient


care, is very important. Last year, Bryan Lask noted a


dramatic fall in referrals for in- patient treatment, caused by cuts


in spending. He was alarmed by the effect on patients. So the cutbacks


are leading to really deteriorating patients? Absolutely. The cutbacks


have not only deprived the children of treatment, but they have


actually made them worse. As a young woman, Rosemary Marston


didn't recognise she had an illness. This is her at 37. By then,


anorexia had her in its grip. would go into hospital, my weight


would be restored, but I left not feeling too much better about


myself or my prospect. And so, it was only a matter of time before I


would be back in hospital again. As I got older, the periods of time


between admissions were shorter and shorter. I think I worked out that


in the last 20 years of the illness, I spent 18 years as an in-patient.


Tests like this one, used by Bryan Lask's team, are used to identify


some of the characteristics associated with anorexia, like a


tendency to obsessiveness, and attention to tail. They hope it


will lead to new treatment -- detail. They hope it will lead to


new treatment, and prevent the illness becoming chronic,


interrupting people's lives. Even now, those of us who work in the


area of eating disorder, with this younger population, we are


struggling with the idea that once their weight is restored they are


cured, it is nonsense, they are not at all. I realised how rich an


illness it had been. Rosemary describes the process of recovery


as being harder than the illness, she works as a mentor with others


with eating disorders. I know there are God knows how many other people


out there going through exactly the same thing that I did. I'm no


different to them. If all I can do is offer them the hope that


whatever they see in me, as being recovered, and something that they


would like, then it is doable. It is possible.


Ffion is planning to go to university next year, to train as a


psychiatric nurse. I want to be able to order a take-away, or have


a meal, without a panic attack in the toilet. I want to be able to


eat a box of popcorn without having to count out how many of them are


in my hand. I don't want to be a rocket scientist, or rich, I just


want to be "normal", I suppose really, if there is such a thing.


Joining me now are Stephen dor reel, the chairman of the Select


Committee, and the Times columnist who suffered from anorexia, author


of An Apple A Day. First of all, recovering from


anorexia, do you recognise that you genetically had a predisposition?


didn't develop anorexia until I was about 19. I certainly wasn't born


with it. But I think that the genetic predisposition must come


into it, having seen obviously the research from Professor Lask. It is


absolutely fascinating for someone like me. I think that there is a


variety of things that come together, the stresses and the live


expeerences and then going on a diet, and starting to lose weight,


and then I think the genetic thing is part of that. I don't think it


is you are born with anorexia, but when we see the brain imaging,


there are cognative differences in people's brains with anorexia. That


does not change after you have restored your healthy weight. That


insula, there is still abnormal blood flow to the insula after the


weight has been restored. It proves it is not a lifestyle choice.


fundamental difference with this research is it shows, often


anorexia has been dismissed as a teenage girls obsessed with their


looks, narcissism and so forth. This shows it is a mental disorder?


Yes, and indeed to a degree, a physical disorder, an identifiable


one, according to Professor Lask's research. This is relatively new


research, we have to work through the implications from a policy


perspective. The thing that strikes me about this from a health policy


point of view, is how similar it is to other conditions, where the


opportunity is there to identify a condition early, to intervene early,


and to deliver care that is not only better from the point of view


of the patient, because it avoids the acute incidence of the


condition, but it is better value for the taxpayer, because it


doesn't cost as much in pounds. It is a win-win. Actually, the policy


is wrong at the moment, because Bryan Lask is saying the cutbacks


are not only depriving children of treatment, they are making them


much worse, and that Professor Janet Treasure, saying people are


not referred to specialists because of the cuts because they are not


thin enough. You are stoking up far more problems financially, because


you haven't the right policy to intervene early, and have, as it


were, a holistic approach, to dealing with anorexia. It is a


familiar problem in the health service, that you put it off.


just to press you on this, as a result of this fairly new research,


very new research, you do think there should be a change in policy


towards anorexia? I absolutely think that in anorexia and other


conditions as well, there ought to be ach greater emphasis on


identifying the tell tale signs that show where a condition is


going to rise, interintervening early, that is where you deliver


better care and better value care. Later you deliver savings later,


but tell me about the importance of early intervention? I always say to


people, you know if you have a problem. And deal with it as soon


as you can, because if you wait ten, fifteen years down the line, it


becomes part of you. It becomes part of your identity. Did you, you


were quite, in a sense you were quite old at 19, did you know, were


you able to go for help quite early, I imagine if you are 10, 11, 12 it


is a really difficult thing for parents? That is the problem with


early intervention. Teenage girls go on diet, young girls


increasingly are worried about their weight. The majority of them


won't develop anorexia. The 10% or less than that will develop


anorexia. There is a problem with early intervention. You need people


trained to know the real signs. didn't know, I didn't really talk


about it at all until I was, I started writing my column in my


early 30s, for the Times. That was coming out about it. I didn't get


help for the first couple of years. It is a terribly shameful illness,


there is something terribly hidden about it. Is there a way that


actually, you know, that anorexia, we know from the statistics, that


1.5 million, are suffering from it just now. Many more. It is


essentially hidden, and really not fully diagnosed. That actually


because it is such a dreadful thing, by and large that it hits younger


people, it should be a priority for this Government? I think it should


be a priority for any Government, and for the people who decide the


priorities within health expenditure, which is the


Government at a global level, but it is actually decisions taken at


the local level. The provision of service. The other key thing here,


is public health information. So that families and individuals can


identify with it. The revolving door is costing more. Can I tell


but the waiting lists, the waiting lists to get cognitive behaval


therapy for anorexia is absolutely horrendous. I have gone out of the


health service. The waiting lists would be different in different


parts of the country? I stopped having psychotherapy four years ago,


and started begin two years ago, I was able to get on a trial, and my


waiting list was only six months. It can be much longer than that,


six months to a year for people who are seriously ill. I agree with


that. The point is that if you wait and delay the intervention, it is


back to the resolving door. -- the revolving door is bad and expensive


care, it is unaffordably bad. You are on recess, but you will go


straight back to the health select in the new research? It is


something that will come up with the health Select Committee, it


doesn't meet when parliament is in recess. If you want details of


organisations which offer advice and support on eating disorders, go


He could be the leader of the free world in matter of weeks. But after


a mini-three-country tour, gaffes and all, are we getting a flavour


of what Mitt Romney's foreign policy will look like. He upset


Palestinians by comparing their weak economic performances to that


of their Israeli hopes. On a visit to London he warned our Olympic


Games running the risk of becoming a flop. Beyond the insults, what of


his grand vision, and how might he contain countries like Iran.


The Republican challenger has been racking up air miles, with a


foreign tour intended to bolster his credentials as a statesman. His


first stop was Britain, where a remark about preparations for the


Olympics was deemed insulting by his critics. It is hard to know


just how well it will turn out, there are a few things that were


disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not


having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and


customs officials, that obviously is not something which is


encouraging. But that was a relatively minor


faux pas, the striking thing about the Romney campaign, is it's focus


on the US economy, and other domestic issues, has so far


prevented the world from getting much of an idea about how far a


Romney foreign policy might differ from President Obama's. Mitt Romney,


until last week, had had only delivered one foreign policy speech


of the campaign, that was nine months ago. He doesn't have a


senior staffer whose portfolio is solely foreign policy. He had had a


foreign policy spokesman who lasted just two week, this is not a


priority for Romney. It conveys a lack of seriousness, both on his


part, but also in tune with his party, when it comes to America and


the re- of the world. That, is quite a substantive difference with


Barack Obama. It was on the way to his second


stop, Israel, that things started hotting up. On board the flight,


Romney's spokesman told reporters that they would back an Israeli


strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Once there, he


delighted the Israeli right with a pledge to relocate the US embassy


to Jerusalem. I think it is long been the policy of our country to


ultimately have the embassy in the nation's capital, Jerusalem. The


decision to actually make the move is one, if I were President I would


want it take. Perhaps the most revealing statement on his trip was


the candidate's observation that the disparities in wealth between


Israelis and Palestinians could be One American politician said a


gaffe is when the politician tells a truth, a gaffe is when a


politician reveals what he really thinks. I think there was something


revealing in that remark of Mitt Romney, it did suggest a kind of


colonialist mentality that some how seemed to think that the oriental


people, Palestinians, were some how culturally inferior, to the


Israelis, who are more western and more like the Americans.


headlines from the Palestinian comment followed the candidate to


Poland. REPORTER: Governor Romney do you have a statement for the


Palestinians. The press vented their annoyance at


getting so little access to him. And quickly put down by Romney's


staff. This is a holy site for the Polish people, show some respect.


That was unfortunate, and has left even those on the right questioning


the achievements of Mr Romney's trip.


In terms of sending out very clear messages about what kind of foreign


policy president he would be, strong support of Israel, very


concerned about the Iranian issue, strong supporter of their allies in


Eastern Europe, strengthening that relationship. Strong believer in


the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States.


In terms it of the public relations and the press managment, it has


been utter and complete amateur hour. There are aspects of the


President's foreign policy over Russia and Iran, that provide


plenty of ammunition to the Conservative who say the incumbent


has made America look weak. But President Obama's stepping back


from foreign entanglements is part of a response to the American


crisis. It will be hard for a Republican challenger to campaign


on a world's policeman ticket, or concede the country can no longer


afford to do that. Mitt Romney has flown home to concentrate on


economic issues. But looking presidential requires a confident


grasp of world affairs too. If the Romney campaign doesn't raise its


game, it will simply give the President a key advantage.


Joining me now from Washington are my guests.


Good evening to both of you. What can we tell from the countries that


Mitt Romney chose to visit? I think when he planned the trip he chose a


deliberate theme. Going to one of our most important allies in Europe,


to the UK, go -- going to one of our most important allise in the


Middle East, and the focus of attention -- allies in the Middle


East, and the focus of attention for Iran, Israel, and Eastern


Europe allies, Poland. Is is it the danger that the gaffes overshadows


any coherent foreign policy direction? Absolutely. They


certainly do not help this trip, that was very finely crafted to be


a possibility and opportunity for Mitt Romney to show off his foreign


policy experience, and for him to appear presidential. He had plenty


of successes on the trips, he had great meetings and great photo


opportunities, he specially at the western wall in Jerusalem. But on


the way home here we are talking about some of the missteps over the


past few days, and the way he snubbed the Palestinian and some


British people. Tell me, do you think there has been something


emerging of the man that Mitt Romney might be in the White House.


Barack Obama was all about diplomacy, is Mitt Romney more


directional, there is more clarity in what he's saying in the


direction he will take America? has said there is. We don't know a


lot about Mitt Romney on the front of foreign policy. We know what he


has said and what he would do, which is calling out China on


currency manipulation, he has talked about bombing Iran, or


stopping that country from acquiring a nuclear weapon. He has


talked about Russia and it being our top geopolitical foe. He has


talked about all these issues and dealing with them within the first


days of office. We don't know exact low what he would do. What would he


do? We very well know at that America cannot be the world's


policeman, he has been slamming Barack Obama for not doing enough


about Iran, but, for example, if he's in the White House, and there


is still an issue in Syria, what exactly would a Mitt Romney foreign


policy in Syria look like, do you think? First of all, let me go back


to the question you just asked Dan. We are talking about this because


you, at the BBC, are asking another reporter for another news magazine,


Newsweek, what you think about the supposed gaffes that Mitt Romney


made on this trip. I think the media of not brilliantly managed on


this trip, but the notion that the American people are quite as


interested and obsessed on this as you are is simply ridiculous.


Unfortunately for me, and you know foreign policy is my business,


foreign policy doesn't enter into the top ten issues for the American


people in this election. The notion that this is some how doing to be a


dispositive question for him, as the American people look at him and


see how he questioned the Olympics and whether there was enough


security is a little bit ridiculous. Let's set that one aside. Doesn't


he have to appear presidential abroad? I think that he needs to


have a good trip, and I think in the large part he did. The notion


that he can't repeat things that the British press itself has


aggressively been putting forward about the Olympics is a little bit


silly. The reaction from both Mr Cameron and Boris Johnson were both


a little bit sensitive, let as say that. That being said, you never


want to get bad press, you want perfect press. On the other hand,


the only thing that leads to perpect press is glibness and lying


among politician, we have rather had enough of that. Let's talk


about Syria? Hang on, the man put out a foo plus, well, let's talk


about the foreign policy question, I'm happy to talk about Syria. The


plan put out a fifty-plus page White Paper, I don't go back and


refer to that eagerly, it is single-spaced and quite long, the


view that he hasn't put out his views on a variety of issues is


really not quite fair. The American people aren't interested in talking


about the Olympic, the Palestinians or Poland at the moment, what they


are interested in talking about is unemployment. Let me deal with the


fact that he has stated his direction, just briefly? He has put


some of these positions on the record. The problem is, none of


these have real beef behind them, he hasn't answered the question of


logistic, would you really bomb Iran if you could, or confront


China on currency manipulation. These are big promises to make,


once you become President, and get in the Oval Office, and get


classified security briefings, a lot of this is receiptor that he


said. We don't have a clear picture -- rhetoric, that what he said. We


don't have a clear picture. Foreign policy is not a major issue, with