Brief Points on Debating Foreign Policy

Naturally, World on Safari has endless things to say about the Foreign Policy Presidential Debate last night. But to save time, this post serves to make just three points –
1. There has been too much focus on Libya. Needless to say the tragedy caused by the attack in Benghazi was nothing short of terrible. This attack, however, should not make the nation of Libya any sort of priority for the United States. The authoritarian government has already been overthrown. What remains in Libya are small rebel groups, already heavily armed, and discontent with going back to their former ways of life. The terrorist attack on the embassy was not a wide-scale, heavily planned assault, but one of these small rebel groups leftover from the revolution. Thus nothing more than perhaps tracking down this sole group should be discussed.
2. President Obama and Governor Romney generally agree on Foreign Policy. Sanctions on Iran should continue to deter nuclear capabilities. We should not get involved militarily with Syria. China has unfair protectionist policies, but we must maintain solid relations so as to benefit both our economies. Although it may have sounded like the candidates were arguing, the platform for debate made for most of the disagreement, not the questions themselves. You may have noticed that the candidates differed the most when the topic reverted back to the domestic sphere. But after all, this agreement a good thing. We don’t want any sort of extremism from the President on Foreign Policy.
3. The candidates shy away from discussing aid. You’ll notice that rarely if at all were Latin American, African, or Southeast Asian countries brought up in last night’s debate. But the U.S. is both directly and indirectly sending nations in all three of these regions significant amounts of aid to assist with economic development, healthcare, the spread of democracy, and to serve U.S. interests in these regions. Is this not brought up because American politicians or citizens believe that possible security threats and the heavily media-covered nations are more important to discuss? Is it because neither candidate wants to remind viewers that the U.S. government is still spending large amounts of taxpayer money abroad when we have serious domestic economic problems of our own? Is aid not still relevant when appointing a President, or do we now see it as a backdrop to the greater American picture?

Good on you if you watched the debate and agreed with or disagreed with the candidates’ policies. The United States still has one of the largest roles in the international community through its active foreign policy engagements and its permanent role in the U.N. Security Council, and the Commander-in-Chief and appointed Secretary of State make an incredible difference to many nations and people around the globe.


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