Sunday, October 28, 2012

Foreign Affairs Debate

The third Presidential debate was the most uneventful so far. Although it was supposed to focus on foreign affairs, neither candidate seemed to want to discuss the subject at length. The questions of the moderator were so general and broad that both President Obama and Governor Romney had no difficulty in turning the debate to their major domestic concerns.
Both agreed that to be strong abroad, America had to be strong at home and that easily led to a discussion of their differing domestic agendas. It never occurred to either that weakness at home requires an even stronger and skillful foreign policy. After all, we are still facing enormous financial difficulties here at home.
Who really believes that the recession is over? Our debt is at unimaginable trillion levels and keeps increasing. China holds a considerable amount of that debt and the more we owe them, the more we are in their power. That is, unless we one day do the unthinkable and default on our own debt and bring down our economy as well as the Chinese.
We are also weak because we have stretched our military resources to the limit. We have been at war in the Middle East for over a decade and even though both candidates declare the troops will be out of Afghanistan in 2014, there is no guarantee that we have seen the last of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have armed and trained over 300000 Afghans. Who can say that they won’t be part of a Taliban resurgence?
I wonder if President Obama wouldn’t have done better if he had just brought our troops home after his election. There would have been a huge outcry but it would have largely been forgotten by now. Would the situation in the Middle East be any worse than it is now?
Speaking of bad situations I understand why both candidates are so alarmed at the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon, but I can’t understand why both showed no alarm at the fact that Pakistan has 100 nuclear weapons in its arsenal. Shouldn’t an object of our foreign policy be to dismantle Pakistan’s nuclear capacity? This is especially important given the fragility of Pakistan’s internal situation and the possibility that their nuclear weapons might one-day fall into the hands of terrorists.
Since we give so much money to Pakistan, shouldn’t an object of our diplomacy be to guarantee Pakistan’s security in exchange for an end to its nuclear program?
All in all, I think that Governor Romney showed that he is certainly adept in the area of foreign affairs. Even though the spin masters tried to give the edge to the President, I believe that the Governor will continue to gain in the polls. The President certainly didn’t help himself by his insulting references to ships that planes can land on, or others that can go underwater. Maybe, he has appeared on Leno and Letteman too many times. ###

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