The final presidential debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney takes place on Monday, October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida, from the auditorium of Lynn University. Thus far, foreign policy has taken a back seat at the debates, with the state of the economy being the main policy issue and battle-axe between Obama and Romney. This debate, however, focuses exclusively on foreign policy and national security, which means it could be even more exciting than the previous two contests.
The topics for the debate have been announced by moderator Bob Scheiffer, and the war on terrorism and U.S engagement in the Middle East dominates, with 4 out of 6 topics about ‘the U.S role in Afghanistan and Pakistan,’ ‘dealing with Israel and Iran,’ and policy on ‘the changing Middle East and new faces of terrorism.’ The other two topics are the ‘rise of China and tomorrow’s world,’ and more broadly, ‘America’s role in the world.’
President Obama should be the clear favorite in this final duel, and we are now well-versed in his policy. Romney must challengethe president. Importantly, he needs to explain the way he sees and understands the world, and how his plan for America to engage the world would strengthen America’s interests. Throughout the campaign, Romney has criticized a variety of Obama’s policies, but he needs to coherently explain the strategy he would put in place and strengthen America’s position in the world. Only in doing so will he give America a picture of the man they are voting for.
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Update 3:11 pm
So we're a now just less than 6 hours away from the Debate. The Romney-Obama poll numbers suggest the gap is extremely slim, the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll claims it is currently a tie. Internationally, however, Obama remains widely popular. The Wasghington Post reported earlier today that world leaders seem unready for Mitt Romney to potentially take office come January. European leaders say they worry the Romney administration is going to have to re-learn the Eurozone debt crises. There is a real feeling that many alliances that US has built over the last 3 years stands to break up, a notable and crucial example is the breakthrough US-Iran Bilateral negotiation set for 2013, after the ongoing election.
Just some news that will give tonight's debate on Foriegn Policy some much needed international perspective & context.
Update 4:00 pm
A very, very important issue that I think bost candidates MUST speak about is the use of Drones. Used predominatly in the NW of Pakistan, for the past 5 years drones have terrorised the people of this region, collateral damage in the wild search for terrorists. Yes, important suspects have been killed, but look at the cost? Under the Obama adminstration the use of drones has grown immensily, but what are Romney's veiws?
Stamford University & New York University recently completed a detailed report on the effect and impact of the use of drones. What the short video on Youtube here .
Something that all American's must question, what precident does this set for the use of remotely controled Drones, shooting humans as if a Video game? there's an ethical debate that could use its own 90 minute segment.
Here's hoping this issue is addressed. What do you thing?
Update 9:00 pm
Here we go, and Bob starts with the Middle-East & Libya.....
Update 9:06 pm
"My Strategy is to go after the bad guys".... great strategy Romney.
Obama is quick on the offensive, jabbing Romney that his policy has been all over the place. He takes a second punch calling Romney out for contradicting himself saying Al Queda is the US's number one foe, while a few weeks ago saying Russia is the US's number one foe.
This debate has started at 100 miles an hour and its great...
Update 9:26 pm
So Syria. The moderator asked Obama why, despite a year after saying Assad must go, the crises has continued. Good question, but equally good response from Obama. He mentioned the immense cost it takes to be militariliy involved, the dangers of supplying arms to rebel forces.
Romney is displaying some fight, saying he wants Assad out, but does not want to see US military involved, but is not saying what he would do differently. He says the US should be taking a leadership role, ignoring the fact that, that is exactly what the US has done, most notably with the "Syria & friends coaliton". Once again, the president has been sharp and responded that the governor is not saying how we would say anything different.
So far, Romney has displayed a good understanding of the region, mentioning the need for a Middle East that is free of radicalism, a change from within rather than through the use of force. But when it comes to a solution it seems to lack one.
So onto "America's role in the world".
So both Romney and Obama have some how steered the conversation to the economy. This is a little frustrating, nothing new.
The moderator asked how Mitt Romney is going to fund the proposed increase in military spending. He dodged the question, talking about the importance of it.
BOOM, Obama just landed a punch, saying Romney doesnt understand how the military works, in response to accusing Obama allowing the US to have the least amount of navy ships since the 60s.
But the president is sharp today and and he attacked Romney, accusing of him not understanding how the military works.
Update 9:56 pm
Next Topic- The red line, Iran & Israel,
Romney wants to diplomatically isolate Iran, have ahmedinejad indicted by the ICJ because his words are tentamount to genocide. He says the US should tighten sanctions, yet the current sanctions are are contricting as ever. Currently Iranian oil is not allowed to enter the US, so why Romney is saying this needs to happen is beyond me.
The president has made it clear, again, that he will stand by Israel if they are attacked, and he will NOT allow under any circumstances for Iran to posses a nuclear weapon. He has re-iterated that the US has worked together with China & Russia, to work towards a diplomatic solution to ensure that lives are not lost.
Thank you Mr. President, this is the kind of rhetoric we want to hear. The implications of Romney's war mongering are getting scary, for both America and the rest of the world.
Moderator just said "Obam-Osama"......
Romney " I support the use of drones, we should continuesly do what we need to do to defend America". I mentioned the topic of Drones earlier (scroll to the top). Its unfortunate that Obama's administration has been doing just this.
Moderator " President, what do you think will be America's biggest threat"
Obama " I believe it is Terrorists and their networks".
Obama "My administration had the most number of trade disputes with China at the WTO than ever before. China will be an ally of the US as long as they play by the rules".
Romney "We can be a partner, we do not have to be an adversary, if they're willing to be responsible."
10:27 We're running out of time and instead of China, conversation has gone back to Romney & Obama beating each other up over the economy, and how each other's plan will not work.
Obama " You've not heard 3 debates, camagning and commercials. Now you have a choice. For the past 4 years we have struggled to come back from polcieis that led to an economic crises and 2 wars. Romeny's plan will take America back to this, and my plan will bring jobs back to America, education in America should be the best in the world, invest in green technology, and invest and research and technology that will make us the best in the World. As commander in cheif I will ensure the safety of America....we always bounce back and if I have the privelage to be president again I will ensure America continues to be the greatest country in the World.
Romney " I am confident america has a bight future. I want to make the economy gets going, and the current path is one to a 20 trillion deficit. I want to make sure people are off of food stamps, not by getting rid of the program but by getting them jobs. Washington is broken, I have worked in a state with 70% democrats, I know how to fix it. I ask for you vote to be the next presdient of this great nation.
& so it ends. I'll leave you to digest that, and check back in a few hours for some of my post analysis.
My verdict: Both candidates agreed on a lot of issues, but overall Obama showed weaknesses and flaws in Romney's plan, most notably on Iran. In terms of swaying the undecided voters, I dont know, but on matter of policy Obama wins.