On Monday night, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will hold their final debate. This debate, which will take place in Boca Raton, Florida, will concentrate on Foreign Policy.
With the economy being the number one issue on voters’ minds, it seems that global affairs are not that big of an issue. But they are. Thanks to the inter-connectedness of the 21st century, what happens elsewhere in the world matters here in the United States.
President Barack Obama will likely focus on his foreign policy record of the last four years. He will highlight a responsible withdrawl of American troops from Iraq, and the dismantling of Al Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden. He will talk about strengthened alliances with Europe and Israel. He will also discuss renewed partnerships with states in East Asia and the Pacific. In short, Obama will reaffirm what national polls already show, that his smart, strong, and principled foreign policy has been the correct course of action for the United States of America.
Mitt Romney will point out some apparent missteps in Obama’s foreign policy in an attempt to contrast his and Obama’s world vision. Romney will criticize Obama on Iran and Benghazi and proposed cuts to our defense budget. He will try and convey to undecided voters that sanctions against Iran are not working and that Iran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon. He will point out that the terror attacks in Libya were easily preventable and that the aftermath was muddled. He will also attempt to sell to the American people the fact that making cuts to our defense budget will leave us weak and vulnerable.
The candidates are sure to talk about other subjects, like Afghanistan, China, Israel, and Syria. In the second debate, one of the more memorable (and contentious) moments came from the two presidential candidates discussing Libya. While there is no guarantee the same type of fireworks are in store for the third debate, it will be interesting to watch.
While watching the debate, look to see if Romney offers anything new in the way of specifics or if he will stick to his normal talking points about “American Leadership.”As for Obama, his record shows he is possibly the finest foreign policy president since Harry Truman. It should be interesting to see if the latest news regarding one-on-one talks with Iran changes the debate dynamic.
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UPDATE: 2:00 PM Mitt Romney is sure to attack the President on how he handled Benghazi. Let us harken back to the days where Mitt thought that it was wrong to point fingers.
UPDATE: 5:48 PM Here are links to Obama's and Romney's positions on National Security.
Barack Obama: http://www.barackobama.com/national-security/
Mitt Romney: http://www.mittromney.com/issues/national-defense
One other note, many of the same people who are advising Governor Romney on matters of foreign policy and national defense were advisors to President George W. Bush.
UPDATE: 6:39 PM Looking to kill some time before the debate and want to find out how difficult a decision we face when dealing with Iran? Play "Tell Me How This Ends" and play Commander In Chief.
UPDATE: 6:53PM Just a thought, but some in the Obama camp were saying that the President was distracted during the first debate because it was his wedding anniversary. Tonight, his beloved Chicago Bears are on Monday Night Football against the rival Detroit Lions.
UPDATE 8:39 PM Senator John McCain on CNN's preview show saying that Americans are war weary. Romney's tough talk seems to fly against that.
UPDATE 8:56 PM Mitt Romney will speak first AND speak last.
UPDATE 8:59 Game On!
UPDATE 9:09 PM President Obama seems more confident in his answers when discussing National Security. Not as many "umms" and "uhhs" as Romney.
UPDATE 9:14 PM Does Romney realize that President George W. Bush was the one who signed the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq?
UPDATE 9:20 PM And we're back.
UPDATE 9:25 Obama: Nation buliding experiments hurt us domestically, especially since our own house is not in order.
UPDATE 9:29 PM Romney, citing ADM Mike Mullen says that our National Debt is our biggest weakness, but moments later says he will not weaken our military with defense cuts.
UPDATE 9:33 PM Quick question. Is this debate supposed to be about foreign policy or the economy?
UPDATE 9:36 PM Credit where credit is due. Romney made a nice pivot from his weakness (Foreign Policy) to what he beleives is Obama's primary weakness, the handling of the economy.
UPDATE 9:41 PM Obama; Military budget cuts represent strategy (Cybersecurity, military capability, etc), and it was signed off on by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and mulitple other Generals and Admirals.
UPDATE 9:44 PM We may have fewer ships, but we also have fewer horses and bayonets. The nature of conflict changes.
UPDATE 9:51 PM Obama, "I'm glad (Romney) agrees with me. It seems he would do the same thing, except do it louder"
UPDATE 9:57 PM From IranFactCheck.org "An Iranian nuclear weapon is not imminent. U.S. and Israeli intelligence assess that it would take Iran at least two to three years to have a deliverable weapon."
UPDATE 10:00 PM There are no tensions with Israel. In fact the relationship has never been closer. As Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in August 2011, “I can hardly remember a better period of support, American support and backing and cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than what we have right now.”
UPDATE 10:06 PM Romney suggests carrot and stick approach to Pakistan and their support of terrorism (within some elements of their government). Isn't that what Obama is currently doing?
UPDATE 10:12 PM Romney telling the electorate that Obama is wrong by telling the audience that he would do exactly what the President is doing? Don't worry, it doesn't make sense to me either.
UPDATE 10:19 PM Currency manipulators may sound nice, but does Romney realize that any trade war he starts with China will send the Global Economy into a tailspin?
UPDATE 10:23 PM What Obama is currently alluding to with the Pacific Pivot is guarding the Straits of Malaka. Making the shipping lanes safer is the goal here, not a show of force against China. More oil goes through the Straits of Malaka to countries like Japan, South Korea, and yes, China then anywhere else in the world, with the exception of the Strait of Hormuz.
UPDATE 10:31 PM We are not and will never be Greece (apologies to all Greek readers)
FINAL UPDATE 10:34 PM Bob Scheifer, "Go Vote"