It is safe to say that Obama edged Romney tonight to win the third and final policy debate, but the pundits and analysts seem to agree the neither candidate was impressive. The lack of a “foreign policy” debate was highly disappointing, and much of the focus shifted back to domestic policy and the U.S. economy. During this debate America witnessed a lack of shining moments, and no real debate on the realities of the changing Middle East.
However, the debate reflected the true foreign policy stance of the United States in the Middle East: appease our allies, appease our allies, and appease our allies. Neither Obama nor Romney mentioned the regimes and political structures of the Middle East, and how America will be able to adapt to the changing trends and dynamics in the region. Obama criticized Romney for his ideas of bringing the United States back to the policies used during the Cold War, and Romney criticized Obama's policies accusing him of not being able to stop extremism and fundamentalism groups from spreading further in the region. Neither candidate addressed the reasons of why such fundamentalist groups are growing larger and widespread, who is responsible, nor how America should implement its influence to encourage the spread of a true democratic process in the Middle East.
Both candidates made it very clear that the military option was not an option, except with Romney’s regards to Israel, Iran is a security threat, and China is demonized, etc. The real debate should have been about how to revive America’s relevance in the region, without worsening the situations in the Middle East region. Whoever the real winner is in the polls, it seems that the American public missed out on a worthy foreign policy discussion.
Check out my live blog of the debate here.