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September 08, 2008

Where Are We Setting The Bar?
Posted by David Shorr

The foreign policy case from last week's Republican convention seemed to boil down to a character argument: John McCain is a guy who knows how to deal with America's friends and enemies. Aside from the problems that go with looking at the world through this lens, is this a rigorous enough commander in chief test? So we all agree that the mountain of domestic and international challenges we face (many of them both domestic and international) make this a consequential election. Where is our debate over how America will handle them? I'm starting to feel gypped.

My firm opposition to 10-point plans in an election-year debate is well known. But shouldn't Americans expect the campaigns to offer general approaches to the challenges confronting us?

  1. How do you deal with terrorist networks that are spread across dozens of countries and whose survival strategy is to make themselves undetectable?
  2. How will you overcome the widespread suspicion and resentment that has developed toward the United States?
  3. How can the US wean itself from fossil fuels?
  4. What do the shifts in the global distribution of power mean for US foreign policy?
  5. How are you going to build a stronger relationship with Pakistan that doesn't pin our hopes on one leader or political party?
  6. What is your strategy for keeping Iran and North Korea from having nuclear weapons? How will you accomplish this -- not, how will you talk tough about it? (See esp. Amb. Robert Galucci at the end of this article.)

Only if we hear answers to these questions will I feel like we're getting a foreign policy debate worthy of this moment in history -- and in touch with the real world.


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The Republican Party does not let foreign policy experts or world opinion determine foreign policy. The Republicans only cater their foreign policy towards the base, as their selection of Sarah Palin shows.

Republican Party Line Answers:

1. Keep the American boot on the throat of the world.
3. Drill! Drill! Drill!
4. Move the boot around.
5. More Predator flights, and ask them to hold fewer weddings.
6. See #s 2 and 4.

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You were spot on with both her and McGuire's performances though - any more whining and I'm going to PUKE!

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