Editor’s Note: This is a commentary on the third presidential debate from our contributor Ad Faulkner. -M.P.
Were you as excited about the last debate as I was? Probably not, I was so excited about the Foreign policy debate, then it happened and all of my excitement turned into disappointment. Not because of either candidate but due what I call the new foreign policy strategy of America. Foreign policy in America today can be summed up in two words “National Security.” It is truly unfortunate that American foreign policy has been held hostage by international terrorists and the idea of extremism since 9/11. The overall arching theme of this debate was national security and more national security. America is no longer solely focused on maintaining good relations with the entire world and promoting democracy on every continent, with the exception of the Middle East of course. I noticed Africa was only mentioned in the context of saving it from the atrocities we witnessed in Libya earlier this year. Since 911 No other continent has felt our absence more that that of Africa; or the region of sub-Sahara Africa. Are we still concerned about the AIDS epidemic in the region, or about the constant corruption among local governments/dictators?
With America’s deficit being so high can we still help to contribute resources and aid in the developing world on a vast scale as we once did or is this even on any politician’s agenda in Washington? Are we still the largest contributor to the endeavors of the United Nations? All of these questions came to my mind while I witnessed the death of foreign policy debates of old. Was this debate even relevant was the question I had to ask myself over and over again. The President and the Governor seemed to have the same foreign policies, making it for interesting and somewhat confusing television. They only collided when the subject of domestic issues arose via the Governor. While listening to President Obama and Governor Romney debate foreign policy I realized just how far away from that term we have come in recent years. The term foreign policy in past presidential elections would encompass most of the world’s affairs, including Latin America, Europe and Asia (and not only China and how they are becoming a rising superpower). We could not have a debate in past years that did not include topics of how to spread democracy, provide clean water to all, gender equality, and solutions to climate change. Consequently, none of these topics came up in this debate. Yes, it is true that America has various enemies that must be monitored at all times, and no I am not speaking of Russia, but are we so focused on Middle East and North Africa’s national security that we are now neglecting our own commitment to spread democracy to all? Are no longer chasing the title to be the world’s savior and moral compass? What did you think of when you heard the term “Foreign Policy?”