By Jason Miks
Earlier this week, GPS asked readers which foreign policy issues the presidential candidates should be discussing. The discussion in the second debate, on Tuesday night, focused largely on Libya, specifically the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. But readers also had some other ideas about what they want discussed. With the third and final presidential debate taking place Monday, and with foreign policy as the theme, here’s what GPS readers say they are looking for:
“Mithila Saraf” was one of many who suggested that Iran’s nuclear program should be the key U.S. concern.
“Between America’s commitments to Israel and the escalating tensions between Iran and several of its neighbors, America’s action (or inaction) in this matter will be vital to how the situation unfolds,” Saraf said. “So far, the Obama administration has held a firm verbal stance, but there has been little inclination towards physical force. Several Republicans have expressed…that they would want to change that.”
But “Aurea Penner” questions whether the United States really should be getting more deeply entangled overseas.
“The U.S. cannot afford to be the police of the world while its debt is spiraling out of control,” Penner wrote at a time when the U.S. debt has passed the $16 trillion mark. “Read Obama’s speech [from the] 2004 Democratic convention and his book The Audacity of Hope, his core values have not changed. He is for a strong middle class and leveling the playing field for everyone to give our children opportunities to optimize their utmost potential. America has to lead by examples, respecting other cultures and faith, live and let live!”
Penner might, then, approve of the suggestions put forward by “Gboly Obdulate”, who calls for a deeper focus on investment, tourism, and trade in Africa generally, and stronger engagement with power players in the region such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, specifically.
“Nigeria affects oil prices worldwide as it is currently the 7th largest oil producer in the world in addition to having the largest natural gas reserves in the world,” Gboly Obdulate said. (The Nigerian National Oil Corporation, for its part, states that Nigeria is actually Africa’s largest producer of oil, and the sixth largest oil producing country in the world). “It is also the largest ‘black country’ on the planet with over 160 million citizens…That’s160 million consumers of goods and services. Just a more robust foreign policy in that area from the present administration would do wonders.”
Such peaceful engagement appears to motivate an even grander suggestion by "Charles Davis" – implementing a nuclear weapons free Middle East.
“This would require mutual inspection by Iran, Israel and countries in the region that aspire to nuclear weapons, e.g., Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” Davis said. “Better yet would be to extend it to India and Pakistan. The annihilation that use of nuclear weapons would bring is so great it prevents their being used for their destructive purpose. Their main purpose now is to support international bullying. That should stop.”
Some readers, meanwhile, were more succinct, but no less emphatic about what they want Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to talk about. “Rotney O’Shea”, for example, simply noted: “Global warming. Iran. Global inequality. Why we are still in Afghanistan? What are we going to do about Syria?”