Obama proves himself in foreign policy debate

Elaine Lac

Staff Writer

The foreign policy debate this round focused on several key countries and the United States’ relationship with them: Libya, Syria, Iran, Israel and China. In this last debate, President Barack Obama had to redeem himself after two lackluster debates against Mitt Romney. I believe he proved himself in his foreign policy expertise.

The current issues in Libya began with an attack on Sept. 11, where armed Islamic combatants entered the U.S. Consulate in the city of Benghazi. In the attack, a U.S. ambassador and three others were killed. Obama focused on his success in Libya. There was an effort to secure American safety, liberate Libya and assist rebels affiliated with the United States. He displayed more tact than Romney, and even though Obama could have been criticized for his response to the attack and intelligence failure, Romney didn’t press the issue.

On the issue of Syria, Obama has made it clear that he will provide assistance to rebels, but no arms. Romney, on the other hand, supported arms, but there was no clear evidence why he felt this way. Obama cautioned Romney and described him as reckless. Romney had little to respond with and merely repeated the need for arms distribution.

The Iran argument centered on Obama’s lack of crippling sanctions and military involvement, as well as getting rid of nuclear weapons. Romney criticized Obama on not placing sanctions on Iran, and once again Obama successfully countered by explaining that those sanctions on Iran were crippling. He also managed to get other countries to agree with these regulations which made them more powerful. Romney was left without a counter, and for the most part agreed with Obama’s stance.

Both candidates agreed that Israel was America’s greatest ally in the Middle East. When a hypothetical situation was brought up where Israel was about to bomb Iran, Romney refused to reveal his actions in the matter. He strongly believed that he would never be put in that situation. Romney’s refusal to answer showed me his inability to respond to high-stress situations, and made me doubt him more about this ability.

China became an opportunity for the two candidates to bring up economic policies again. Obama stated that China was to be treated as an ally and an enemy. They need to start following trade rules, and the import of Chinese goods needed to stop in order to create jobs. Romney tried to counter and say that cheap goods would save Americans money. Obama countered, saying that by stopping Chinese production of goods, there would be more American jobs created, which is the ultimate goal. Obama further criticized Romney for shipping jobs overseas because it was a cheaper alternative to the domestic workforce. He highlighted Romney’s contradictory business practices.

This debate ultimately did little to highlight the candidates’ differing policies. Romney lacks experience in foreign policy and focuses on touting his business expertise instead. While he may have this, he lacks well-roundedness on all of the duties of a president. During most of the debate, he agreed with Obama and only seemed to differ slightly for the sake of creating an argument. Obama has more consistency in all of the debates, and especially on topics of foreign policy. He was constantly fact-checking Romney and calling him out for discrepancies. I trust Obama more with the country. He knows what he’s talking about, and he has more experience considering his past term as president. Romney only appeals to me because he claims that he knows how to work with Democrats and Republicans to create policy. This is the type of change needed in the legislature, but how much of that is true? Only the election will tell, but as of now, Obama seems to have the clear advantage.

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