5 Crucial Questions for the Presidential Foreign Policy Debate
Tonight’s final presidential debate will focus solely on foreign policy. Moderator Bob Schieffer announced that the topics will be: “America’s Role in the World,” “Our Longest War—Afghanistan and Pakistan,” “Red Lines—Israel and Iran,” “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism,” and “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.” Heritage’s foreign policy experts have written a series of tipsheets for prepping on each of these issues, featured on our Debate 2012 page and linked below.
Join us tonight at 9 p.m. ET to watch the debate live on the Debate 2012 page. In addition to the live stream, our experts will be live blogging, and you can join in the conversation on Twitter.
Our experts have submitted five questions they consider vital to the foreign policy debate:
- Given that the Taliban movement still poses a threat to the futures of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, how do you plan to ensure stability in the region and prevent either country from serving as a base for international terrorists intent on attacking the U.S.?
- Over the last several years, the Chinese have become increasingly aggressive in pressing territorial claims against their neighbors, threatening to upend peace, security, and the free flow of commerce in the region. What policies will your Administration undertake in the first year to make clear to this new Chinese leadership that the U.S. will remain committed to its friends and treaty allies in the western Pacific?
- The U.S. is not the world’s policeman, but it is a leader in world affairs. Can we maintain our influence and protect our vital national interests around the world (such as the “pivot to Asia” that the Administration has announced) if defense cuts continue? Do these cuts encourage adversaries and extremists (as in Libya) to test U.S. resolve?
- In the months since Osama bin Laden was killed, al-Qaeda franchises in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and North Africa have grown stronger and continue to pose a significant threat to Americans. Yet the U.S. appears to be stuck in a “whack-a-mole” tape loop. How should U.S. counterterrorism policy be changed to effectively counter this evolving threat?
- Although sanctions have been ratcheted up against Iran, a new study by the Congressional Research Service has concluded that sanctions have not succeeded in accomplishing their principal objective “to compel Iran to verifiably confine its nuclear program to purely peaceful uses.” Tehran has accelerated its enrichment of uranium and is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon. Can sanctions alone stop these trends? What else should the U.S. do to end Iran’s nuclear defiance?
- Russian President Vladimir Putin led the largest Russian nuclear weapons tests since 1991 over the weekend.
- After President Obama said that women “rely” on Planned Parenthood for mammograms, a pro-life group encouraged women to call Planned Parenthood to try to make an appointment for a mammogram -- to call attention to the fact that the organization does not provide the service.
- Today on Istook Live!, James Jay Carafano, director of Heritage’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, will discuss tonight’s foreign policy debate. Tune in to Istook Live! online today from 9 a.m.-noon ET.
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- Join us to watch the debate tonight on our Debate 2012 page. We’ll have the live stream of the debate, Heritage experts live blogging, and live tweeting.