Foreign Policy Comes to the Fore
After more than a year of fighting over the pace of economic recovery, the race for the
The Romney camp clearly hopes the debate scheduled to focus on America's actions abroad will bring a fuller airing of that fiasco, backing up Romney's allegation that Obama and his administration intentionally misled the American people on the origins of the attack.
Obama replied indignantly to the charge that he or his subordinates would play politics in a matter that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans there. But the administration's early attribution of the episode to an anti-Islamic video as the trigger, based on first inaccurate intelligence reports, has given Romney a hook for this volatile accusation.
Misspeaking on the cause of the attack is hardly comparable to, for example,
Obama was helped in the second debate by Romney's own misspeaking of when the president first described the Benghzi assault as an "act of terror." Also, Romney's instant criticism of the president on a critical foreign policy matter ran counter to the traditional notion that politics is supposed to stop at the water's edge.
Nevertheless, so much apparently is at stake in this final debate that it's unreasonable to expect that Marquis of Queensberry rules will be observed, even in the hands of the designated moderator,
An irony in this late-campaign segue to foreign policy is that it's a pivot from the focus on the economy that was supposed to be Romney's best chance to beat the incumbent.
The death of
It gives him the chance to talk about how he has reversed the junior Bush's policy of unilateral intervention, which was a deviation from America's longstanding preference for collective action. Bush's "coalition of the willing" in
In the eventual ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in
Romney has now tried to out-talk Obama on barring nuclear weapons to
In some ways, the inordinate emphasis on atmospherics and style over substance in much commentary about this year's campaign debates has tended to diminish what's at stake in these perilous times both at home and abroad. Everybody seems to agree that the negativity has eroded public respect for the process and all the participants.
But as long as 60 million or more Americans keep watching what now has become an institutional part of our quadrennial exercise in self-government, we can hope that sober and wise judgment will prevail on
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Foreign Policy Comes to the Fore | Politics
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