Election Connection Commentary: Candidates’ last chance
Before the third presidential debate takes place Monday night, candidates Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney will be sharpening their knowledge on foreign policy. This will be the only topic of the last debate this election year.
The main foreign focus of last Tuesday’s debate was the attack in Libya, which left a U.S. ambassador dead.
Romney accused Obama of taking too long to call the attack an act of terror, to which Obama and moderator Candy Crowley corrected the Republican candidate.
Romney will likely want to go after Obama again to try to make up for his slip-up, and try to prove to the President that he would have handled the Libya situation differently.
Besides Libya, the two candidates will likely discuss their stance on Iran becoming a nuclear nation.
Romney has said that it is “unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation,” and wants to impose sanctions against Iran to make sure they do not move forward with their nuclear program.
The former Massachusetts governor will likely go after Obama after reports surfaced from the New York Times that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to a one-on-one talk on their program, although Saturday the White House denied the meetings.
If the rumors of meetings turn out to be true, Romney would likely say Obama was working with Iran, rather than against them. Since Israel has threatened military action against Iran, if Romney truly wants to support the U.S.’s allies, then he would back anything that Israel does in the Middle East, as they are the U.S.’s greatest friends in that area.
The relationship between Pakistan and America will also likely be brought up. Romney will have a solid argument against Obama in that department, as he has called out the Palestinians numerous times for not working with the U.S., but stood still when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said attacks between Israel and Palestine had to stop before peace talks could resume between the two countries.
One thing that the candidates may agree on is supporting countries part of the Arab Spring, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
Both Obama and Romney agree that the U.S. should support countries in the midst of changing regimes in the Middle East, so that they can further promote democracy in a crucial area.
Staying in the Middle East, Syria will also be a highly contested point. Romney has called for the United States to arm the Syrian rebels attempting to take down President Bashar al-Assad.
Obama signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for the rebels through the CIA and other U.S. agencies in August, according to Reuters.
There will be pressure for either candidate to do something about Syria after the election, as attacks by the Syrian government continue to kill innocent citizens, most recently an attack in the capital of Damascus that killed at least 10.
It’s unlikely that Romney will make any massive strides during this debate, however, since he has little experience in foreign policy, although recent polls are showing the race to be very close. The most recent Wall Street Journal and NBC News poll show the candidates tied at 47 percent, while a wider poll by NBC shows Obama ahead of Romney by five points, 49 to 44 percent.