John Avlon Independent Nation

10.14.12

Foreign Policy Should Take Center Stage

Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney owe it to the American people and the world to be clear about their foreign policy positions.

It is time for the presidential candidates to say what they see as America’s place in the world. Few aspects of the president’s job have as large an impact on as many people as his role as commander-in-chief, and while voters can look to President Obama’s record on the foreign stage, the Romney-Ryan ticket needs to make a clear, coherent statement of its own positions in the next debate.

In my latest column for The Sunday Telegraph, I write on how so far both campaigns have danced around some of the most important international issues that will determine America’s course over the next four years:

“Like Senator Obama four years ago, Governor Romney has little foreign policy experience. At least we knew then that Obama opposed the Iraq war and wanted to ramp up drone strikes against al-Qaeda instead – and now, in regard to killing bin Laden, the phrase ‘mission accomplished’ actually applies.

“To date we haven’t been told whether Mitt Romney supports the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive unilateral intervention – a sticky subject even for conservatives these days. In 2008, Obama tried to compensate for his lack of foreign policy experience by tapping the Senate foreign relations committee chairman, Hillary Clinton, to be his VP. Romney picked the House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan, a Tea Party policy wonk with no foreign policy expertise.”

In the vice presidential debate, Paul Ryan performed a misleading tap dance around his ticket’s foreign policy positions. Romney will have to do better. He says he wants to increase America’s military spending to four percent of the gross domestic product, and while this sends a sanguine shudder up spines in the Republican base, most Americans are tired after a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and distressed by warmongering when it comes to Syria and Iran.

Read more at The Sunday Telegraph.