David Frum

10.22.12

5 Questions You Won't Hear Tonight

Many thanks to the readers who sent in suggestions for better questions for tonight's foreign policy debate. Lots of mentions of drone strikes, the drug war, troubles in the Eurozone, and what can be done to help stabilize Mexico. I'd also like to highlight Ezra Klein's lament that most "foreign policy" questions are inextricable from domestic issues. I disagree with Klein's thesis -- we should indeed have a debate that attempts to focus on traditionally international issues (war, diplomacy, etc.) -- but it's still compelling stuff.

Now on to the really sad stuff. What questions can we be certain won't be asked? Here's a sample:

President Obama, you campaigned on civil liberties in 2008. Lo and behold, it's 2012, and with the exception of ending torture, you've generally ramped up the things you so vehemently opposed in 2008. What gives?

Gov. Romney, which do you think has caused more needless deaths for Mexican citizens -- the drug war, or Fast and Furious?

For either candidate: Do you believe the President of the United States should have the authority to maintain a "kill list" that pursues extrajudicial killings?

For either candidate: What would you do in coordination with other nations to reduce carbon emissions while seeking to minimize job destruction? Is such a path plausible, or even possible?

Finally, for Gov. Romney: which would you prioritze: international stability, or democratic governance? The two, as you seem unable to articulate, are frequently mutually exclusive.