The first of three presidential debates will occur this Friday, September 26. In a prime time encounter, John McCain and Barack Obama will (hopefully) lay out their ideas about how to best structure and implement U.S. foreign policy over the next four years. These debates will be critical for the candidates, as the race is tightly contested and neither candidate has pulled away in recent polls.
Each candidate must demonstrate an understanding of foreign policy that moves beyond sound bites. Obama will try to link McCain to President Bush’s foreign policy failures and portray McCain’s ideas as a continuation of the cowboy foreign policies that have caused so much political turmoil over the last eight years. Obama is also likely to accuse McCain of losing sight of the real central front against terrorism in Afghanistan.
McCain will try to highlight his foreign policy experience while explaining his unconditional support for the war in Iraq to skeptical Americans. McCain needs to pick up lost ground after economic woes and several McCain gaffes have bounced Obama back ahead in national polls. McCain will seek to discuss ways in which a McCain-Palin administration will represent a true change from the Bush-Cheney years.
The Council for a Livable World would like to see the following issues addressed by the candidates on Friday:
1. With speculation circulating that North Korea is poised to restart their nuclear program, how should the United States respond if North Korea reneges on its commitment to halt developing nuclear technology for nuclear weapons?
2. What course of action will your administration take in dealing with Iran?
3. How will you seek to ease tensions between the United States and Russia after the recent conflict in Georgia?
4. Are diplomatic and multilateralist approaches to American foreign policy artifacts of the past?
5. In your eyes, what work can be done to domestically strengthen the U.S. biodefense program, especially after the turmoil of the Bruce Ivins case?
What other questions would you like answered? Let us know, if you’d like, in the comments section.