From my column for The National today:
'Be careful what you wish for," my mother used to say, "because someday you may just get it."
And so I have. After years of bemoaning the absence of foreign policy issues in US presidential campaigns, even during the hyperactive unilateralist madness of the George W Bush administration, my mother's words have come to pass. As we wind our way towards the November 6 presidential election, a too-close-to-call race for the most powerful office in the world may well come down to a televised debate on foreign policy.
Of course, the United States faces some of the most serious challenges in its history at the moment, many of them emanating from abroad. The ability to adjust to the realities since the 2008 financial crisis is the paramount foreign policy challenge of the day, challenging Americans to rethink their role in a world where economic power and political influence are shared among many actors.
This requires careful, long-term planning and frank conversations with friends and foes alike on topics as diverse as the future of global finance, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the use of drones in warfare, the threat of drug-resistant pandemic diseases, the continuing need for leadership in settling territorial disputes in the Middle East, the two Koreas and the South China Sea, and the reform of international institutions that still reflect the status quo of 1945.
I should be ecstatic that a prime-time forum on foreign policy will be watched by millions of Americans.
Yet the prospect of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney trying to out-duel each other on how the United States should handle the changing world is terrifying.
Read the rest at The National
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.
The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team
The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?