The convential wisdom seems to be that the next debate – topic foreign policy – favors President Obama because Governor Romney has zero foreign policy experience and the President now has almost 4 years.
I don’t agree.
I think the advantage is to Governor Romney going into the foreign policy debate. Sure there will be discussion about Libya, Iran, Israel etc. and people may disagree and say one or the other has a better foreign policy– but the overarching problem for foreign policy is our nation’s finances. You can’t discuss foreign policy without talking about our nation’s finances. Foreign policy can be squishy – meaning it is hard to predict the effect of different approaches – but we all know the influence of money. That is concrete.
We are broke.
A country that is broke has a difficult time showing moral authority. Having moral authority is important in foreign policy. Because we can’t handle our own finances, we have been reduced to almost international panhandlers asking for other countries – mostly China – to lend us some cash. When you are knocking on the door of the bank with your hat in your hand, it is hard (impossible) to be influential. Imagine being in default on your home mortgage, do you think you could guilt trip the local bank holding your mortgage into not putting in some unsightly drive thru than ruins the neighborhood aesthetics? Not likely…
Second, because we are broke, we have no diplomatic muscle. We can’t use money to buy our friends – which is important in foreign policy – because we don’t have any. It is much easier to convince Pakistan to lock up its nuclear arsenal and not to saber rattle with our ally India when they are dependent upon us for humanitarian aid (or even military aid.)
Polls show that voters think Governor Romney is much better able to handle our nation’s financial condition than President Obama. President Obama goes into the foreign policy debate having to defend his handling of the economy, the nation’s finances and his foreign policy. Yes, it is indeed true the President inherited a financial crisis but many are very disappointed with his economic stewardship since he took the reins in January 2009.
So…going into the foreign debate, I think it is advantage Governor Romney. Of course, many have said our nation’s financial condition is a national security issue.
Of course, this is just my guess….I have no idea how the cards will fall at the next debate. Lots could happen between now and the next debate and lots can happen AT the debate.
What’s your thought?