Foreign Policy, Please?

Time zones and all that, the third debate of the US presidential campaign happened at the start of my day rather than the end. So perhaps my sense of humour was a bit impaired. But I scored the debate differently than bleary-eyed American commentators.

The twittersphere and the crew at the New York Times went crazy over the President’s well-rehearsed zinger:

“You mention the Navy, for example, and the fact that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

It’s great to see that Jon Stewart has been moonlighting for the Obama campaign. But the rest of the world and I were hoping for something more substantial in a debate over foreign policy. We’re confident now that both candidates know where Azerbaijan and Somalia are and what the latest stats on the balance of trade with China are. Very reassuring.

But there was nothing about Mexico, nothing about drones, very little about Russia, nothing about the European Union. It was mostly point-scoring and patriotism. Both men dragged the debate back to home turf as often as possible. I expected that Obama, after four years as the Commander-in-Chief, would steamroller Romney, who has been playing to the gallery on foreign policy. But Romney held his own. I’d score it as a tie. What do you think?

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Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia.

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