Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The CNN National Security Debate

I just finished watching the CNN-Heritage Foundation National Security Debate, the second foreign policy debate so far in this election cycle. I was most interested in seeing how the front runners performed: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I thought that Romney outperformed his chief rival. Romney was cautious and played not to make any major errors as well as getting in subtle digs at his opponents. Newt was busy showing off and showing how smart he was--which left him open for attack from Michelle Bachmann and others for supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Romney said he was opposed to creating magnets for illegal immigration and he specifically mentioned in-state tuition rates for illegals. This was a subtle dig at Rick Perry.

Bachmann and Rick Santorum again had their moments as in the first foreign policy debate in SC about ten days ago. But neither has much chance of winning the nomination if polls are anything to go by. Huntsman also sounded intelligent, but he also is not going anywhere. Herman Cain sounded as ignorant as ever. In fact he sounds like a black male version of Sarah Palin--winging it and hoping to cover up his ignorance by his fervor.

Ron Paul is beginning to wear on me. He repeats the same things every time. His libertarian approach to foreign policy has some ideological appeal, but his claim that the Taliban just want to be left alone is a vast distortion of the historical record. The Taliban leadership invited Al-Qaeda into their country in the expectation that Bin-Ladin would attempt to carry out terrorist attacks against the West. Paul is just beginning to sound like Dennis Kusinich--he even looks like a taller version of him.

Go here for a very good critique of the debate looking at what was not asked. The article also ridicules Romney's pompous assures about keeping American military primacy and stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon's capability. As Pakistan demonstrated during the Reagan administration and North Korea demonstrated during the Clinton administration, if a country wants the bomb badly enough and is willing to pay the peace, it will get the bomb. Only Huntsman was willing to risk electoral oblivion to make this rather obvious point.

I look forward to the days after the South Carolina primary when the field begins to really thin out and it will be possible to only have three or four candidates up on the stage instead of eight, so that a real debate can be staged in which the candidates will have the opportunity of interacting with one another. In the past this occurred after the New Hampshire debate, but with the Republicans copying the Democrats and awarding delegates by percentage it will take the field longer to thin out this year.

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