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Key Issues For The Third Presidential Debate

Nandini Ruparel |
October 19, 2012 | 4:15 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


(Donkey Hotey/Flickr)
(Donkey Hotey/Flickr)
The third and final presidential debate's focus on foreign policy opens a broad range of topics for President Barack Obama and candidate Mitt Romney to discuss. The questions asked in this debate should revolve around five key places:

1. The Middle East

 Romney and Obama have hugely varied policies in regards to different parts of the Middle East.

Romney criticized Obama for downplaying the terrorism element of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya, reports the New York Times. Meanwhile, Romney has been similarly blasted for using the incident to make a political statement.

Romney has also attacked Obama for not being harsh enough on Iran's nuclear program. 

 In the debate, Obama and Romney should be asked questions regarding the strength of their policies in the Middle East. Similar events to the attack on the embassy in Libya, the protests over the "Innocence of Muslims" video, and the Arab Spring could occur over the next four years. This question is key to gauge the candidates' reaction to similar events. 

2. Israel  

Although technically a part of the Middle East, Israel is important in its own right because it is a secure U.S. ally. Obama has come under fire from Romney for "throwing Israel under the bus." However, Obama has provided significant aid and resources to the area. It is important for Obama to reiterate what he's done to support Israel and for Romney to argue ways he could do a better job than the incumbent in this area.

3. European Union

While the EU is not at the forefront of most people's concerns, it is extremely important in the world economy and therefore the American economy. With Greece in a severe financial crisis, the state of the EU could make or break the economic recovery of the U.S. Both Romney and Obama should address the concerns surrounding the region and what they would do prevent further crashes.

4. China and India

As China and India quickly develop, the U.S. has lost some jobs to outsourcing. Romney's track record at Bain Capital includes the outsourcing of many jobs. Obama has been accused of only enacting slow economic growth. This suggests that neither candidate is very willing to be "tough" on China as suggested in Tuesday's debate. Foreign policy regarding China and India could be key in dealing with the U.S.'s economic crisis.

5. Latin America

Romney's mention of Latin America in the debate on Tuesday reminded voters that trade in Latin America is important for the U.S. There have been no specifics from either candidate regarding the importance of the region, though, and it seems that this is an issue that hasn't been given much thought in the election. However, this region is as important in foreign policy as China and India and should be addressed in the debate.



Reach Staff Reporter Nandini Ruparel here.



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