BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
In a normal boxing match, one party aims to throw the final punch that would either draw blood or throw the opponent off his feet. Last night, President Obama threw the final punch that drew sweat not blood from his opponent and threw him off balance. In a final debate over foreign policy, both Mr. Romney and President Obama went head-to-head telling America where they stand on foreign issues. It was the last debate everyone had waited for and if anyone is of the feeling that last night’s debate on foreign policy will have no effect on the coming election, they need to think again.
Since the unfortunate event of 9/11, disinterested Americans have taken the steps to focus more on foreign policy issues. Whether we like it or not, events that take place abroad usually have direct or indirect effects on American economy and its view in the outside world. As both parties debated on the issue last night, it was clear Mr. Obama was able to state his vision on foreign policy for America, which may have swayed some undecided to consider leaning to his side. The President demonstrated experience of four years in office and was able to argue assertively that Mr. Romney lacked consistency and clarity of vision to lead the nation. Mr. Obama portrayed Romney as a flip-flopper who time and time again, has been imbalance in his vision of foreign policy for the nation.
In response, Mr. Romney would only argue that the President is a lame duck leader who has been weak on Iran and his position on the defense of Israel. Whether America subscribed to such is unclear since based on the debate, Mr. Romney seemed to agree with the President on virtually everything Mr. Obama had said on foreign policy. In fact, at a point you get the impression that the former constitutional law professor was back in class lecturing Mr. Romney on foreign policy, when both were asked the question on budget cut to the Military which Mr. Romney, claimed the President planned to cut if reelected. Mr. Romney indicated that the U.S. Navy had reduced its fleet of warships since the early 1900s, in an attempt to show Mr. Obama’s desire to cut funding to the military.
Mr. Obama went on the defensive to explain the nature of the U.S. Navy. “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets,” he said, “because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” The President’s response to Mr. Romney’s allegation, made the opponent look like one not versed or privy of the nature of the U.S. military and its organization, something one hoping to be the Commander in Chief should know.
Mr. Romney tried to label the President as one not clear on his position on Israel. He claimed Mr. Obama paid no visit to Israel while in office, to which Obama shot back with reference to the fact that he visited the country four years back, while running for office. To rebuke Mr. Romney’s fundraising trips to Israel, the President said “he did not take donors and did not attend fundraisers,” when he visited Israel like his opponent did this past summer. Obama did not waste time to point that during his visit to Israel in 2008, he went to the Holocaust Museum in Yad Vashem to “remind myself of the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.”
Both Romney and Mr. Obama, touched on foreign policies they had talked about in the past two debates including the issue of China’s manipulation of its currency, the current war in Syria, the event in Libya that led to the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the Iran nuclear crisis. On Syria, Mr. Romney criticized the Obama administration for not doing enough to aid American allies in the region to bring an end to the reign of Assad. The President responded that the U.S. is doing its best working with American allies in the region, to see an end to the imbroglio. Mr. Obama did not fall short of saying once again as he said previously that “no doubt Assad’s days are numbered.”
When asked what he would do on Syria, Mr. Romney seconded exactly what the current administration is doing on the issue. He said he would work with American allies to bring an end to the reign of Assad and use the U.S. military as a last resort in agreement with the policy of the Obama administration, which makes one wonder where to draw the difference between him and the President on the issue of Syria. On Iran, Romney focused his attack on the Obama administration saying the nation has moved “four years closer” to its intention to own nuclear arsenal, because the President is slow on a strategy that would deter the Islamic nation’s nuclear ambition.
In response, Mr. Obama said as he had done in the past that Iran would not acquire a nuclear weapon while he is in office as U.S. President. He dubbed Mr. Romney’s foreign policy as that which lacked understanding of how things work and as one not good for America’s standing in the global arena. “When it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s, he said.
No doubt the debate revealed the candidates experiences on foreign policy issues. Mr. Romney may have failed to convince America his policy is good for the nation. At a point he could be seen sweating, meaning he was under stress from the attack by the incumbent, who was able to make the case for his foreign policies. Whether some will see the difference in both candidates remains unknown but, Mr. Obama may have scored himself points for a second term in office.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E.JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Murder of Diplomacy’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a new fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.