It Isn't JUST The Economy

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What global issues does the next president face?

What global issues does the next president face? Source: Laura Padgett hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Laura Padgett

So the economy isn't the only issue in this election, after all. And even when it is, pocketbook concerns touch on another area that underlies many voter's thinking... Foreign policy (the Venn diagram in my head links energy, the economy, China, Russia, Iraq, etc, etc, in a convoluted mix). And while opinions may differ on the specific steps involved, there's general agreement that the world facing the next administration come January will present unique challenges, and opportunities to redefine and enhance US power. Robert Kagan, in Foreign Affairs lays out his vision for the next president in what he calls "The September 12 Paradigm."

The United States and other democratic nations will need to take a more enlightened and generous view of their interests than they did even during the Cold War. The United States, as the strongest democracy, should not oppose but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty. It has little to fear and much to gain in a world of expanding laws and norms based on liberal ideals and designed to protect them. At the same time, the democracies of Asia and Europe need to rediscover that progress toward this more perfect liberal order depends not only on law and popular will but also on powerful nations that can support and defend it.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, also in Foreign Affairs calls what the next president faces, "a daunting agenda," but says:

The United States is not a helpless giant tossed on the seas of history. It is still the most powerful nation on earth, and within certain limits, it can still shape its own destiny and play the leading role in a multipolar world. It can still take the helm in addressing the world's most pressing problems (as President Bush did effectively on only one issue, AIDS). There are many issues waiting for inspired and, yes, noble U.S. leadership, backed up by enlightened U.S. generosity that is also in the United States' own interest. The United States is still great. It deserves leadership worthy of its people, leadership that will restore the nation's pride and sense of purpose. That task must begin at home, but the world will be watching and waiting.

We'll hear a lot in the next two weeks about pocketbook issues, the finances of candidates and whether they can relate to the average Joe, and of course that "it's the economy stupid." But with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russian troops in Georgia, China's economy exploding, Iran's nuclear ambitions unclear, middle east peace in question, and the global war on terror ongoing, issues of national security and foreign policy can't be overlooked.

As a voter, what do you think should be the top priority for the next administration?



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A lot of attention has been paid of late to the conflict between Russia, Georgia, and other surrounding countries.

I feel that one great truth that should guide policy is that "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it."

I wonder if anyone else sees a parallel between modern Russia and post WWI Germany. World War I ended with an armistice, not a surrender. Germany was not demilitarized, but was instead was beaten into submission and ended up feeling, in a nationalistic sense, humiliated. In the ensuing 15 years, the economy was rebuilt to a point where the frustrations that carried over from the first war led to the rise of Hitler, and the acceptance of humanitarian atrocities and invasion of neighboring countries to rebuilt Germany's reputation as a world power.

The cold war, as embodied by the existence of the Soviet Union, ended around 1991. We now stand 17 years later and Russia has rebuilt strength around rhetoric that focuses on not allowing neighboring countries to shame Russia, threatening countries that used to be part of the USSR.

Many differences exist between WWI and the cold war, and there are, thankfully, many differences between the modern Russian government and the facist German government of the 1930's.

Does this appear to be a valid observation, and what can be suggested to counteract this type of aggression as we move forward?

Sent by Nick | 2:40 PM | 8-25-2008

I find it interesting that when asked the question, what if Obama loses the election, your guest responds that it has to be racial and Jim Crow and slavery. On the one hand, they want to only base the election on character and ability but on the other, let's blame the color of skin if he loses. Perhaps it speaks to character and ability and not race if he loses as well.

Sent by Sue | 2:57 PM | 8-25-2008

Will it not be a slap in the faces of the U.S. servicemen who died in Iraq if Obama just pulls them out within 18mos. with no regard for the consequenses or the progress? Does anybody else see an emboldened and gleeful nuclear Iran lurking around?

Sent by MO | 3:22 PM | 8-25-2008

Top priority is to reduce our immigration rates. Our high population growth is impacting our economy and environment. The concept of stabilizing US population growth must be addressed on a national level.

Sent by kerthialfad | 8:13 AM | 8-26-2008


I hear your point, but I believe it is a bit presumptive. Obama believes that pulling troops out of Iraq is the right move for the US as a country. The soldiers who have been injured and lost their lives in Iraq will not be forgotten. In fact, if it turns out the be the right move, it may help the families of those suffering.

Imagine if staying is the wrong move and our young men and women continue to die for a cause that has no end in sight.

Sent by PoliticalHick | 1:37 PM | 8-26-2008

Overturn Executive Order 13166. More support needed for the English language. Not that all people should not be allowed to speak any language they want, but public funds should only be spend on English. Hospital translations should be done on the patient's nickel, and multi-lingual ballots should be discontinued. We have a single common language (unlike Belgium, Canada, Ireland, etc.), let's make use of it.

Sent by Dan Benedict | 2:53 PM | 8-26-2008