Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:48 pm
President Obama and Mitt Romney haven't spent much time talking about world affairs on the campaign trail, yet foreign policy can often define a presidency. America's next leader faces tough choices that range from redefining the U.S. role in the Middle East to managing the crucial relationship with China.
With that in mind, let's look at the topics most likely to come up in tonight's foreign policy debate — the candidates' final faceoff — in Boca Raton, Fla., and how international issues will shape the next administration.
We've reached an important landmark in the presidential campaign: President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face off tonight in the third and final presidential debate.
As was the case the last two times, the debate starts at 9 p.m. ET. This time, the venue is Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
If you believe the snap polls, the first debate went to Romney, the second went to Obama, which means we have a 1-1 tie with just minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That is to say, we're just two weeks away from Nov. 6.
Now is the moment in the program when I admit that I am a total Star Wars nut. Those of you with me, you might recall that Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine enjoyed the warmth of not one but two suns. That dramatic scene, you remember Luke at dusk gazing at the weird peaceful sunset.
As we just heard, the candidates have already said a lot about foreign policy, but they have not necessarily addressed every question. Tom Ricks has been thinking about a subject that lurks somewhere beneath almost all discussions about global hotspots. Ricks has covered the U.S. military for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and in many books. His most recent work, "The Generals," examines top military officers in recent history and their grasp of strategy.
Steve Inskeep talks with David Ignatius of the Washington Post about his recent story on intelligence reports on the attack in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed, and initial CIA reports appear to support the Obama administration's narrative. Sharp questions about who knew what, when, will likely arise in Monday night's presidential debate.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
Tonight the presidential candidates meet for the final debate of this presidential election. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will be in Boca Raton, Florida. The event will focus on foreign policy, which was never expected to rival the economy as a major issue in this campaign. But foreign policy has played a bigger role than anticipated in recent weeks.
In Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy, President Obama and Mitt Romney will spar over China, covering everything from free trade to cyberattacks. But another topic — one that might not come up — is of growing concern: tensions in the waters off China itself.