With tonight’s debate on foreign policy only hours away, I find that I’m not particularly satisfied with either candidate’s positions on many of the issues. While the last four years haven’t been an auspicious time for America in terms of our international standing and four more years of President Obama’s policies would almost certainly worsen that situation, I’m not sold that Mitt Romney has a clear and consistent foreign policy alternative to offer. I have a work meeting and won’t be able to watch the debate tonight. However, I do a few simple positions that I’d love to hear Romney take up.
The following would be my short but sweet approach to how the US should approach our relationships with other countries:
1. Don’t blow up our buildings or kill members of our military or civilians here or overseas. If you do, we will find you and kill you.
2. Leave our friends alone too. Don’t threaten to wipe them off the map. If you do attack them and they ask us for help, we will make your life miserable.
3. We like to drive our cars and don’t want to pay through the arm to do so. Don’t mess with our oil supply.
4. While we think it would be grand if you had free and fair elections and respected the rights of your citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, if you follow the first three steps listed above we really don’t care.
5. Let us trade with you. We’ll buy your stuff-a lot of it in fact-and we’d like to sell you ours too as long as your markets are open and the trade is free and fair. Understand that we’re going to have an interest in global trade and will do what we have to in order to protect shipping lanes (among other things) to allow it to flow.
This all essentially boils down to a version of live and let live. There are a few things that we really need from the rest of the world. Let us have those things and otherwise leave us alone and we will do the same.
I don’t expect to hear either candidate keep it this simple and concise tonight. However if they did, I think it would go a long way to convincing voters that their policies truly have Americas interests at heart.