Third Debate: Questions That Need Answers

As unfortunate as the domestic policies of President Obama have been for the American people, his foreign policy has been worse.

Under Obama, allies of the United States have grown wary of America, and our enemies have been emboldened.  For his part, Obama has effectively run from his policies.  Obama’s refusal to stand before the press to answer questions has prompted veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler to wonder if Obama has “effectively abolished the press conference.”  The left-leaning Huffington Post even ran an article titled “Will Obama Hold Another Press Conference?”

Failed policy and unanswered questions should take center stage at the third and final Presidential debate being conducted tonight. Since Obama has a foreign policy record, while Romney does not, the bulk of tonight’s questions should focus on existing policy as managed by Obama.  Therefore, here are questions moderator Bob Scheiffer of CBS should ask President Obama.

  • Mr. Obama, when you told Russian President Dimitri Medvedev to give you “space” until you had more “flexibility” after the November election what specifically did you mean?  Do you believe your policies would be so unpopular with the American people that you think it best to keep plans secret until after they vote?  How does this action measure against your oft-stated claims of greater transparency?
  • Mr. President, since your heralded “reset” with Russia, that nation has abandoned the Nunn-Lugar treaty to safeguard nuclear and chemical weapons, Moscow dismissed and banned the U.S. Agency for International Development, and obstructed international relief efforts in war-torn Syria at the behest of the Assad regime.  To demonstrate your desire for “reset” you denied our Polish allies an anti-ballistic missile defensive system they had been promised, prompting Polish President Komorowski to accuse America of “betrayal.”  Given the high cost of an unrequited “reset,” do you regret this policy?
  • Regarding China, human rights issues remain as prominent as economic issues, and the two are increasing intertwined.  Several American companies have customized and sold technological assets to Beijing that allow the Chinese government to monitor the behavior of its people and control the information available to them.  Please clarify the position of your administration on Chinese censorship, domestic spying, and the rights of private companies to aid and abet these practices?
  • Earlier this year Chinese dissident and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng sought shelter at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.  Six days later he was – in his words – pressured to leave the embassy and returned to Chinese authorities.  Weeks later he was granted passage to America where he remains today.  Why was Chen first returned to the Chinese, and what role did your administration have in securing his release?  What conditions were attached to his release?
  • Remaining on China and human rights, the Christian Science Monitor snapped a photo in 2010 of the Dalai Lama being ushered out of a back door of the White House, past a considerable pile of bagged trash.  Critics accused you of attempting to hide Tibet’s spiritual leader lest you offend China.  To date, you have not responded to this criticism other than through an official spokesman who dishonestly claimed that the Dalai Lama walked through the Palm Room doors, where most distinguished guests depart.  Mr. President, please take this opportunity to address your administrations treatment of the Dalai Lama.
  • Mr. Obama, some of America’s most strident enemies – Venezeula’s Hugo Chavez, the Castro brothers of Cuba, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin – have publicly stated their hopes that you are re-elected.  Please address why you think these men prefer you over your Republican opponent.
  • During the 2008 Presidential campaign you were unrelenting in your attacks on the security policy of President George W. Bush, including, use of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, use of American troops in the Middle-East, use of drone strikes and their potential impact on civilians in war zones, and the PATRIOT Act.  As President you have not only reversed your position on each of these matters, but now must claim ownership of policies that have directly led to the loss of American lives.  Do you owe President Bush an apology?
  • Mr. President, you have faced sharp criticism – mostly from the Left – over your use of a “kill list.”  Critics claim that you are acting as judge, jury, and executioner of specific individuals.  Katrina vanden Heuval of the leftwing Nation claims your use of the kill list is evidence of unrestricted Presidential power.  Others note that you are in fact ordering assassinations, without outside scrutiny and in defiance of longstanding U.S. prohibitions.  Is it appropriate for a President to maintain and use a kill list?
  • Mr. President, let us talk of the Arab Spring generally and the terror attack in Benghazi specifically.  Your assertion in the second Presidential debate, that your administration has consistently treated the Benghazi attacks as acts of terrorism has since been proven false.  Can you address the conflicting reports emanating from your administration about the attacks, including why they existing and what can be done to ensure accurate information in the future?
  • As a follow up, from what Republican critics have called a “global apology tour,” to your well-documented penchant to bowing before foreign potentates, to changing stances to events in Egypt and Syria, what would you do different in presenting a consistent and strong American policy in the Middle East?
  • Mr. President, your opponent has charged you with seeking “daylight” between American and one of our most significant military allies, Israel.  Please respond to this charge.
  • At the nuclear summit in Seoul, Mr. President, you stated, that “the security of the world depends on the actions we take.”  As you said this, North Korea and Iran continued racing towards nuclear weapons capacity.  What are the actions you suggest for the world, and what actions can American take independently, to deny the nuclear ambitions of these two dangerous nations?
  • Describe your historical and current understanding of what Winston Churchill called the “special relationship” between American and the United Kingdom?
  • Finally Mr. President, let us revisit a question posed early in your term.  Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?  If so, how do you define American Exceptionalism?
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