And Now for a Word on Foreign Policy

Washington Matters

And Now for a Word on Foreign Policy

The first debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will be held this Friday evening and will focus on foreign policy, even as the rest of the world focuses on the economic crisis. The candidates will save that for their final debate.

In an effort to help moderator PBS's Jim Lehrer, we humbly offer four questions that we think go to the heart of their differences and address concerns that many Americans have.

1) Imagine you are president and the CIA reports evidence that Israel is about to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, even though you think a strike is premature. Would you try to talk Israel into waiting? If so, how far would you go and would that include threatening to withhold support and future aid?

2) If you are president and Russia decides that it can't abide by a missile defense base in Poland, a NATO member, and takes military action to destroy the site, what would be your response? If your response includes deploying military forces, where will you get them?


3) There's growing agreement that the U.S. needs to do more in Afghanistan. Do you favor a change in strategy in addition to more troops and if so, what would that be?

4a) For Barack Obama: Given the significant decline in violence in Iraq since the surge, will you acknowledge that you were wrong to oppose it and that McCain was right to support it? And what would you do if the violence suddenly increases when you start to withdraw U.S. troops?

4b) For John McCain: When Obama suggested the U.S. launch strikes in Pakistan against al Qaeda without Pakistani approval if necessary, you called him "naive." Now that President Bush has made this official U.S. policy, will you take back your criticism?

Have a question of your own? Please add it in the comment section. But remember this debate is limited to foreign policy.