The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Mehdi Hasan Headshot

10 Foreign Policy Questions For Obama And Romney Tonight

Posted: Updated:

Far be it from me to try and give Bob Schieffer, veteran CBS anchor and moderator of tonight's third and final presidential debate, some advice on how to interrogate Messrs Obama and Romney on the subject of foreign policy.

Nonetheless, given how hawkish both men will try and be, I couldn't resist putting together a list of ten questions - five for each candidate - that I would ask if I were moderating the debate in Boca Raton, Florida, this evening.

For Barack Obama:

1) In 2007, while running for president, you said that "the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." How then, under US law, do you justify your decision to use military force, without Congressional approval, against Colonel Gaddafi's Libya in 2011?

2) Your aides told the New York Times in May that every Tuesday you hold a meeting in which you pore "over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre 'baseball cards'" and then insist on "approving every new name on an expanding 'kill list'", including US citizens, such as Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, both of whom you had killed via drone strike. How do you justify that, both legally and morally? Whatever happened to due process?

3) Since becoming president, you have ordered five times as many drone strikes as George W. Bush. But what do you say to those experts, in the fields of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, who say such strikes breed more terrorists than they kill?

4) You proudly proclaimed, in your recent convention speech: "Four years ago I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did." But isn't it true that you tried to keep 3,000 US combat troops in Iraq beyond the formal December 2011 withdrawal date but the Iraqi government wouldn't let you do so?

5) Having praised and welcomed the 'Arab Spring', why then has your administration continued to sell arms to Bahrain, where authorities have been accused of using disproportionate violence and torture against peaceful protesters?

For Mitt Romney:

1) You have said that re-electing Obama will result in the Iranians acquiring nuclear weapons. Do you therefore disagree with the consensus view of 16 US intelligence agencies that Iran isn't building a nuclear weapon and that it hasn't yet decided whether or not it even wants nukes? Do you disagree with defence secretary Leon Panetta and director of national intelligence James Clapper, both of whom have said the same in public?

2) In the second presidential debate, you tried to distance yourself from former president George W. Bush. But isn't it true that 17 of your 24 special advisers on foreign policy served in the Bush-Cheney administration?

3) You said in July that the reason the Israeli economy has outpaced that of the Palestinian territories is down to a different "culture". Aren't those remarks racist and don't they ignore the role played by the $3bn in foreign aid that the US gives Israel each and every year?

4) You criticized the Obama administration for withdrawing the last batch of US combat troops from Iraq late last year. So, if you were President, would you send US military personnel back into Iraq? Would you re-invade?

5) You have described former vice-president Dick Cheney as a "person of wisdom and judgement". How so?