23
Oct

The US faces many pressing issues in the near future. But none of them got much air time on Monday night in the debate between President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney. Instead, the two candidates appear stuck in the Bush worldview, and reveal a global power on the decline.

By Gregor Peter Schmitz

Obama’s best line was his claim that Romney didn’t understand the nature of a modern military. “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.”

Ed Luce, the sage Financial Times columnist, knows from his country’s own history all about the decline of global powers. A Briton who loves America, Luce has sought to provide the United States with well-meaning counsel, most recently in the form of a book with the whimsical title “Time to Start Thinking.” The tome is nothing less than a 320-page appeal to the US to finally face up to future strategic challenges inherent in a rapidly changing world order — so that America’s decline might remain but a horror scenario.

After the 90-minute-long foreign policy debate on Monday night between US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, several questions remain unanswered. One, however, has been cleared up: Neither Obama nor Romney have read Luce’s book.

The two contenders for what is likely the world’s most powerful office left little time for thinking — either for themselves or for the television audience. And they failed to adequately address the new challenges facing the wobbly global power America — climate change, for example, which was left unmentioned in presidential debates for the first time since 1984. Or the rise of Asia. Or even the lack of domestic investment in infrastructure and education.

Most of all, however, in the debate in Boca Raton they declined to discuss how they intend to address the country’s central foreign policy conundrum: Americans no longer want their country to be a global police force, but they still want to continue believing in American exceptionalism.

Trapped in Bush’s World

Instead, viewers were witness to a phenomenon that Luce had likewise predicted: Romney and Obama exchanged carefully prepared platitudes as though they were trapped in a world order created for them by White House predecessor George W. Bush.

The two adversaries talked about Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the broader Middle East. And they of course also engaged in the petty discussion as to who visited Israel or American troops abroad sooner. Read more…

Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz is a correspondent in the Washington office of DER SPIEGEL. He focuses primarily on the coverage for SPIEGEL ONLINE but also writes regularly for the magazine.

As published in http://www.spiegel.de/ on October 23, 2012.

Comments

rabaty August 31, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Recommeneded websites…

Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over…

Leave a Comment

*

We use both our own and third-party cookies to enhance our services and to offer you the content that most suits your preferences by analysing your browsing habits. Your continued use of the site means that you accept these cookies. You may change your settings and obtain more information here. Accept