“This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating,” George W. Bush was quoted saying in the New York Daily News in 2002. I thought of this little colloquialism as I watched the third presidential debate. I listened as Mr. Romney spoke of Syria being Iran’s only ally in the Middle East, but when he said, “Syria is Iran’s route to the sea,” I paused the debate and turned to my husband. “I guess your mom was mistaken when she said she wore bikini’s by the sea before the Islamic Revolution,” I said to him. But I guess Americans were simply supposed to know that the sea Mr. Romney was referring to was the Mediterranean. How, when only 1 in 10 Americans, ages 18-24, could point out Afghanistan on a map of Asia, according to a 2006 study in National Geographic, could Americans know what Romney’s implications were?
Alternating between news channels the morning after the debate, I paused on FOX news to watch Aaron David Miller, former Secretary of State advisor. I was shocked when he said of the debate that he found Governor Romney “presidential enough.” He went on the say that Romney, “had no mispronounced words, howlers, and he demonstrated that he knew the terrain relatively well.” I doubt that the Persian and Persian-Armenian community in Los Angeles would agree.
I’ve heard time and time again that the foreign policy debate is not a deciding factor among undecided voters, but if they have been following international news and were really listening to what Mr. Romney said, it absolutely should be. There have been rumors about a tumultuous relationship between President Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Just a few months ago, Mr. Netanyahu was making his rounds on American news outlets calling for President Obama to declare its “red line” that would cause the U.S. to go to war with Iran. President Obama has already drawn the line and has placed sanctions in order to prevent Iran from obtaining the necessities it needs to make a nuclear weapon.
What terrified me about the debate was Mitt Romney’s answer–if one can call it an answer–to Bob Schieffer’s question about what each candidate would do “if the Prime Minister of Israel called you on the phone and said, ‘Our bombers are on the way. We’re going to bomb Iran.’” Mr. Romney’s reply was, “Bob, let’s not go into hypothetical’s of that nature. Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the Prime Minister of Israel is such that we would not get a call…” And what exactly is Mitt Romney’s relationship with Mr. Netanyahu? The two became friends in 1976 when they were both hired as corporate advisors at the Boston Consulting Group. Now if, Romney doesn’t want any hypothetical questions because he would simply not receive such a call tells me that he and Mr. Netanyahu have discussed this matter, and at length. Romney is adamant that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon, is adamant that Iran is the biggest threat to American security. Who does this remind you of? Will we have another Iraq situation if Romney is elected? War is money for the top 1 percent, and disastrous for the rest of us. This is why foreign policy should be important to everyone, especially undecided voters because it undoubtedly affects our own economy. Not only will another potential war damage our economy, which is what I think Mr. Romney has in mind, it will be devastating for our veterans. Right now, we have more troops dying in the United States than we do overseas. The people that protect us every day have to come back to a country where they often can’t get a mental health appointment for 90 days. ObamaCare would help over 1 million veterans, but if Romney is elected, repeals ObamaCare and starts another war, how many more of our soldiers will die overseas? How many more will come back to the U.S. with PTSD and commit suicide because they didn’t receive the priority care they deserve? How many families will be left without a mom or a dad, son or daughter, brother or sister?
President Obama understands this and wants to avoid war at all costs even if it’s unpopular among his colleagues. I understand that many Americans can’t grasp the thought of foreign policy (I was one), when there are so many hardships in our own nation, but one thing Americans should ask themselves is if God forbid something like 9-11 happened again, who would you feel more comfortable with as president? A man that doesn’t really have a plan or any new ideas to contribute, a man that, seven months ago, called Russia our “number one geopolitical foe?” Do we want a man that “knows the terrain relatively well” and “looks presidential enough?” Or do we want a president that knows the terrain inside-out, a president that brought justice to our public enemy # 1, a president that is great, not just good enough?