Foreign Policy must not be forgotten

Issues abroad need to be considered in our election decision.

by Hemang Sharma

With the first presidential debate in the books, we saw the domestic issues of the economy, health care and the role of government covered. As important as it is for both candidates to address these issues, foreign policy cannot and should not be neglected.

Pakistan continues to descend into chaos. What with its continuously volatile political structure, a population with increasingly anti-American sentiments over U.S. forces’ fight against the Taliban — who have their eyes on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Alarming trends, such as an intensifying arms race with India and an unlikely apprenticeship with China are both developing. Pakistan’s role as an official U.S. ally must be clearly defined.

Afghanistan is deteriorating; public executions and attacks on U.S. bases keep adding to the turmoil. Both President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whoever the next commander-in-chief is, should be assertive and tell Kabul that the game they are playing with the U.S. isn’t working anymore. Afghan leaders need to make a choice whether they want an ethical government, or see itself haunted by another Taliban regime. All U.S. aid must be clearly negotiated with both Afghanistan and Pakistan. These nations must be careful to not let their democratic aspirations get hijacked by religious extremism.

Iran should be debated with intellectual honesty and realism, keeping U.S. interests in mind, while being careful not to be imperialistic. The pressing issue of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambition hasn’t yielded any results, yet their existence calls for action. Threatening them openly with a military action, as Romney has on many occasions, is becoming more likely by the day, instead of a simple nuclear proliferation.

The U.S. must not support any irrational decisions that may lead to a war. While important issues have taken center stage, we have lost interest in what is happening around the world. How we respond to these events, however, will be the responsibility of our next commander-in-chief.