What role does foreign policy play in your choice of presidential candidates?

Before the recent attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad, foreign policy seemed to hold a low profile in the current presidential campaign. Today’s Question: What role does foreign policy play in your choice of presidential candidates?

  • Inlakesh

    A temporary and provisional one. “Foreign” will someday be “family and friend”, indeed, another “ourselves”.

    “Be very careful about locating good or God, right or wrong, legal or illegal, at your favorite level of consciousness.” – Timothy Leary

    “May we awaken within this dream and grasp the fact that we are dreaming so that all dreamlike beings may likewise awaken from the nightmare of illusory suffering and confusion.”

    * Tibetan Dream Yoga Prayer

  • Kurt

    I miss Reagan and Clinton. I want a foreign policy where our friends (Israel, Egypt) know we have their back. The current administration has contempt for the former and threw Mubarak under the bus. Now we have the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t want “Nation building” either. The reason for going into Afghanistan was to capture or kill bin Laden. He’s dead. Wrap it up. I want specifics from a candidate.

  • Gary F

    Foreign policy/world view makes a big difference.

    We currently have a President that doesn’t like the United States to be a world leader both politically or economically.

  • Emery

    Voters may not greatly care. Massacres in Syria, even the killing of a fine diplomat, matter less than this election’s defining argument, about the economy. But the winner will face foreign policy crises from day one. Then the time for talk will be over.

    Tim Pawlenty was right, ‘being foundationally and philosophically sound is just as important as having experience’, and perhaps more so. That’s why I’m voting for Barack Obama.

  • linda

    After Mr. Romney’s performance this past few days, I would say it has become very important. He doesn’t have what it takes.

  • John

    Both candidates have made it clear they are slaves to Israel. They both will go to war for Israel against Iran, and continue to pass laws supporting Israel. Why? Follow the money.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Foreign policy is at least as important to me as economic policy, but absent some international crisis it doesn’t appear on most folks’ radar. Americans need to remember that we’re all part of one humanity.

  • Austin

    MPR, you go in cycles. After elections, your reporting is generally fair and balanced but leading up to elections, you only bring up issues that you think the fervent left will have better arguments for and the questions on here are always posed in a way to promote a particular side. That side is pretty obvious. Just asking a question is not an objective endeavor. It’s the kind of questions you ask to both sides that make it objective. I consistently feel like these questions on here are written by college interns with “Hope” and “Change” buttons on their backpacks.

    And in answer to your implied question, no, Barack Obama is not the better candidate because he has foreign policy experience. Don’t forget that he had none to begin with (he barely had experience outside his immediate locale). Not to mention his track record of foreign policy is lackluster. Despite his attempts to restart relations with China and Russia, both countries still begrudge us and nothing has changed. The Middle East is still chanting “Death to the Great Satan” and burning our flags. Our NATO allies are no longer our biggest cheerleaders. Israel is not amused by getting snubbed for campaigning. The Eurozone blames us for their problems (asinine and not Obama’s fault). So, even though people lambasted GW’s foreign policy, genuinely not much has changed. And one can look at the track record and say things have gotten worse. One of the things Wikileaks taught us is that a lot of Middle Eastern countries were genuinely terrified that we would invade them after we invaded Iraq. As such, they curbed a lot of their inflammatory rhetoric. This Libya and Egypt mess should show that people around the world aren’t worried about our big stick, they know we are just walking softly.

  • Sue de Nim

    Foreign policy should be a key issue. I want the cornerstone of our foreing policy to be making more friends than enemies.

  • Leonard

    Foreign policy is critical to independents. Obama has no clear policy; e.g. He states this week that Egypt is NOT our ally and then his own state dept says the opposite. Is Israel our ally or not? He snubs them every time. He whispers to Russia’s leader, ” I’ll have more flexibility ( to work with you) after the election.” Good lord, our PRESIDENT did say that at a time when Russia is preventing strong actions against mass murderering Syria, while children are butchered, our leader Leads from behind relying upon a failed UN. Check his record when he was in Congress and all we see are his votes of ” Present” 95% of each vote where he could have led and take a stand.

    Obama had ZERO leadership experience when he took office and it shows. The Middle East is as bad if not worse than it was in 2009. The day of the consulate killings, Obama was again absent from the intelligence briefings. he has missed more than half of all of these meetings while he chooses to campaign and vacation because he must think he is so smart that a simple reading of the briefs are sufficient to understand the complex issues..arrogance in office without a clue leads to crisis…just as we are seeing this week!

    He had years to get America to make new refineries, to pass the pipeline building..in short to make us less dependent..he failed and the result again is higher prices for fuel and food. I will never vote again for anyone with no real life experience ir that is non vetted by the media. As ABC said in 2008, ” We really don’t know anything about Obama’s foreign policies or he is.” But Clinton said it well during the 2008 campaign speeches,

    ” Obama? Now that’s__ a fairy tale.” He was right.

  • Jim G

    Of course foreign policy matters in my decision for President. There are 7 billion people living on this planet, but only around 300 million live in the United States. How we as a nation interact with the rest of world is vital to our economic success. I look at the recent past history of Bush II’s administration when neocons where driving the ship of State as an indicator of what would transpire if the wrong man is elected. I don’t want to repeat that scale of massive ineptitude. Those neocons are still around just waiting to be reborn if Romney wins. That’s very scary.

  • Leonard

    Foreign policy is one critical area that most Americans have no clue. Many see Obama as a great leader yet fail to look at the details of his failed policies. Is it the fault of citizens to be so misguided? Or is it the main street media responsible for avoiding these facts in order to bolster the Left and Obama?

    Look at the top story on MPR news;” With protests at U.S. embassies and four Americans dead, Mitt Romney is suddenly facing a campaign focused on a foreign policy crisis he gambled wouldn’t happen.” Any bias there in their statement? Notice it doesn’t say, ” Is Obama’s foreign policy working, with his lets be friends with all approach or Obama is facing a campaign with crisis in the middle east that he gambled wouldn’t happen after supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Spring or__ did Obama’s policy of having his administration and himslef, baost of killing Bin laden fuel more unrest and anti-american sentiment in the middle east?” Nope, not according to the media;;;;it all started from an obscure trailer for a cheap film, not that they knew the attacks were coming 48 hrs beforehand and did nothing!!!! The deaths of our former Seals and Ambassador is on their hands, not some obscure dumb film maker.

    What will it take for America to see the ineptitude of Obama’s policies? Another holocaust at the hands of Iran because he leads from behind and does little? Where was he when Iranians first protested years a go and asked Obama for their support? Obama said he didn’t want to get involved..wow, that’s leadership of the free world? And Minnesotans wonder why America is viewed as a failing country over the past 4 years?

    Foreign policy is critical when choosing our next leader. He can’t even get Senate leader Harry Reid to demand a vote on 23 job bills passed in the House, yet stays silent as Reid says the Senate will do nothing until after the election. The Dems are truly a DO NOTHING group over the past 4 years.

  • Leonard

    How important is this question on MPR?

    MPR’s Daily Circuit program, as we speak, is all surrounded by guest speakers that are far left Obama supporters, as usual. Why doesn’t MPR invite a conservative to share their views on foreign policy? Why don’t we discuss how Obama’s policies are haphazard where even his own administration can’t agree on who our allies are. One says Egypt is our ally, the other says no they are not. He has missed 34% of all Intelligence briefings since 2008 yet the media ignores that fact while choosing to discuss Obama’s campaign rhetoric.

  • Larry M.

    Usually I am more interested in domestic affairs, but being more peace oriented, as opposed to war orientated, tends to go the with the candidates I support.

    With that said, this election cycle I think foreign policy gaffs and antiquated cold war statements by Mitt Romney has already disqualified him from consideration for the presidency.

  • GregX

    Over the last 20 years American business and governmental leaders have brow beat us with the “global market competition” we are in for everything from taxes to education to welfare to investment and immigration. Our global supply chain linked markets spasm everytime some event hits Asia or South America or Africa or Europe or North America. Foreign policy is no longer some quaint nation to nation agreement. We are undergoing an essential reconstruction from nations operating independently at large distances to instant neighbors on the global electronic media. Your choice is foreign policy or constant and highly expensivie military intervention. We already can’t afford that on our budget – and if China and India match us by %-age of economy … we’ve already lost. Foreign Policy it is.

  • Leonard

    Foreign policy affects everything from our home safety to our foreign consulates and embassies, to our economic stability.

    Obama’s policies have failed on all accounts, the numbers don’t lie. His foreign policies has not stopped fuel prices going from $1.86 to today’s $4.01 a gallon, or milk and other food prices affected by corn ( 64% of corn used to make wasteful ethanol blended gasoline) Can we eat ethanol fuel? no. E-85 fuel averages 40% LESS mileage than traditional gasoline. Can poor [people afford higher food prices as a result? no.

    Does America want a foreign policy built upon Obama’s rebuking of made up- non existent threats from anyone who disagrees with him? Class warfare and so called war on women is a ruse he uses to support part of his haphazard foreign policy, i.e., he defers to a corrupt United nations that bows to Russia and China. Why did Syria mass slaughter their own women and children? Because the USA has no clout to have Russia and China vote to stop Syria’s actions, they couldn’t stop it by severe sanctions and other means because our own foreign policy is a sham and an excuse to be liked by dictators and Islamic radicals.

  • RandyK

    As a frequent international traveler, a military retiree, and having been married to a German for 25 years, I have spent a good deal of time overseas. Accordingly, I am keenly aware of international perception of the U.S. and, as such, foreign policy is a key attribute that I look for during a presidential election. I think too may Americans are oblivious to or simply ignore international reaction to U.S. foreign policy which itself is often perceived as exceptionally arrogant outside of our borders. There is a huge difference between being a world power and being a world leader …

  • GregX

    jockamo – man… you are one classic anecdote.

  • Mary

    Foreign policy is one of the most important issues I pay attention to when choosing a President. I want to choose someone the rest of the world respects. We have such an insular view of our country and people don’t often take a look at how the rest of the world sees us. It is incredibly important. If you have ever traveled over-seas, you know it doesn’t take very long for people to let you know exactly what they think of our President and they hold the American people responsible for his foreign policy. It can be a down right scary situation.

  • jockamo

    Eric Ringham:

    If you are going to pull posts that are slightly critical of Obama, etc., then be a man and state your discriminatory practices and your blatant intolerance at the top of this page.

    Something like:

    Notice to all Posters on This Board:

    Feel free to post your political ideas here. That is, of course, as long as your ideas are the same as mine, to wit, extreme Liberalism. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT post anything here that is critical of Obama, Biden, Clinton, Franken, Ellison, Dayton, or any other Democrat, past or present, as we are Liberals here, and being Liberals we are too weak-minded to compete in the arena of ideas, but neither will we allow anyone to prove it, as our feelings are easily bruised, and our bullying cannot stand anyone putting us in our place.

    Even though we take tens of millions of Taxpayer dollars every year, we feel no obligation whatsoever to allow Conservative opinions to be posted here. Or our Democrat heros to be held accountable for what they do. We will not be fair and balanced in any way. We are a propaganda arm of the Democrat Party, but we think we can get away with taking money from all Americans by government force, and then allow only Americans who think like us to post on our site. If you don’t like our bullying thought-police behavior, sue us.

    Hmmmmm, there’s an idea.


  • Snaab

    Foreign policy is right up their with regard to importance for a candidate. I remember Bush(the younger) had not even traveled abroad before he stole the Presidency, how about that. He had never even left the county- that is some stellar substantive accomplishment huh. It certainly made for some strong foreign policy successes however, like Mission Accomplished.

    Hey Leonard,

    Do you just complain about MPR, or are you a member. My guess is that you are just a moocher. How does that feel to live life as a mooch? Just wondering. Maybe you could step up and join, but that would probably just rock your extreme world view. You know, the one where you just mooch and not take part in the society.

    If MPR did not exist, where would you and the jockaidiot go to blow off steam?

  • Sean

    It is the most important factor. POTUS has command of the most powerful military in history, including nuclear weapons set to launch on short notice.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Leonard, you seem to be saying it’s Obama’s fault that our embassies are being attacked. That’s a bit of a stretch, I think.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I didn’t see your earlier post before it got removed, jockamoo/georges, but it’s clear from the ones that are left up that merely being critical of Obama, et al., is not sufficient to get a post deleted. As for what you perceive as bullying, are you the pot or the kettle?

  • GregX

    I’m voting for the name -Jock-pot-amo! later to be matriculated to Crock-Pot-Amo.

  • jockamo

    Let’s see now……..

    Some muslims see a movie they don’t particularly care for.

    Obama apologizes for the movie.

    So, the muslims go down to the embassy and burn our flag.

    Obama apologizes some more.

    The muslims think, Wow, this guy is really easy. Wonder if we can get by with killing the Ambassador. And some others, for good measure.

    Obama apologizes some more. So does Clinton.

    The muslims think, Wowwie, these two cannot do anything. What yokels. I bet they will still give us billions of dollars every year, just like always. Lets start riots. Maybe they will give us even more money.

    And so it goes……………..

  • David Poretti

    So much for civil discourse and a reasoned sharing of thoughts and ideas on the issues. Sadly, this forum has become a 3rd grader’s playground shouting match, with a bully dominating the “conversation”.

  • David Poretti

    Expecting our Presidential candidates to have expertise in foreign policy is a Catch-22. It is very difficult for a U.S. Congress-person to get elected, because they are a “Washington Insider” and their voting record gets so twisted by their opponents in the campaign.

    A Governor does not carry the baggage of being a “Washington Insider” or their Congressional voting record, but also has no foreign policy experience.

    The roster of the President’s team of advisers is more important than the President’s expertise in any particular field.

  • Morris G.

    MPR: Set some rules on posting. This was supposed to be for anyone to express their views on the day’s question, in that some may be shared on the air. Steve the Cynic and this attached post, are cyber bullying. This forum is not to be for between people arguing, is it?

    e.g., cyber bullying, name calling is allowed now?.

    “Hey Leonard,

    Do you just complain about MPR, or are you a member. My guess is that you are just a moocher. How does that feel to live life as a mooch? Just wondering. Maybe you could step up and join, but that would probably just rock your extreme world view. You know, the one where you just mooch and not take part in the society.

    If MPR did not exist, where would you and the jockaidiot go to blow off steam?

    Posted by Snaab | September 14, 2012 2:50 PM

  • Steve the Cynic

    No, Morris G., I’m trying to stand up to the bullies (e.g., jockamo/georges, and see the last few posts on the previous TQ).

  • RedWhite&Blue2012

    As a 36 year old Human Being living in the United States right now I do not think its too much to ask for a balance of Domestic and Foreign policy. Especially when the Vietnam War (OOOPS!!!! )

    I mean the war in Afghanistan and Iraq have been going on for over a decade now……God Bless America!!!

  • jockamo

    We knew when we elected him that he was out of his league.

    That he was not up to the job.

    We knew that speechifying on and on about hope and charity and the brotherhood of man was the realm of the pulpiteer, not the competent employee.

    So, knowing we were stuck for 4 years, we hoped and prayed that he would appoint advisors who knew what they were doing….and that he would listen to them, if and when a crisis appeared.

    And now, here is the crisis. And he is not to be found at the helm, doing his job, but, instead, is out spreading the new version of Hopium amongst the gullible, betting on the self-induced blindness of the worshippers to keep up the charade.

    If you vote in blissful ignorance, waking up is a series of painful cuts.

  • Rich

    America will be judged on what it does and what is says. It should:

    1. Encourage elections, respect the results if they are honest elections, and at least be polite to whoever wins.

    2. Encourage free press, freedom of religion, protection of minorities.

    3. Encourage the dismantling of the systems of monopolies and controls that benefit an elite at the expense of the general public. Too often when regimes change, one elite is replaced by another.

    4. Try to mediate between factions.

    5. Support Israel only when Israel faces direct existential threats. Criticize Israel for what it does wrong, including settlements and police state actions in the West Bank. Make no promises to take offensive actions to further Israel’s interests.

    6. Treat all democratic governments in the Middle East with the same consistent set of standards, be they made up of Sunnis, Shias, or Jews.

    7. Take better care of our diplomats. It’s going to be a rocky road.

  • Steve the Cynic

    But, Rich, wouldn’t it be hard to make being polite to whoever wins part of our foreign policy until we learn to do that among ourselves?

  • Rich

    That’s entirely too cynical. Yes, despots have kept a lid on tribal conflict for decades, so we’re going to see some acting out now that greater freedom prevails. But no, “those people” are not in the middle ages. That’s just bigoted nonsense. The great majority of Arabs want peace and security, jobs and prosperity, freedom to speak, worship, and conduct commerce. There is an educated middle class in each of these countries capable of running a modern government. There is a desire to support leaders who deliver order and prosperity while preserving rights and freedoms. Will each of these countries find its George Washington? Probably not, but some will. It is worth enduring the failures to see through the successes, because without reform the region gets a little worse every year, and only becomes a larger powder keg.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Sorry, Rich. Evidently I didn’t put my tongue in my cheek loudly enough for you to hear it. There was nothing I disagreed with in your post, but I was struck by the irony of your calling for politeness toward the winners of other countries’ elections, when so many have trouble being polite toward our own incumbent.

    And again, I’m not cynical. I’m a cynic. There’s a difference.

  • Rich

    You do know this is the internet, where you’ve chosen to share comments? It’s not the Algonquin round table.

    This should be more about the question and much less about you. ;^)

  • Wally

    What I think about the president and foreign policy is meaningless. Any candidate who doesn’t suck up to the Israel Lobby and promise more billions in aid to the Zionist Police State will be declared an anti-Semite and unelectable.