The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Students, faculty dissect debate on foreign affairs
By , Staff Reporter
Published: October 24 2012
Middle Eastern affairs and issues regarding the international community set the stage as the third and final presidential debate took place on Monday night. Voters had the chance to hear President Barack Obama and former Mass. governor Mitt Romney tell-all on their foreign policies.
The Seattle Pacific Debate Team hosted the second “Vote Smart” event, where students had the ability to watch the candidates live from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. via CNN in the Weter Lounge.
History professors Dr. Bill Woodward and Dr. Don Holsinger joined Department Chair of Communication, Dr. Bill Purcell and University Scholar and political science major, Emma Wendt, in a discussion following the debate.
“This is one of the best debates I’ve seen in a while,” Purcell said. “There was a clear exchange of ideas, and they stayed on topic. It was helpful for us as consumers.”
The candidates were placed in a more intimate setting as both sat across a table from moderator Bob Schieffer.
Obama and Romney were more serious than in the past two debates, since they mainly talked about foreign policy--which encompasses several weighty issues.
The burning question of the night was the real story behind what happened in Libya and whether the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, and three other Americans, was an act of terrorism or merely circumstantial.
“I immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm’s way,” Obama said. “Number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened.”
“And number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed Americans and we would bring them to justice,” Obama said. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
The debate focused on the Middle East as time went on, starting with Libya and ending with Israel on whether the U.S. would intervene if Iran attacked Israel.
Obama and Romeny talked about America’s role in the international community. Romney said he firmly believes in peaceful principles.
“We can’t kill our way out of this mess,” Romney said, referring to the conflict in the Middle East, specifically Al-Qaeda.
“I was really surprised they left out the topic of North Korea,” said Wendt. “I think it will be playing a major role in the future.”
Purcell added his thoughts on North Korean foreign policy. “There used to be a map on campus that showed the world at night,” Purcell said. “If you were to look at North Korea, there are no lights - it is literally a black hole. Sooner or later, it’s going to implode on itself.”
“We need to find some point of connection,” said Purcell.
Unlike the previous debate, viewers only slightly critized moderator Bob Schieffer.
“I’m a little disappointed in Bob Schieffer,” said Holsinger. “There was too much discussion on the Middle East. There wasn’t enough variety.”
Many students said they were interested in how effect United Nations sanctions were on Iran.
Holsinger discussed this issue prominently, noting that there is the resentment of a double standard in the Iranian people.
“When the Bush Administration named Iran an ‘Axis of Evil,’ it created a missed opportunity,” he said. “We had a choice, and it [will] come back to haunt us.”
Holsinger said that many Iranian people feel frustrated that they can’t use nuclear power for energy purposes like other countries.
“It is going to take years, if not decades, to get back to where we were with Iran,” Holsinger said.
Closing the discussion, Purcell said what action he thought people needed to take--emphasizing the need for unity despite differences.
“There is a need to act publicly as we do privately,” he said. “We demonize neighbors as different – whether we be Republican or Democrat.”
We need [a type of] subtlety to get back to,” Purcell said.
On November 6, Americans will cast their vote to determine the next president of the United States.
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