George Graham

What Could I Possibly Learn from Tonight’s Debate?

The airwaves are atwitter about tonight’s foreign policy debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But I can’t imagine why. If there are any American voters left who don’t already know what the two presidential candidates will say, I doubt they would be able to find their way to the right polling station next month.

Romney will be his unlovable, bullying self, cussin’ out the president for letting terrorists kill Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other Americans at the Benghazi Embassy. He will suggest the president shamefully tried to dodge the blame at first by saying the attack was the work of a mob incited by an anti-Mohamed video. And he will conclude that the incident shows Obama’s foreign policy is “unraveling.”

President Obama will remind us that he got Osama bin Laden.

I don’t see how the president can defend the intelligence failure that led to the four Benghazi deaths. It was an oops for sure. And I bet he is as mad about it as anyone. He will do everything he can to get the terrorists responsible and guard against anything like that happening in the future.

That’s what you would do. That’s what I would do. That’s all Romney could do.

But that one intelligence breakdown does not mean the Obama Administration’s foreign policy is unraveling.

Think of all the plots thwarted during the Obama presidency. Think of all the terrorists eliminated. Think of how much Al-Qaida has been weakened.

Think of how deftly Hillary Clinton has crafted alliances and deflected threatening situations as secretary of state.

As someone on TV said yesterday, it’s a dangerous world out there, and sometimes tragic things happen. The Obama administration has done a good job defending America, but as the Benghazi tragedy shows, it has not been a perfect job.

Would a Romney administration have done any better?

I doubt that very much.

All I hear from Romney and Paul Ryan is a lot of swagger without a glimmer of statesmanship.

Neither has a clue about foreign policy. And they’ve surrounded themselves with the Dr. Strangelove types who talked America into Iraq.

Anything Romney has to say tonight will be a talking point he learned by heart like a catechism script. Remember how Ryan recited his set pieces in the debate against Joe Biden?

They get those “zingers” from public relations professionals who test them on focus groups.

If elected, Romney would be led by the nose into who knows what kind of foreign adventures. He might bomb Iran. He might invade Syria.

He certanly talks as if that’s what he would like to do.

I don’t see any reason to tune in to tonight’s debate.

But I know I probably will.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for