Philip Bobbitt and John Danforth Pose the Questions of Security to the Two Presidential Campaigns

Philip Bobbitt and John Danforth Pose the Questions of Security to the Two Presidential Campaigns

Over at the New York Times opinion page (but alas behind The Wall), Philip Bobbitt and John Danforth argue that

with respect to national security, neither campaign has articulated the fundamental points of view that will allow people to make an informed choice in November … Here, then, on the anniversary of 9/11 … are a dozen questions we would like to see them address.

It is a very good list, I think.  Here are a couple of them (in all of them, note, I am excerpting and shrinking – see the original for full context):

1.  Would you launch large-scale armed attacks against terrorists in Pakistan if the new government there is unwilling – or unable – to suppress these groups and refuses to give United States forces permission to act?

2.  Are you prepared to announce the rules for American intervention for humanitarian purposes and, if so, what would those rules be … should the United States defer to the United Nations … even when they are deadlocked and unable to act?

3.  How long should American troops remain in Iraq … should the United States withdraw according to a predetermined timetable, even if the consequences appear dire for Iraq?

5.  Is it sensible to speak of a “war” on terror, or is this a struggle that should be principally handled by law enforcement?

7.  What if anything should the United States do to further trade negotiations after the collapse of the Doha round in Geneva?

11.  The overseas aid budgets of most countries, including the United States, are far below the United Nations Millennium Development Goals’ target of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product.  Would you favor greatly increasing this aid to meet those levels or would you, instead, try to wean Africa off direct aid in favor of using these funds to spur investment in the region?

I think it is a pretty sensible list of questions, limited to a round dozen.  I would love to have the answers for each candidate in front of me and, as Bobbitt and Danforth note, time is running out on getting answers.

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