News Release

Will There Be Any Meaningful Foreign Policy Debate?


Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, Zunes said today: “It is ironic that the John McCain [campaign] has used the financial crisis as an excuse to call for postponing the foreign policy debate in Oxford, given that the enormous deficit spending resulting from the Iraq war and related excesses in military spending which he has supported has so greatly exacerbated the crisis. There are important issues to be addressed, such as: Why did McCain falsely claim that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in justifying his support for the invasion, when in fact they had rid themselves of such weapons years earlier? Why, if WMDs were really the reason as he claimed, didn’t he call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces once it became apparent there weren’t any? Why has he continued to support the U.S. occupation ever since? Why did he claim that Iran was training Al-Qaeda forces to fight in Iraq when Al-Qaeda-aligned forces in Iraq are fanatically anti-Iranian and anti-Shia?

“Early in the primary season, Obama promised not just to end the war in Iraq, but to ‘end the mindset that led to the war in Iraq.’ More recently, however, Obama’s selection of Biden as his running mate and his rather hawkish foreign policy pronouncements have raised concerns as to whether he really is willing to take U.S. foreign policy in the bold new direction most Democratic voters are demanding.”

Zunes has written extensively about the foreign policies of both Obama and McCain and plans on doing an annotation of the debate.
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Naiman is senior policy analyst and national coordinator at Just Foreign Policy, which, along with other groups, is urging debate moderator Jim Lehrer to “ask the candidates what they intend to do to end Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories, which the U.S. government has long acknowledged is a key stumbling block to peace.”

Naiman also notes the group One has stated: “Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates — a shockingly low figure. In 2008, voters need to know what Barack Obama and John McCain will do to end the most extreme suffering in our increasingly interconnected world.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167