On the Unpopularity of Republican Foreign Policy in a Debate by M. Pitter


After the first debate, after President Obama’s slip from and Governor Romney’s pivot into appeal, this second debate would further shape the American people’s opinion on which is the most eligible political party to occupy The Office in November. Critics strewn all over the media web devoured the showdown between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden. Since the victor of the last debate was decided largely over appearance, demeanor and delivery, the same criteria would apply here. Of course, both candidates were highly conscious of this and so they made sure to remain erect in the ways they knew how. While Joe Biden would unleash his smile every now and then, he would pull the discourse into his corner, to sort out misconceptions, to ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ as if he were three-fourths of the way through a pint of Budweiser, wide-eyed, unblinking, leaning forward. And everybody likes Budweiser. Paul Ryan, the good, vigilant Catholic alter boy, had come prepared with his pencil, his eraser, his ruler, his protractor, but then there arrived moments where he lost connection with the country’s needs. This happened specifically and profoundly when he presented his ideas on foreign policy among others. In this debate, Paul Ryan was less of a chameleon than Governor Mitt Romney was in the first debate who was able to save himself, not the Republican party, but himself from slipping out of popularity through refracting the truth. Therefore, Ryan presented and supported the ideals of his party, defending ideas and plans that were deemed unpopular by many Americans before this campaign even started.

So…WHO WON?!

Everyone wanted to know. Their mom, their friend, their uncle, their barber. In the words of Joe Biden: “Let’s all calm down a little bit here.” Letting the style, the demeanor, the ideals of one man or another man overshadow those of the American people would be a clear mistake. The winner is he who would best manage and nurture the greatness of Americans. Such an agenda would require the localization of the government’s efforts within American. Yes? No?

How appealing does continued War in Afghanistan, a military strike in Iran and, if necessary, a US intervention in Syria sound? Really. Congressman Paul Ryan said it off-the-bat that “we can’t project weakness abroad”, at all costs seemingly. He doesn’t intend to slice anything from our very chubby defense/war budget because it would project weakness. America would merely appear weak. This is what caused the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi according to Paul Ryan. Biden said that this conclusion was “a bunch of malarkey”. Another point made by Ryan on foreign policy that could fall within the classification of “malarkey” was his reasoning that to prevent war with Iran, a country supposedly becoming more nuclear by the millisecond, would require a proactive US military strike. Ryan also believes that intervening in the Syrian civil war would “be in the national security interest of the American people” as would any move to intervene in a remote conflict. Finally, with regards to the War in Afghanistan, Ryan said that the US shouldn’t pull out so quickly, because “we don’t want to lose the gains that we’ve gotten.” All of his prospects in foreign policy have a high price. Would not this affinity that Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republican party have for warfare send the USA further into debt? Wouldn’t this affinity keep money out of education, research on clean energy and other aspects of American development that would manage and nurture the greatness of Americans? The average cost of an M1 tank, popularly used in US military campaigns, is 6-million-dollars. Continued warfare abroad, especially in Afghanistan, would require hundreds and maybe even thousands more of these M1 tanks.

Old Joe Biden seemed to tell Americans what they wanted to hear: “We are leaving in 2014. Period. In the process, we’re gunna be saving billions of dollars.” The prospect of saving money transcends party lines in these days of economic crisis. His statements on how it is the responsibility of the US-trained Afghan forces to protect their country from the Taliban could be extrapolated to other regions where American foreign policy could be potentially put into effect. Biden’s refrain from jumping to intervene in global conflicts for the good of American growth preserved him as favorable given the money and the lives that would be saved.

Congressman Paul Ryan’s strict allegiance to the Republic platform did not serve him too well. He was not agile enough to appear centrist, to remain in total favor. Being less crafty and wavering than Governor Romney helped to embolden the lines between the Republican ticket and the Democratic ticket, hence shaping the public opinion to settle on one side as it sort of had before.

Of course, both men are politicians who focus on making us all feel good. Really good. The means in this endeavor will not always justify the ends. Even if Joe Biden’s extremely wide smile may win the election for the Democratic party.

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