America’s 2012 presidential election has so far generated more heat than light on foreign policy – angry sounding exchanges on “issues” such as the allegations of intelligence leaks by the Obama administration and Mitt Romney’s unforced errors on an overseas trip this summer have garnered more attention than what the next president is going to face in the world. Occasionally, the candidates have found time to make a few substantive points about the Afghanistan war and Iran’s nuclear program, but the major national security questions facing the country have not been high on the agenda.
And, barring an unexpected international crisis, we’re not likely to see much focus on foreign policy through November. With most voters focused on the economy and domestic issues in 2012, the campaigns and independent advocacy groups are spending most of their money and time on that front. The schedule for the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week has very little focus on national security – a sharp shift from the past three conventions.
It’s not uncommon for national political campaigns to oversimplify or skim over the big foreign policy questions. But looking beyond country specific policies on China, Iran, and Syria, there are five broader national security issues that the Republicans (and Democrats) should be talking about next week.This article was originally published in CNN-Global Public Square.