The Year of the Weary Electorate

U.S. foreign policy has been fading as an issue in American presidential politics. This trend is unlikely to reverse itself in 1~6. Polls indicate that voters view crime as the number one concern followed by a host of economic and social issues, and the candidates next year will heed them.

In the best of all worlds, this election year would feature a wide-ranging foreign policy debate, beginning with the primaries. The national conventions might devote a full day to televised platform debates. When the candidates squared off on television, they might be obliged to defend their positions on the United Nations and NATO, the global environment and foreign aid strategies, arms control and nuclear proliferation, relations with Russia and China, and America’s proper role in regional conflicts like Bosnia, Experts on each side might issue detailed position papers that could be reprinted in full in newspapers. By election day, an informed electorate could then render a verdict that would amount to a genuine mandate to devise a new U.S. foreign policy in anticipation of the twenty-first century.

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