International Affairs — 23 October 2012
Obama-Romney Debate Highlights: Muslims Bad, Drones Good, Business as usual

The final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on October 22 highlighted the cross-party consensus on foreign policy that is a feature of successive administrations, particularly with regards to interests in the Middle East.

The following are some brief quotes from each candidate taken from the debate:

On the Middle East:

Mitt Romney

“We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region.”

“We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism”

“But the key that we’re going to have to pursue is a — is a pathway to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own.”

Barack Obama

Regarding priorities in the post-uprising governments in the Middle East:

“number one, make sure that these countries are supporting our counterterrorism efforts.

Number two, make sure that they are standing by our interests in Israel’s security, because it is a true friend and our greatest ally in the region.”

Regarding Egypt specifically

“They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.”


On Syria

Mitt Romney

“so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. Number two, seeing a — a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us.”

“our objectives are to replace Assad and to have in place a new government which is friendly to us, a responsible government, if possible”

Barack Obama

“What you just heard Governor Romney said is he doesn’t have different ideas. And that’s because we’re doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syrian leadership and a — an effective transition so that we get Assad out”


On Drones

Mitt Romney

“it’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that and entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends”

Barack Obama

[His record speaks for itself]


On American role in the World

Mitt Romney

“We’re also going to have to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and Islamic extremism”

“We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future, not be at war. That’s our purpose.

And the mantle of leadership for the — promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America. We didn’t ask for it. But it’s an honor that we have it.”

Barack Obama

“America remains the one indispensable nation.”

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