Who knew the final presidential candidate debate, held just 15 days before the election, would have so much riding on it? Focusing on foreign policy, Monday's debate may not swing many voters, but with polls showing President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney running neck and neck every undecided voter is a prize beyond measure.
We can expect moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS to ask questions about Benghazi, Iraq and Israel. Now, Mr. Schieffer has surely done his homework and will have excellent questions; he's an excellent and experienced newsman. But I've a few questions of my own, and I'm hoping at least a couple along these lines will be asked.
1. What role does the U.S. play in the world?
(Always good to know what philosophical position a candidate is starting from when forming policy.)
2. With the anticipated reduction of our military fleet, how will we keep shipping lanes free, especially near unfriendly countries?
3. How can the U.S. ensure the reliability of our nuclear weapons as a deterrent, given that the last live testing was 20 years ago?
4. Who is our chief foe in the world and why?
(Follow up: What country could do us the most immediate damage should their economy collapse?)
5. What can the U.S. do to foster closer economic ties to Northern Africa?
6. What role should the U.S. be playing in regard to terrorism and Islamic militaries in Northern Africa?
7. What type of long term role should we have in Afghanistan?
(Follow up: Considering the issue of Iraq allowing Iranian flyovers to possibly deliver weapons to Syria, what are the dangers of an open airspace in Afghanistan?)
8. What is the U.S. specifically doing to contain the threat and nuclear proliferation of North Korea?
9. How would you characterize the state of the trans-Atlantic relationship?
10. What do you describe as the greatest long-term threat to the U.S.?
Here's hoping that Mr. Scheiffer doesn't let either candidate give out platitudes and predictable answers ("Working with our allies in the region...") and is able to keep them from just throwing slings and arrows at each other. While foreign policy may not be foremost on the minds of voters, it is vital to our national security and this voter will be paying close attention.