Talking Foreign Policy: Solutions vs. Rhetoric

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addresses delegates before speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tamp
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addresses delegates before speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

TAMPA, FL -- Here at the Republican National Convention, the only two speeches that addressed foreign policy in detail were full of talking points and rhetoric, but fell flat on solutions.

Senator John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both spoke on the second day of the Republican National Convention. Both speeches were centered around American foreign policy, and although Syria, Israel, Iran and other foreign policy issues were discussed, both speakers failed to give any specific details of what they think we should do. The war in Afghanistan was mentioned during the Republican National Convention, but there were no clear ideas presented of how to get out, or even whether we should get out at all. The crisis in Syria was mentioned, and we heard how this administration has failed, yet did we hear specific details as to how we should intervene?

We were also reaffirmed of the Republican's support for Israel, but did they even acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people and the staled peace negotiations? They also stressed the point of promoting freedom around the world, yet Bahrain was not mentioned once. The fact is, we were given a foreign policy lecture without solutions.

Senator McCain said that,

"The situation is far worse in Syria. What began as peaceful protests has now become, 18 months later, a savage and unfair fight. 
With the full backing of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia-with tanks, and helicopters, and fighter jets, Bashir Assad is murdering men, women and children. 
More than 20,000 people have perished. Extremists are gaining ground. And the conflict is becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies, and for us."

This is absolutely correct, what is happening in Syria is terrible and something needs to be done, but we knew this information already. The problem though is that there was no specific proposals as to what steps the United States should take in Syria. During the speech, we did not hear whether Senator McCain believes we should have military boots on the ground, or launch an air campaign, or increase stricter sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. What we got from that speech was information we already knew. What we need now are solutions, not rhetoric.

Condoleezza Rice and John McCain both made factually accurate statements about current global events, the problem was that we did not hear specific solutions to these complicated issues.

Condoleezza Rice said,

"Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder,  "Where does America stand?"

My question to Ms. Rice is, where does she believe America should stand, and what are her detailed solutions to the pressing issues that face the global community?

We understand that both candidates strongly voice their support for Israel, but what does that specifically mean? We need to know before we vote, whether the candidates believe we should bomb Iran to stall it's nuclear program, or if they support stronger sanctions against Iran instead of military action. We need to know before we vote, whether they support a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine, or do they, like Newt Gingrich, believe that the Palestinian people are an "invented people."

During this Presidential election American foreign policy is extremely important, it is arguably more important now than ever before. Because of this, the American people should not be satisfied with vagueness from our politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike. We need Specific solutions to the issues facing the global community. We need to know what foreign policies a candidate and their party will set in place, before they are elected. We know that there are terrible things happening around the world, but we need to know is what both of the candidates plan to do before the election, so that we, the American people, can make an informed decision.

Being informed on how our politicians plan to implement American foreign policy around the world is of extreme importance. The American people need to demand that politicians, on both sides of the political aisle, to be up front with us and inform the public of what specifically it is that they will do if we elect them to public office.

Rhetoric will not fix the complex issues facing the global community. We need our leaders to be more concerned about discussing solutions, instead of presenting the American people with talking points.