The global hotspots the foreign policy debate will ignore

Romney and Obama are sure to trade jabs about Syria, Iran, and China. But it's unlikely that we'll hear anything about North Korea and the EU

Paul Brandus

Two down, one to go. Tonight's debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney is the final major event of this long, nasty campaign prior to election day itself, which is now just 15 days away. Republicans are unhappy that the topic — foreign policy — is the subject of this last clash; some in the GOP establishment hoped that jobs and the economy, the central issue of campaign 2012, would be the last thing voters heard before they cast their ballot — though with the jobs outlook improving, perhaps the foreign policy focus helps the GOP.

The broad contours of tonight are already known. We'll hear the president talk about how he has kept America safe for the last four years, including, of course, ordering the mission that got Osama bin Laden. He'll talk about how he is shifting America's strategic focus to Asia to counter a rising China, and how tough sanctions, in concert with our allies, are squeezing Iran. The New York Times reported over the weekend that Iran has now agreed to one-on-one talks with the United States, although the White House quickly denied it.

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