This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The Middle East presents a series of challenges for whomever wins on November 6th: immediate problems in Libya and Syria, a seemingly eternal problem with Israel and the Palestinians, but maybe the biggest problem: the looming crisis with Iran.
At Monday night's foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve "America's role in the world."
The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That's what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
As we just heard, the candidates have already said a lot about foreign policy, but they have not necessarily addressed every question. Tom Ricks has been thinking about a subject that lurks somewhere beneath almost all discussions about global hotspots. Ricks has covered the U.S. military for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and in many books. His most recent work, "The Generals," examines top military officers in recent history and their grasp of strategy.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
Tonight the presidential candidates meet for the final debate of this presidential election. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will be in Boca Raton, Florida. The event will focus on foreign policy, which was never expected to rival the economy as a major issue in this campaign. But foreign policy has played a bigger role than anticipated in recent weeks.
If George McGovern often seemed miscast as a presidential candidate, he was at least as improbable as an icon of the anti-war movement.
The Vietnam War gave birth to an opposition movement unlike any America had seen in its previous wars. It was young, unconventional and countercultural, defiant of authority and deeply suspicious of government.
Iran is hurting. Economic and banking sanctions, plus an effective oil embargo led by the European Union, have brought chaos to Iran's economy. The bottom fell out of its currency, the rial, a couple of weeks ago, provoking street protests. Iranians of all social classes are struggling to cope.
President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney are getting ready to answer any and all possible questions about foreign policy for Monday night's debate, the last one before the Nov. 6 election.
Iran, Israeli-Palestinian talks and China are among likely topics for the debate — and also major issues awaiting the next president. Each case is a matter of building and maintaining alliances while applying pressure to protect U.S. interests.
Whenever 19-year-old Robbie Walsh tells friends and family back home in Maryland that he goes to Lynn University, they do a double-take.
"They go, 'Lynn University? What?'" he says. "Then I have to tell them it's in Boca Raton, Florida, and a lot of them say, 'Oh, FAU,' or 'The University of Miami.'"
Many of Lynn's students and faculty who gather at the campus cafe say they hear that sort of thing all the time. But university spokesman Joshua Glanzer says a new T-shirt showing up on campus gives it right back.