20 questions we would ask McCain and Obama

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images It’s still unclear whether tomorrow’s presidential debate will go on as scheduled, but assuming that the two candidates do eventually make it to Ole Miss, we have a few questions we’d like answered. The focus of the debate will be foreign policy and national security. Earlier this month, we listed 20 ...

592382_080925_debate5.jpg
592382_080925_debate5.jpg

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

It's still unclear whether tomorrow's presidential debate will go on as scheduled, but assuming that the two candidates do eventually make it to Ole Miss, we have a few questions we'd like answered.

The focus of the debate will be foreign policy and national security. Earlier this month, we listed 20 interview questions we wanted to ask Sarah Palin. Now we've compiled 20 debate questions we would like to watch McCain and Obama spar over. Feel free to suggest questions you'd like to pitch to the debaters.

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

It’s still unclear whether tomorrow’s presidential debate will go on as scheduled, but assuming that the two candidates do eventually make it to Ole Miss, we have a few questions we’d like answered.

The focus of the debate will be foreign policy and national security. Earlier this month, we listed 20 interview questions we wanted to ask Sarah Palin. Now we’ve compiled 20 debate questions we would like to watch McCain and Obama spar over. Feel free to suggest questions you’d like to pitch to the debaters.

  1. If you had been president on Sept. 11, 2001, how would you have responded to the attacks on that tragic day, both in the short term and the long term?
  2. What do you consider the biggest foreign-policy success and the biggest foreign-policy failure of the Bush administration?
  3. What do you think about the Bush doctrine, whatever you interpret it to be?
  4. Four years from now, on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, how many U.S. troops will we have in Iraq?
  5. Four years from now, on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, how close will Iran be to having a nuclear weapon?
  6. If the phone rings at 3 a.m. while you’re president and you learn that Kim Jong Il just died, what would be the first thing you would do?
  7. In light of events in Pakistan, would you support the continuation of cross-border strikes from Afghanistan, even if such strikes are not supported by the Pakistani government?
  8. Do you think we are entering a post-American multipolar world?
  9. What do you think will be the most defining foreign-policy issue during the next four years?
  10. Your running mates would have to take over for you in the unfortunate event of a crisis. Senator McCain, why would Sarah Palin be a better commander in chief than Senator Obama? Senator Obama, why would Joe Biden be a better commander in chief than Senator McCain?
  11. How would you define victory in the war on terror?
  12. How do you define torture?
  13. Would you close or leave open the Guantánamo Bay prison?
  14. Is the conflict in Sudan a genocide? If yes, what obligations does that place before the United States?
  15. Should the United States continue its embargo against Cuba?
  16. Would you be willing to cut farm subsidies to allow the Doha Round of trade negotiations to proceed?
  17. What is your preferred plan for peace between Israel and Palestine? A two-state solution? What about Jerusalem?
  18. Do you support the U.S.-India civil nuclear deal, which would allow the United States to provide civil nuclear technology and fuel to India, a country that hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
  19. How would you balance concerns over human rights and freedom in China with the United States’ growing economic interdependence with that country?
  20. What’s more important: securing Russia’s cooperation on nuclear proliferation and Iran, or supporting Georgia’s NATO bid? If Vladimir Putin called you on the phone and said, “It’s one or the other,” what would you tell him?
Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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