Whether Obama or Romney, next US leader faces severe foreign challenges
Whoever wins the US presidency – be it likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney or President Obama – faces an array of foreign-policy challenges that may be as daunting as those of the cold war. For starters, they involve China, Russia, the Arab world, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan.
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OPINION: 6 signs of hope in Pakistan
NORTH KOREA. The American president must decide whether Kim Jong-un, the young new leader, is for real, promising less belligerence in return for American food.
We have had a long history of broken promises from the North Korean regime. If the new leader is now ready for his nation to become a respectable member of the international community, we need proof.
PAKISTAN. It is time for this country of many proud and talented people to turn their failing nation into a successful one. They will need international economic help, and the United States should be ready to continue what has already been a substantial amount of assistance.
But the Pakistanis must clean up their act. The Pakistani intelligence service’s ties to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations that have been killing Americans must be severed. As the US presence in Afghanistan runs down, a stable Pakistan could play a constructive role in the region.
These problem countries requiring the attention of the American president have one common denominator: They are all in the grip of authoritarian regimes.
Despite imperfections, America has long been regarded around the world as a beacon of freedom. Americans traditionally believe that their country should support freedom for unfree peoples elsewhere. That happens to be in America’s best interest. Nations whose people are free and prospering are not generally the cause of strife.
If Barack Obama is reelected and able to reshape a changing world on a platform of peace, he will have earned his Nobel Prize. A Republican who is elected president and achieves the same will deserve one.
John Hughes, a former editor of the Monitor, writes a biweekly column.
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