The presidential candidates of the U.S. Republican [Party] outdo one another with pithy words. In a TV debate they are supposed to look outside of the box of the United States — and there they see primarily enemies whom Obama is tackling too softly.

Pithy announcements of a more confrontational U.S foreign policy and harsh criticism of President Barack Obama’s course of action dominated the most recent TV debate of the Republican presidential hopefuls — the tenth and the first to be limited to questions of foreign policy. Two of the three leading candidates announced that they would order a military strike against Iran if the regime in Tehran did not cease its plan for atomic bombs.

“And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done, there's nothing else we can do beside take military action, then of course you take military action,” explained Mitt Romney, the favorite in the polls. The third place Newt Gingrich said he would order “whatever steps necessary” to prevent the “nuclear capacity” of the regime. Only Herman Cain, surprisingly in second place, said he was not thinking of a military strike.

Most of the altogether eight contenders almost outdid one another in their demands. Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to impose sanctions against the Iranian central bank, a step the U.S. government has been reluctant to take, evidently out of fear of the impact on the oil market. Former Senator Rick Santorum announced that he would support Israel in an air strike against Iranian nuclear installations. Rick Perry, Herman Cain and the only woman in the circle, Congresswoman Michele Bachman, if elected, would re-instate the infamous “waterboarding” in the interrogation of suspected terrorists — torture, therefore. And Mitt Romney demanded making Chinese imports in the U.S. more difficult if Peking does not provide the appreciation of the Chinese currency and a stronger fight against product piracy that the U.S. has for years been demanding. Romney also criticized the withdrawal from Afghanistan ordered by Obama as premature.

Foreign and security policy is the only area in which the U.S. citizens trust Obama more than his potential Republican challengers. In the most recent survey of The Washington Post, almost half of those surveyed considered the foreign policy of the president good. Governor Perry, who had a lapse in the debate in the past week when he could remember only two of the three U.S. departments he would as president eliminate, came within an inch of a humiliation. He announced that he would cut U.S. aid to all countries including Israel. Aid would only be paid if the countries fulfilled U.S. conditions. He rushed to add, however, that he anticipated that would happen in the case of Israel.