Foreign policy was the focus of the last of the debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, two weeks from Election Day. It's a question that very much interests the rest of the world, which is affected by the behavior of the first world power. But the rest of the world will not vote on Nov. 6, and the American citizens currently have other priorities, such as employment, taxes and social politics. These are topics that both candidates buried themselves in — when allowed by the moderator.
The differences in foreign policy are not very notable. They are less notable in this campaign, except for the major spending on defense that Romney advocates. Of course, this is a field that a president in office dominates, particularly when there aren't huge crises to tackle, although there is indeed a plethora of important problems. They agree on the topics of Iran, Afghanistan and Israel, and have a few subtle differences of opinion with respect to China and Syria. Both disdain Europe, maybe because they take the existing alliance for granted.
Obama can be judged for his career in foreign policy and security, which, in general, has been sensible in a world that has changed. It has given moral credibility back to the U.S., even though Guantanamo still stands. This wisdom, by itself, would be enough for the rest of the world to tend to support him more than Romney, who has changed several times and now presents a moderate and focused profile. George W. Bush's ghost keeps floating around, even though his name was not mentioned in the debate.
The polls, which were conducted when the lights were still shining on the set at Lynn University in Florida, declared Obama the winner of the debate. A majority has seen him as a leader, like the commander-in-chief that he is. Yet in the demographic that finds him unfavorable, Romney has gained notable support as commander-in-chief as well, a fact that should not fall on deaf ears.
While the first debate involved a serious decrease of those intending to vote for Obama, it does not seem like the following two have had an influence. Today, the two candidates are technically tied on a national scale. However, it will be the voters from a handful of states — where it is still anybody’s race — who will really decide who will be the next president of the United States. Two weeks to Nov. 6 is an eternity.