With only a few weeks left to the November presidential elections, the world tuned in Monday night to watch President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney lock horns on foreign policy issues in the third and final presidential debate.
Ahead of Monday's debate, a high-ranking roster of British officials urged both Obama and Romney to tone down the trigger-happy war rhetoric on Iran and its nuclear program. Sir Ming Campbell told Huffington Post UK that Romney’s “lack of experience and the generalizations that he had pronounced in relation to Iran and the Middle East” is a serious cause for concern.
"Obama is by nature cautious, we know that, we've seen that. My concern is Romney may have given the impression of a much more adventurous policy in the Middle East and that appears to be based on unqualified endorsement of the position and actions of Israel, whereas Obama has been much more fastidious in his approach and not sought to create so called 'red lines' which might trigger automatic actions," he said.
Labour MP John Spellar echoed the sentiment, saying that when it comes to the conflict-ridden Middle East, Romney seeks merely to score points with the voters while Obama aims to take actual steps towards a long-awaited resolution.
In Spain, Romney was largely seen as following in George W. Bush’s footsteps by adopting a bellicose rhetoric on Iran and Middle Eastern issues.El Pais noted that Obama's "bayonets and horses" remark highlighted that he is more levelheaded on foreign policy issues.
Leah Pisar wrote in Le HuffPost that the last debate would most likely boost both Obama’s popularity and his chances to win a second term in the White House. She also suggested that the incumbent U.S. President may be more in touch with world developments, rather than Romney, whose whole strategy seem to boil down to "killing the bad guys".
Pundits in Italy took issue with both candidates’ lack of interest in U.S. relations with Europe. According to Lucia Annunziata, this showed that current American foreign policy lacks a coherent vision. “It could have been useful, when speaking about the internal economic situation, to emphasize the fact that the crisis on both sides of the Atlantic could have similar solutions to it,” he wrote in HuffPost Italy.
Supriya Dwivedi writes for HuffPost Canada that the presidential debates this year show more than ever that the country has finally taken center stage in the U.S. domestic agenda. She also adds that the debates have shed light on the conservative clout of the Harper government, which has thrown its weight behind Romney in the race to the White House.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mistakenly attributed a quote by Lucia Annunziata to Alberto Flores. This article has been changed to correct that error.