At tonight’s debate, the Middle East will take center-stage


Politico notes that the Middle East is taking center stage at tonight’s debate. Half of the six segments are devoted to the region, and another one is focused on adjacent Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Here are the six topics (as they stood on Oct. 12):

* America’s role in the world

* Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan

* Red Lines – Israel and Iran

* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I

* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II

* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

Politico asked various columnists whether they thought there was too much emphasis on the Middle East.


The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol answered that the focus seems fine. (He suggested that “the Obama administration’s much-ballyhooed ‘pivot to Asia’ is just a fancy excuse for retreat in the Middle East.”) The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg says Mexico is getting short shrift, noting that about as many people have been killed over the past six years in the drug wars there as in the Arab-Israeli conflict since its inception. (“It is true that there is no escaping the Middle East. But it is also true that our close neighbors matter, especially the close neighbor whose stability is threatened by American policies and American addictions.”)

Meanwhile, The New York Times’ Nick Kristof says he “would have liked to see the second Middle East segment replaced by one focused just on China, and then the last segment on ‘tomorrow’s world’ move beyond China to embrace the range of issues on the emerging agenda of foreign policy: foreign aid, human rights, narcotics and human trafficking, and rising powers such as India and Brazil.”

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