While former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama squabbled over Libyan diplomacy and the U.S.s presence in Syria, the premise of their arguments were off base.
As Romney spoke of the U.S. purpose in making the world more peaceful, and Obama spoke of spreading our values, both alluded to concepts of American diplomacy rooted in the zenith of the nations Golden Age.
While the U.S. is still largely considered the most powerful leader of the free world and does have a responsibility as a member of the global community to further peace and stability, the candidates seemed oblivious of the U.S. bearing in light of the economic recession that has plagued the nation in recent years.
The primary focus of the candidates thoughts in terms of international policy placed the U.S. as the standard-setter for international nation building, bringing gender equality and civility to the lump sum region of the Middle East and alluding to setting up puppet leaders in place of leaders deemed in opposition of U.S. values and democracy.
But gender equality remains an issue in the contiguous 50 states, with women earning between 55 cents and 87 cents per dollar that men earn, according to Slate. These issues must be addressed at home as well as abroad, and cannot be handled with credibility outside the U.S. until the standards in our own country are upped.
As Romney spoke of Russia and Obama expressed support for Israel, a point of hot-cold contention for him, the candidates did acknowledge the need for nation-building in the U.S. But they failed to address the weaknesses within the U.S. that they were quick to point out overseas.
While these values may have been ones all followed while the U.S. was at the peak of its economic height, it is no longer so, and building ties with countries and governments around the world and proving American credibility should be prioritized by each candidate as opposed to finding ways to expand the nations overseas defense presence.
As countries like China gain stronger economic footholds, the global power that is attached to diplomacy values will follow the money. Showing respect to our foreign allies and working in partnerships with them will go further than imposing our beliefs and values upon them and attempting to help create civil societies.
For the U.S. to maintain its status, it must focus on building credible, lasting and peaceful partnerships with allies rather than imposing values onothers.