11 Topic Ideas For An Opinion Essay On US Foreign Policy
Opinion essays have basically the same format as all other essay in that they have an introduction, body and conclusion. You decide on a topic and then you give you opinion on the topic as your thesis statement. After that you would give at least three supporting points for your opinion and one paragraph that gives an opposing view. Here are some topic ideas for an opinion essay on US foreign policy:
- Weapons of Mass Destruction- Do they exist?
- Religion played a major role in 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US.
- American attitude toward the Middle East- Are we fostering the hatred?
- Are we helping Iraq after the Invasion?
- American foreign policy on oil- Are we too dependent?
- US foreign policy and Vietnam- Did we ever belong there?
- Foreign policy and the Cold War- Is the Cold War effective?
- Should be give aid to people who support other types of government?
- Foreign policy in Syria- Can we really help the Syrians?
- Foreign policy in Russia- Is it better after the collapse?
- Have women had any effect of foreign policy?
Now that you have some topic ideas, you can begin to form your opinion and complete your essay. In order to form an opinion, you need to be informed so you must do research on whatever topic you choose. As you do the research, you will start to form an opinion on the topic. Once you have formed an opinion, you need to find three supporting points to justify why you feel the way you do. Also, you will need one opposing point of view and some points on why you don’t believe in that point of view.
Once you have all of that information, you are ready to create your outline. You need to state your opinion on the topic as your thesis statement in the first line. Then the next three lines will be the supporting points for your thesis. Each one must have some detail that explains the supporting points as well. After those three lines, you need to have one line with an opposing view and then the evidence why you think this view doesn’t make sense or isn’t realistic. The last line is for your conclusion where you need to restate your opinion and summarize your points of view. With your outline complete, you can create your rough draft, check for any errors and then create your completed, final draft.
As America prepares for the foreign-policy fireworks in Sunday night’s second presidential debate, a town hall format co-moderated by ABC News’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, we asked our columnists to pose the question they’d want to put to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — and why it’s so important that America’s next president have the answer. In no particular order, here are their toughest questions.
Q: China’s economic and military power has been rising rapidly and it has been increasingly aggressive in advancing territorial claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere, in part by reclaiming reefs and shoals and expanding its military presence. Do you believe it is a vital U.S. interest to prevent China from establishing de facto control of these key maritime passageways and, if so, would you authorize the use of military force to halt China’s efforts? If you are unwilling to use force, how will you keep China from eventually dominating the region?
This question gets at the heart of the main strategic challenge the next president (and his or her successors) will face — namely, how to deal with a powerful and increasingly assertive China. This issue is far more important than the Islamic State, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, the Israel-Palestine conflict, immigration, or any of the lesser issues that have distracted U.S. policymakers in recent years. If the United States responds too harshly, it could provoke a spiral of hostility with Beijing and alarm its own allies in the region. The United States and China might even stumble into war. But if Washington is unwilling to stand up to piecemeal Chinese encroachments, America’s position in Asia will weaken and some current U.S. allies may decide to accommodate Beijing. Addressing this problem effectively will require resolve, an accurate understanding of the current balance of forces, and a cool head.
Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
Q: What is your priority in Syria? Fighting the Islamic State or ending the civil war? And who are America’s allies in doing so?
Syria is the next president’s biggest headache. But neither candidate has engaged recently in a detailed policy discussion on the issue, so we don’t know where they stand. Hillary Clinton previously called for safe zones, but does she still support the idea? Donald Trump has made few references to Syria other than to say he’d “bomb the shit” out of the Islamic State. The question is important because the answer will determine how the candidates view not the just the Middle East but America’s role in the region and on the global stage. The priorities will give us a sense of whether the candidates see the Islamic State as a separate counterterrorism problem, or if they think it’s connected to the civil war and Bashar al-Assad’s continued hold on power.
If it’s the latter, for Clinton this would mean ramped-up action, diplomatic and military, to build leverage for the opposition in their negotiations with the government. This requires full buy-in by Arab allies (Libya-style) and would send a signal to Russia and Iran that there will be no Pax Russica in the region. Trump could conceivably “bring peace” by letting the Russians finish off the Syrian opposition. If the focus is the Islamic State first or only, this sheds light not just on the candidate’s views of America’s moral leadership, but is also an implicit acknowledgment that for the sake of counterterrorism, the United States would cede Syria to Russia and Iran — regardless of the impact on America’s wider posture in the region.
Kim Ghattas is a BBC correspondent covering international affairs and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She is the author of The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power. Follow her on Twitter: @BBCKimGhattas.
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Q: With so many women being raped in conflict areas — from Syria to Iraq to South Sudan — what would you do to put a stop to it, and how would you ensure survivors receive psychosocial and medical services?
We’ve long perceived war as a struggle between men, meaning soldiers on the battlefield. But the reality today is that civilians, aka noncombatants — who are in large part women and children — make up at least 90 percent of casualties in conflict. And 51 percent of the population in any conflict is facing tremendously high levels of sexualized violence. Rape is an effective and rampant weapon of war for many reasons: It terrorizes, humiliates the enemy, and silences communities. Survivors of this violence usually receive no psychological help and rarely medical intervention. They face shame and stigmatization when they return home.
When the United States considers its role in the world, humanitarian assistance must be of the highest priority. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, our country has the potential to not only help stop rape as a weapon of war but to make a huge difference in the assistance survivors receive. Whether it means repealing the Helms Amendment, which denies lifesaving measures for women raped and now pregnant, or merely abiding by the five international human rights treaties it has ratified, the United States has options and an obligation to do more than it has been doing for women in conflict areas.
Unfortunately, it would seem that having a clear conscience is not enough motivation to help the world’s most vulnerable people.
Lauren Wolfe is a journalist and director of Women Under Siege, a journalism project on sexualized violence based at the Women’s Media Center in New York.
Q: The Middle East’s a mess. But the United States has vital interests there. What are your top three and why?
Governing’s about choosing. As FDR — one of our greatest presidents — reportedly said of our greatest: Lincoln was a sad man because he couldn’t get it all at once.
In the broken, angry, and dysfunctional Middle East, the next president must set priorities and not be distracted by discretionary enterprises in which America will have only limited success at best, such as ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or trying to put the Syrian Humpty Dumpty back together again. The next president must focus on America’s three vital interests — all of which turn first on the security and prosperity of the United States and secondarily on that of its Israeli and Arab partners, however imperfect some of them may be they may be. I’d offer these three priorities:
First, protect the homeland. Episodic homegrown terror will be hard to stop. But Washington must intensify efforts to keep transnational terror groups on their heels through smart counterterrorism, intelligence sharing with allies, and projection of military power against terrorist sanctuaries, resources, and leadership targets. Second, continue to wean America off Arab hydrocarbons while ensuring the free flow and security of Middle East oil for those who are still dependent. Third, contain any hegemon that threatens the regional balance of power or the interest of America’s partners. Oh, and continue to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
Aaron David Miller is vice president for new initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.
Q: How will you prevent entitlement programs from crowding out spending for defense and diplomacy?
Diplomacy, intelligence, and the military account for about 25 percent of government spending, and half of discretionary spending (that which is not automatically allotted to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare). In 1960, entitlement programs accounted for 26 percent of federal spending, while discretionary programs (including defense) were 67 percent. Currently, entitlements consume 60 percent of federal spending — a reversal of the proportions. Popular and important as they are, entitlement programs are present consumption; national security programs are public investment.
Our government has three alternatives: raise taxes, cut benefits, or expand the debt. It has chosen to expand the debt — the worst and least sustainable of the three options. Our national debt stands at $20 trillion — $56,375 per American citizen. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the interest costs alone on that debt will triple in the coming 10 years, surpassing defense as an expense. Unless the growth of entitlement programs is reined in, less and less of the government budget will be available for national security programs. A bipartisan agreement to put our entitlement programs on a sounder footing is a crucial national security issue — but in this highly partisan season, the candidates can’t shy from this problem.
Kori Schake is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and contributor toForeign Policy’s Shadow Government blog.
Q: Both of you have disavowed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major economic element in the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia. Many of our allies, partners, and friends in the region are dismayed, fearing the costs of waning U.S. involvement. Given the growing aggression of China throughout East Asia, what other tools of foreign policy will you use to assert U.S. influence and power in the region and reassure our friends?
In the long arc of the 21st century, the rise of China will be a central feature. The relationship between Washington and Beijing, therefore, will be the most important geopolitical pairing over the next two or three decades. And both will want to avoid the so-called Thucydides trap, wherein a rising power confronts an established power militarily with dire consequences on either side. At the moment, the trajectory is negative, fueled by a growing sense of Chinese nationalism; resentment over the U.S. presence in Asia, especially militarily; looming internal problems for China regarding demographics, environmental remediation, and an overheated construction sector; the increasing unease of neighbors who fear Beijing’s rise; and preposterous Chinese claims of territorial control over the vast South China Sea that the United States and other Asian nations will resist.
If we are going to drop the single most effective geopolitical instrument we could use — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — we will need other strategies and tools to influence China, support U.S. goals, and encourage allies and partners to resist China’s nascent hegemony. Hopefully, both candidates will talk about the need to use an alliance-based approach; balancing defense burden-sharing between the United States and our Asian partners; the need to build trust and cooperation between Japan and South Korea; the importance of U.S. bases in Japan and Australia; building strategic partnerships with fellow democracy India; use of regional organizations like ASEAN; and the need for a long-term trade agreement of some kind, even if the current version of the TPP is not to their liking. Both candidates need to demonstrate their knowledge of the history, culture, and complexity of Asia in general and China in particular given its crucial impact on America over the coming decades.
James Stavridis is a retired four-star U.S. Navy admiral and NATO supreme allied commander who serves today as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Q: Will you end America’s Secret War? If so, how?
Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States has fought two very open wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for most of the last 15 years, the United States has also been engaged in a third, “secret” war, fought mostly by drone strikes and special operations raids.
Unlike the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — or the brief U.S.-initiated NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 — the Secret War has no geographic boundaries: It has reportedly ranged from Pakistan and Yemen to Somalia and the Philippines. Journalistic and NGO estimates suggest that the Secret War has killed 4,000 to 5,000 individuals, but the White House has yet to publicly acknowledge the scope or scale of this fight, much less provide a clear explanation of which organizations and individuals have been targeted, what legal theory justifies these cross-border military operations, what mechanisms exist for preventing abuse and mistake in targeting decisions, how much these operations cost U.S. taxpayers, or how we can evaluate whether such operations enhance or undermine long-term U.S. security interests.
President Barack Obama has acknowledged the importance of greater transparency and accountability but has yet to take significant steps in that direction. As president, will you continue to prosecute this Secret War? If so, how will you reassure the American people and the world that the United States is using force responsibly, and not just becoming the globe’s most successful assassination machine?
Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation. She served as a counselor to the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a senior advisor at the U.S. State Department.
Q: No food on the shelves, no medicine in the pharmacies, and no money in the government coffers. Most analysts believe it is a matter of time until something dramatic happens in Venezuela. How would your administration prepare for and respond to the potential collapse of the state in Venezuela?
Here are some possible scenarios: 1) A humanitarian crisis of devastating proportions — something that is in fact already underway. 2) A political collapse, coup, or even civil conflict. 3) Widespread crime and instability that lead to a failed state-like situation.
Responding to the Venezuelan crisis would require more acumen than the typical country in distress. For years, the governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro have demonized the United States as being responsible for its travails. The country is now refusing to let foreign aid into the country, despite shortages of even the most basic supplies. Yet balanced with that animosity is the incredible strategic importance of Venezuela within the Andean region. The country has become a key drug trafficking corridor, and this would only accelerate in the event of instability. And political violence there stands to destabilize already fragile Colombia next door. It may be slightly off the radar for the candidates, but U.S. interests in the region could be deeply affected by what happens in Caracas.
Elizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based Deca journalist.
Q: What will it take to stop Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from killing civilians and step down from power? How will you deal with Russia’s destabilizing and aggressive role in Syria?
The Syrian civil war has turned out to be a catastrophe for American interests, international stability, and the Middle East. Assad has systematically destroyed his own state rather than reform his rule and negotiate a political transfer of power to a real elected leader. The resulting war has created a human tragedy of colossal scale, including as many as half a million dead; millions of refugees straining Europe, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan; and half the population of Syria driven from their homes. The fragmentation and power vacuum in Syria has spurred the rise of the Islamic State; spilled over into Iraq, driving that country back into war; and polarized the region with sectarian hatreds. A resurgent Russia has capitalized on Western inaction, worsening the conflict and provoking an international crisis.
Syria’s crisis has no neat resolutions, but its toxic strategic consequences have to be managed. Russia’s aggressive behavior will eventually have to be contained, and there is no way to do so without risk. America has tried to chart a middle course and has suffered all the fallout of Syria’s war while relinquishing levers of influence. The U.S. government already is deeply involved in a covert war in Syria, and in the humanitarian response to the crisis. It’s time to expand that policy into a more assertive and effective intervention. Unchecked, a victorious Assad, Iran, and Russia will only set their sights even higher, to the world’s detriment.
Thanassis Cambanis, author of Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Storyand A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, is a fellow at the Century Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @tcambanis.
Q: The White House asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funds to fight the Zika virus. That was nine months ago. Congress approved $1.1 billion only in late September, but those funds won’t be released for months. What would you do to protect the American people, ensuring that when you are president, epidemic and disaster emergency funds get where they are needed — fast?
Haggling among the House, Senate, and White House over Zika funds was the key emblem of Washington dysfunction in 2016. For months, the GOP House leadership refused to approve funds unless the bill also banned payments to Planned Parenthood and permitted flying the Confederate flag in military cemeteries. During the months of this petty back-and-forth, federal agencies — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, chiefly — borrowed money from countless other research and health funds until even those ran out.
Meanwhile, Zika infected up to one-quarter of the Puerto Rican population; the Republican governor of Florida begged for federal assistance; and vaccine and other areas of research were slowed. Americans were forced to simply cross their fingers or stock up on bug spray, hoping the Zika virus wouldn’t end up in their backyards. The world watched in jaw-dropped amazement: America, the country that has called for global readiness to fight epidemics and bioterrorism, can’t manage to appropriate a dime when faced with a real-and-present danger?
Laurie Garrett is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer.
Q: We’ve heard a great deal in this campaign about threats from abroad, whether from trade, immigration, or terrorism. The American people are now thoroughly convinced that the world is a dangerous place, from which we need to take refuge behind walls, tariffs, or “extreme vetting.” But what about opportunities rather than threats? How can the United States use its technological prowess, its investment and aid, its culture of openness and free exchange, to create a safer, healthier, more prosperous world? Or is it naive to think in such terms?
Though we have trouble remembering it today, Barack Obama took office hoping to replace George W. Bush’s “color-coded politics of fear” with a new foreign policy based on a sense of shared interest and possibility. He wanted to be remembered for rallying citizens and leaders around the world to work on global problems like climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, poverty, and failed states. That agenda was engulfed by chaos in the Middle East and great-power challenges from Russia and China. Both he and we now have a chastened sense of what American leadership can accomplish in the world. We are perhaps too aware of our own limits, and of the world’s intractability.
Donald Trump’s zero-sum worldview — the posture of the deal-maker — is all too seductive for a weary and cynical electorate; but it rests on a false picture of statecraft. The big global problems can only be tackled with a sense of shared opportunity. And they will not be addressed at all without confident American leadership. The next president must remind the American people of what they have done, and very much still can do, to shape a better world.
James Traub is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, a fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, and author of the book John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit.
Q: Crackdowns on human rights advocates, journalists, and independent academics are intensifying in China, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and elsewhere. Some argue that with the press of fighting the Islamic State, the war in Syria, and tensions over North Korea, human rights have been shunted aside in the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Would maintaining credibility as a global leader on human rights be a priority for your administration, and what would you do to fulfill that leadership role?
Despite strong rhetoric and some committed officials, human rights have increasingly taken a back seat in an Obama administration foreign policy that is focused on managing Russia’s and China’s assertiveness and handling persistent crises in the Middle East. In a world with two or three leading powers, America’s values and its political system are a potent, if in some quarters tarnished, source of differentiation and strength. The American public’s willingness to shoulder the burdens of global engagement hinges in part on security, but also on the belief that the United States can be a force for good in the world.
Hillary Clinton has a powerful track record on women’s rights, LGBT rights, free expression, and other issues; the question for her is how to keep human rights on the agenda in some of the United States’s most important — and fraught — bilateral relationships. Donald Trump has said next to nothing about human rights, beyond embracing waterboarding and “much worse” for terrorist suspects. He should be asked whether upholding and projecting American values of democracy and human rights matters to him personally and will matter to his administration, and how he intends to do so.
Suzanne Nossel is the executive director of the Pen American Center and was formerly deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations at the U.S. State Department.
Q: You both have spoken often and at length on your initial positions, in 2002, on the Iraq war. But neither of you have spoken quite as much explaining your views of the Iraq “surge” in 2007. Secretary Clinton, we know that you opposed the surge: Why? Mr. Trump, how would you characterize your views then and now about President George W. Bush’s surge decision?
Clinton has a well-rehearsed and poll-tested response to any question about the origins of the Iraq war, but she seems less at ease speaking to some of the other no-less important questions about Iraq. She owes it to the men and women who risked their lives fighting in Iraq after 2007 to explain her position, especially since there is a credible source — her close colleague, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — who reports that he heard her explain her anti-surge stance as driven by primary politics, not national security. Trump has been characteristically vague and hard to pin down on his views about the Iraq surge. Given that the next president may well face another situation where a war is going poorly and the commander in chief needs to decide what to do, it would be instructive to hear what they have learned and how they would apply those lessons in the future.
Peter D. Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy and Bass fellow at Duke University, and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. He is the co-editor of Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog.
Q: Should the United States ever use a nuclear weapon if a conventional one would destroy the target just as well?
Back in May, I argued that a lot of things that Donald Trump says about nuclear weapons are exactly what allegedly respectable analysts think — but without fancy words that help defend awful ideas. So what I want to know is whether Clinton thinks differently from Trump, or simply knows her way around the euphemisms of nuclear strategy. So here is a deceptively simple question that my colleague Scott Sagan and I have posed to others.
Politicians like to talk about nuclear deterrence resting on the unique “psychological impact” of nuclear weapons. But military lawyers will tell you that terror-bombing civilians is absolutely forbidden. I don’t see a difference between psychological impact and terror-bombing — other than that one sounds a hell of a lot nicer over coffee in the conference room.
So what are nuclear weapons really for? Destroying targets that conventional weapons can’t get at or terrorizing civilians? It’s a big question, one that’s not terribly polite — but it’s one a president should be able to answer.
Jeffrey Lewis is the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Q: As the United States continues to draw down forces in Afghanistan, are you worried that country will return to being a safe haven for the Taliban and terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and the Islamic State? If so, how would you ensure, militarily and diplomatically, we are actually successful in reducing the drivers of terrorism and extremism that continue to flourish there?
The conflict in Afghanistan has taken a back seat as the world’s attention has shifted to Syria, Iraq, and Russia in recent years. But American and allied troops continue to fight in the United States’s longest war, and stability and peace there are far from certain. Clearly, the drawdown there is a welcome respite from the pains of the battlefield, but turning our attention elsewhere opens the doors for the safe havens that nurtured the masterminds of the attacks of 9/11 to re-emerge. The international community has sacrificed huge amounts of blood and treasure in its effort to reduce the drivers of terrorism and extremism that led to those attacks and the many that have followed. If those efforts have not borne fruit, Clinton and Trump must grapple with the hard questions of whether such a reduction is even possible and, more critically, if the fight to make it so is worthy of U.S. resources and American lives.
Whitney Kassel is a foreign-policy analyst based in New York City. Kassel spent four years with the secretary of defense, where she focused on special operations, counterterrorism, and Pakistan. She also served as a senior director focused on strategic analysis and risk management at the Arkin Group, a private intelligence firm.
Q: The United States pushed hard for the creation of the United Nations after World War II. But relations with the world organization have often been fraught, and over the years some influential U.S. commentators have called for Washington to withdraw from, or radically reduce, its funding of the U.N. The Security Council recently recommended that former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres become the next secretary-general. What would you tell him about how the United States can have an effective relationship with the U.N.?
This election has often been described as a globalist versus nationalist affair, with Clinton defending the U.S.-led international order and Trump questioning major elements of that order — including the U.N., the World Trade Organization, and NATO. Trump’s pushback against the existing order resonates with many Americans — and there’s no shortage of evidence that these organizations are sometimes dysfunctional. But the question of what Trump and his supporters want a new, less-globalized world to look like is murky. Almost everyone thinks some forms of cooperation and coordination between states are essential, and existing international organizations, flawed as they are, facilitate some of that coordination. So, Mr. Trump, let’s hear more about what a less global, de-institutionalized world looks like and how you achieve the global cooperation that even you must acknowledge has to happen for America to succeed in this new age.
David Bosco is an associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of books on the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court and is at work on a new book about governance of the oceans.
Q: How do you explain the necessity of American engagement with the world in terms that matter to people who don’t think about foreign policy? We in the bubble of wonkdom take certain things for granted, like why America should care what Vladimir Putin does in Donetsk or Aleppo. But I have yet to hear a compelling, coherent explanation for why anyone in the Rust Belt should care about the South China Sea. Why is it worth it for Bob and Mary in Des Moines to have some of their tax dollars go into funding Syrian rebels, into funding USAID, or into NATO?
With a friendly geography like ours — two oceans and two friendly neighbors — it can be hard to understand why the rest of the world matters, and matters enough for us to invest resources in it. 9/11 was a dramatic, but ultimately fleeting reminder: the lesson our country drew was to send troops, at tremendous cost, to strange foreign lands, and it didn’t seem to accomplish much. The better example is, well, most of 20th-century history. The wealth our country enjoys today — spread unevenly as it may be — is in many ways the product of our investments abroad: in World War II, in the Marshall Plan, in the EU, in NATO. (The latter, by the way, significantly defrayed our costs of doing battle in Afghanistan, providing tens of thousands of troops.) All of this intensive diplomatic, political, and economic support prevented further armed conflicts in the West — which, lest we forget, was constantly at war with itself for millennia — and helped usher in the Pax Americana, the relative peace and prosperity we have enjoyed for the last few decades and today, the Islamic State notwithstanding.
It’s easy to get used to a good thing, and to forget that a lot of work went into making it a good thing in the first place. It’s also easy to fail to imagine the way our lives would look if the good thing hadn’t been built. That’s not to say that things shouldn’t be tweaked and reformed, but we don’t need to destroy the wheel and reinvent it. We don’t need to keep touching the stove to learn that it’s hot. It’s hot. We know this.
Julia Ioffe is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. She was a senior editor at the New Republic and was the Moscow correspondent for Foreign Policy and the New Yorker from 2009 to 2012.
Q: Do you think the process you have gone through, and have a few more weeks to endure, is the best way to find a commander in chief?
I ask this because the electoral system seems particularly screwy this year. The people are volatile. There seems to be a lot of distrust of elites. So I’d like to know how they would do things different, if they could.
I’ve got a few of my own thoughts on whether there is a better way to do this: Of course there is. I know, it seems almost un-American to suggest the notion. After all, are we not the best, most thoughtful, expansive, exceptional country in the world?
Yes, sometimes we are. And sometimes we are just a bunch of spoiled fuck-ups. Right now, we have a political system that is close to derailment, yet no one seems to be thinking about how to improve it. We are not a paragon of democracy. Instead, we may be an instructive tale in how the people can lose control of their government without realizing it.
First, I think we need to reconsider the role of money in politics. I am all for free speech. But I am not for considering corporations to be people. Kick them out of politics. This is not just a rap on Republicans. Democrats kowtow to Wall Street as much as Republicans, even more sometimes. I am not a big Bernie Sanders fan, but I do agree with his comment that Congress no longer regulates Wall Street, but instead is regulated by it. I think Americans deserve to hear what the candidates really think.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Foreign Policy illustration
Correction, Oct. 8, 2016: The Helms Amendment bars the use of foreign assistance funds for the “performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions” and thus denies lifesaving measures for women raped and now pregnant worldwide. A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to this as the Hyde Amendment.