The NY Times poses some questions for Obama and McCain on national security:
NYT: 1. Afghan officials have charged that some elements of the Pakistani government are seeking to undermine their country by giving sanctuary to Taliban and Qaeda groups that cross the border to attack Afghanistan. Would you launch large-scale armed attacks against terrorists in Pakistan if the new government there is unwilling — or unable — to suppress these groups and refuses to give United States forces permission to act? Or are you willing to put the Afghan regime at risk in order to play for time in Pakistan, hoping that a more successful government will emerge in Islamabad, and fearing that any attempt to use force there will result in a nuclear-armed anti-Western state?
2. For some years now, the world has watched while ethnic cleansing — even genocide — has gripped Darfur. Are you prepared to announce the rules for American intervention for humanitarian purposes and, if so, what would those rules be? Would you be willing to organize a coalition of states to intervene? Or should the United States defer to the United Nations or regional organizations — even when they are deadlocked and unable to act?
3. It has been more than five years since the United States-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power. How long should American troops remain in Iraq if American commanders on the ground state that withdrawal would lead to chaos? That is, should the United States withdraw according to a predetermined timetable, even if the consequences appear dire for Iraq? Or should troops remain indefinitely until their withdrawal can be assured to leave behind a stable Iraq?
4. Would you authorize the use of force by the United States — or collaborate with Israel — to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons if it appears that diplomatic efforts are failing to bring about substantial progress in this regard? If not, what further incentives would you offer Iran to end its nuclear programs? For example, would you be willing to press Israel to do away with its own nuclear weapons as part of a regionwide de-nuclearization? What incentives would you be prepared to offer Israel to desist from a pre-emptive attack? Would you be willing, for instance, to give Israel a place under the United States nuclear umbrella?
5. The Supreme Court recently held that prisoners taken in the war against terror are entitled to habeas corpus review in the federal courts. Is it sensible to speak of a “war” on terror, or is this a struggle that should be principally handled by law enforcement? Should suspected terrorists be given the same protections as ordinary criminals — like the right to confront their accusers and the right not to be tried by illegally obtained evidence? Or should there be special rules for the trials of terror suspects, or even a special court that would hold secret trials?
6. In light of United Nations Security Council inaction in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, critics have said that the United Nations is not an effective instrument for confronting rogue states, terror and genocide. Do you favor expanding NATO, or using it as a model for creating an alliance of democracies? If you do, would such an alliance require unanimity of its members for action? Or, if you oppose creating such a group, how should the United States confront crises when the council is paralyzed?
7. What if anything should the United States do to further trade negotiations after the collapse of the Doha round in Geneva? Should the United States try to revive multilateral talks, and, if so, how? Do you support bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama? Should the United States abrogate Nafta if Canada and Mexico will not revise the agreement to our liking? Read more.