Here are 21 questions, in no specific order of importance, that Wolf Blitzer should consider asking the Republican contenders at tonight’s CNN foreign policy-focused presidential primary debate in Washington, D.C. I have little doubt he will be reading The Daily Caller to prepare. The list is far from exhaustive.
1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you attack Iranian nuclear facilities to stop the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons?
2. American intelligence officials believe that Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, has supported terrorist groups that have attacked American and Indian interests. Would you place Pakistan on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism?
3. Pakistan has given recent American administrations much difficulty. On one hand, the ISI seemingly sponsors terrorism against American interests and it is hard to believe that some elements of the Pakistani government or military did not know where Osama bin Laden was hiding in their country. On the other hand, Pakistan does provide some level of help fighting terrorism and logistically for America’s mission in Afghanistan. America also does have a strong interest in not seeing the nuclear power fall into the hands of Islamist radicals. How, exactly, would you handle Pakistan as president?
4. Should Cuba remain on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism? If so, explain why?
5. Would you continue the Cuban embargo as president? If so, what is the rational for enforcing an embargo on Cuba and not one on China?
6. Is it important to always maintain consistency in America’s foreign policy? Why or why not?
7. How would you have handled things differently than President Obama with regards to the Egyptian Revolution? If you think it was a mistake that Hosni Mubarak was forced from power, please give specific actions you would have taken to have helped him maintain control.
8. If the next Libyan regime turns out to be friendlier to the United States and less oppressive to its people than Gaddhafi’s — which is currently far from certain — would that not vindicate President Obama’s Libya strategy?
9. Do you believe the 21st century can be another American century and, if so, what three steps would you take as president to ensure that it is?
10. Do you support cutting the defense budget? If so, how would you reduce America’s role in the world in accordance with the diminished defense budget?
11. Do you think the CIA should be prohibited, as they currently are, from assassinating political leaders who are immense threats to America and American interests — such as Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War? Would it not have been worth taking him out to avoid a larger military confrontation? Why or why not?
12. Should America continue to tolerate the abysmally low defense expenditures of European countries, which are essentially subsidized by the American security blanket? If not, how do you intend to cajole European countries into spending more?
13. Who are some people you would consider for Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State?
14. In what areas, if any, would you continue President Obama’s foreign policy initiatives as president?
15. How important should promoting liberal democracy abroad be to American foreign policy?
16. The American military is slated to withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year. But after nearly nine years of bloodshed, why shouldn’t America want to maintain a military presence in Iraq like it has in Germany and South Korea?
17. Did you support President Obama’s decision to kill American born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki? If yes, how would you determine when it was appropriate for the United States to commit an extrajudicial killing of an American citizen? If no, how exactly would you have eliminated the serious threat al-Awlaki posed to the American homeland? Would you have risked the lives of American soldiers by sending them into Yemen to try to capture him?
18. Should the United States maintain relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? What if they rise to power through democratic elections?
19. Do you believe America can achieve victory in Afghanistan? How do you define victory? And would you send more troops to Afghanistan if the commanders on the ground said it was necessary to achieve victory?
20. If the outcome in Afghanistan is a stable country friendly to the United States and cooperative in fighting terror, but ruled by a dictator, would you consider that a success?
21. How would you deal with the threat posed by North Korea? Be specific. Very specific.