I keep meaning to write this post, and then keep not doing it. But the point is to whine that the primary candidates aren't dealing with the questions that I want answers to. In particular, they talk a lot about Iraq, and to some extent about Darfur, but very little about slightly more abstract foreign policy issues. Some things I'm curious about (with parentheticals to note partial exceptions) that I haven't seen the contenders deal with:

  • Do you think it might help US non-proliferation policy if the US did a better job of living up to its NPT obligations (Obama mentioned this once, in the affirmative, briefly, in a speech)?
  • Should unilateral preventive military force play a role in our non-proliferation policy question?
  • Is turning Arab countries into democracies necessary (or sufficient) to reducing terrorism? Is it counterproductive?
  • Is it more important to check Chinese influence or to maintain friendly relations with China?
  • Has the Bush administration been too focused on the Greater Middle East at the expense of other regions?
  • Is US defense spending too low, too high, or about right?
  • Should we rethink our relationship with our Arab client regimes?

I agree with Mark Schmitt that "detailed plans" can be overrated, but at the same time I envy the ability of domestic policy pressure groups to make the candidates try to address their concerns.