Gary Johnson Shut Out: Presidential Debate Excludes the Libertarian Yet Again


The third and final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is Monday night at 9pm in Boca Raton, Florida, and it will focus exclusively on foreign policy. Unfortunately, Libertarian presidential nominee will not be participant, as he has failed to garner the necessary 15% in a national poll for inclusion in the debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Johnson's views will be sorely needed tonight, as Obama and Romney will take turns blustering about how "tough" they are/will be on foreign policy.

There is little difference between the foreign policy prescriptions of Obama and Romney. 

As a Republican, Romney has reflexively run to the right of Obama on every issue, especially foreign policy. But given Obama's overall hawkishness in this realm, Romney has essentially come off as just another neoconservative. Indeed, many of Romney's foreign policy advisers are recycled Bush administration neocons.

That should concern anyone who's hoping to avoid another Iraq-like disaster in the Middle East or anywhere else. On foreign policy, Obama has been pro-active and interventionist. 

Despite his administration's claims that Obama is winding down the war in Afghanistan, there are more U.S. soldiers there now than when he took office. 

With Iraq, Obama tried (unsuccessfully) to get the Iraqis to disregard the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by the Bush administration and allow a continued U.S. troop presence. 

In February 2011, Obama commenced a months-long bombing campaign of Libya under humanitarian pretenses without any authorization from Congress whatsoever.

Regarding drones, Obama has increased the number of drone strikes, and also the number of countries in which they are now taking place. In September 2011, the administration assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki — a U.S. citizen — via drone strike without Constitutional due process because the administration said he was al Qaeda's chief propagandist. Two weeks later, a U.S. drone strike killed Awlaki's 16-year old son. 

On Iran, the Obama administraion has imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, while maintaining a massive U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf, within easy striking distance of the country. Obama has repeatedly stated, rather cryptically, that when it comes to Iran's nuclear program, that "all options are on the table."

Concerning Israel, Obama has continued the flow of billions of dollars in unconditional aid and arms to the country, despite continued settlement-building in the Occupied Territories, in direct violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. In January 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a resolution that would have condemned the building of illegal settlements on Palestinian territory. The vote was 14 to 1 in favor, but failed. Furthermore, when the Palestinians sought, and received, admission to UNESCO by a vote of 107 to 14, the U.S. responded by withdrawing funding from the sub-organization. 

Although Gary Johnson's approach to foreign policy is desperately needed, good luck finding anything resembling his positions during Monday's presidential debate.