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The World According to Last Night’s Debate

By Matthew Yglesias  

"The World According to Last Night’s Debate"

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Mark Goldberg’s got a map of which countries made the cut in last night’s debate:

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He links to Mike Tomasky who says:

Foreign policy in these debates means: Iraq, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan and Russia. And that’s it. China — China! — barely came up. India and Pakistan (Pakistan came up in the Afghanistan context, but wouldn’t you think that maybe the new nuclear agreement between the US and India, concluded just last week for gosh sakes, might make an appearance?). Forget Africa and Latin America of course, except the obligatory quick Darfur mention. How about Syria and Lebanon? The occupied territories (“Israel,” above, means only that both candidates have to pledge they’ll defend Israel, and then they can move on having checked that box, but as to actual discussion of the West Bank and Gaza and the peace process, nada). No questions on torture. No questions on restoring America’s standing in the world, though Obama did work in a mention of it. And so on.

But forget strict “foreign policy” concerns — just think about the financial crisis. You can’t understand the modern economy without understanding its international dimensions. But missing from that list is the second (Japan), third (Germany), fourth (China), fifth (UK), sixth (France), seventh (Italy), eighth (Spain), ninth (Canada), and tenth (Brazil) largest countries by GDP along with one of America’s neighbors (Mexico) and the country with the largest population (India). Now you probably couldn’t discuss all of those countries, but it’s still a kind of strikingly narrow view of the world.

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