Old-fashioned Televised Debates a Thing of The Past: The WIP Participates in Online Presidential Forum
by Katharine Daniels
Executive Editor, The WIP
On Monday afternoon Managing Editor Patricia Vásquez and I changed gears and filmed seven questions The WIP wants answered by the next President of The United States. Reporting to you from behind a camera is something I will certainly have to get used to, but nonetheless these powerful questions coming from Bahrain, Malawi, Argentina, Germany, Zimbabwe and the USA get to the heart of the US policies that matter most to the international community.
In a July 1st editorial, WIP contributor Suad Hamada of Bahrain expressed her ardent hope that the next US administration would close the highly controversial, much-criticized US Prison, Guantánamo Bay. In its five years of operation, Guantánamo Bay has held 775 detainees, six of whom were from Bahrain. According to The US Department of Defense, as of November 11th, 320 are still incarcerated. Amnesty International reports that while many prisoners have been released, others have simply been transferred to the custody of other countries. Suad Hamada asks the next US President, Will you close Guantánamo Bay? What will you do with the 320 detainees still incarcerated?
WIP contributor Pilirani Semu-Banda of Malawi reported in her June 17th Special Election Coverage Editorial that Africa is the continent richest in natural resources, yet because it is also the continent most affected by global climate change, Africa’s critically reduced rainfall is triggering dramatic loss of productive land. Moreover, the $35 million in USAID that goes to Malawi every year is vital for rural economic development, basic education, and healthcare for people in our poor nation. She notes that Senator Barack Obama has argued that advancements in stability and living conditions in poor nations would minimize their interest in terrorism and thereby reinforce the security of Americans. The question she poses to the candidates is, Do you agree that increased aid to Africa is not only essential to US interests but a responsibility the US cannot afford to ignore?
A very important issue addressed in Cecelia Fuentes October 17th article is farm subsidies. Farm subsidies in the US no longer go to family farms. Instead over $20 billion a year in subsidies are paid to huge corporations growing only a handful of crops for profit and not for food. Farm subsidies, she points out, not only distort many aspects of the US economy, but they negatively affect our standing internationally within the WTO. In addition, subsidizing agri-business means subsidizing wasteful practices in livestock growing and pesticide use that are damaging our environment. She asks the candidates, Do you believe the farm subsidy programs need to be reformed? As President, would you support a bill that limited, if not eliminated our present enormous agricultural subsidies? Would you veto a farm bill from Congress that failed to substantially reduce these subsidies?
Our News Editor Louise Belfrage has twice addressed growing Anti-Americanism on The Byline Portal. On June 29th she posted a report from Turkey that found the Turkish public dislikes the United States more than any other nation in the world. On September 29th she posted a story from Germany’s Deutsche Welle that reported 48 percent of Germans think that the US is a greater threat to world peace than Iran. Louise asks the candidates, As President, how would you approach the continuously rising anti-Americanism? What is your view on the causes of it and what can by done on behalf of the US to better its international moral standing?
The WIP Content and Photo Editor Sarah McGowan is concerned that the US has virtually locked itself out of the international discussion on climate change. Sarah asks the next President of the nation that is the leader in greenhouse gas emissions, If you become President, will you sign the Kyoto Protocol?
As The Bush Administration pushes its plan for a missile system in Eastern Europe which it claims is urgently needed to protect the US against an attack by Iran, European reporter Vera von Kreutzbruck asks the candidates, What is your stance with respect to the US’s plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic?
Zimbabwean Journalist Lelety Mabasa wants to know if the next President of the United States plans to follow in George Bush’s footsteps by placing military action at the forefront of his or her foreign policy agenda while reducing the amount of urgently needed USAID to the developing world. Lelety asks, In what way will your foreign policy differ from President Bush’s, which includes both the “War on Terror” and critical reductions in USAID to developing countries such as Zimbabwe? Will you commit to using diplomacy instead of unilateral military action? Do you believe that military action is ever an effective means of exporting democracy?
Each of these questions has been submitted individually to the 10Questions Presidential Forum. Thanks to 10Questions, everyone has an opportunity to ask a question of the candidates. In order to get the candidates to respond, we need your help. Please visit the 10Questions website and be sure to vote on all The WIP submissions. To visit The WIP's videos directly click here, or enter my username "katedaniels" in the "Search" box on the front page of the 10Questions website.
Thank you for helping us win the opportunity to get our writers questions responded to by all the candidates!