Samantha Power & Niall Ferguson: Face-off over foreign policy

Historians in the News

Last week in Toronto, Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and former adviser to Barack Obama, was uncharacteristically downbeat. In the green room, following the inaugural Munk Debate, the normally plucky Ms. Power crumpled herself up into a lounge chair. Nursing a glass of red wine, she interspersed a flurry of brow-furrowed cellphone calls by beckoning passers-by to explain to her the debate's unexpected outcome.

And, an unexpected outcome it was. Going into the debate, only 21% of the assembled audience agreed with the motion that "the world is a safer place with a Republican in the White House." Two hours later, this mostly liberal and deeply anti-Bush crowd had a profound change of heart: 43% ended up voting for the motion.

The debate previewed three highly effective arguments -- put forward with devastating effect by the formidable Charles Krauthammer, and historian Niall Ferguson -- for why America, Canada and the world will be safer if John Mc-Cain and the Republicans form the next U. S. administration.

First, John McCain is not George W. Bush. The Republican nominee's positions on a host of issues -- most notably climate change, torture and the need for more multilateral diplomacy -- are the opposite of those held by the current occupant of the White House. Listening to Niall Ferguson summarize the foreign-policy agenda of a McCain presidency, it is hard to see much, if any, daylight between the global outlook of the Republican nominee and the majority of the policy positions held by Canadian government today. Simply put, John McCain offers Americans, and the world, a return to a more pragmatic and predictable role for the United States.

When the debate turned to the future of America's involvement in Iraq, Charles Krauthammer was able, amazingly, to fight Ms. Power to a draw on whether the world would be a less safe place if the occupation continued....
Read entire article at Rudyard Griffiths in the National Post (Canada)

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