Foreign Policy and America’s Presidential Campaign

NEW YORK – It is impossible to know whom American voters will choose as their next president. But it is certain that the choice will have profound consequences, for better and for worse, for the entire world.

More than anything else, this reflects the continuing reality of American power. It also reflects the near-certainty that the next president will inherit a world in considerable turmoil. What he or she chooses to do, and how he or she chooses to do it, will matter a great deal to people everywhere.

That said, it is difficult to know what role foreign policy will play in determining who will next occupy the Oval Office. The 2016 election is still 17 months away. A lot can, and will, happen between now and then.

Two related but distinct political processes – the Democratic and Republican parties’ nominating contests – will play out over the next year. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner, though her nomination is not a foregone conclusion. In any case, foreign policy probably will play little role in the decision, as the issues that most concern voters likely to participate in the Democratic primary elections are domestic and economic in nature.