Mideast chaos throws prez race a curveball
Where's the foreign affairs?
For months, people had been asking when foreign policy would finally emerge as an actual topic in the presidential race, the president being commander in chief and all.
Well, be careful what you wish for.
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All it took was a 15-minute trailer for a purposely inflammatory hate movie making the YouTube rounds of the Middle East. Before you knew it, the region was in flames. Decent people were dying. And the Arab Spring had sprung all over the American presidential election of 2012.
It's not like there's nothing to talk about.
That part of the world is changing -- fast and profoundly. The old despots are going or gone, and no one can say much with certainty about whoever's settling in next. There are reasons for hopefulness, quite a few in Libya, where the people voted in a relatively moderate government after decades of dictatorial abuse.
Up until now, Obama's been happy to rest on his Osama laurels. Romney's been happy to avoid a topic he seems to know little about. The polls all say Americans are far more concerned about their job prospects and household incomes than about anything that's happening in Cairo, Benghazi or Khartoum.
And then, as it so often does, the world began erupting around us, repeating a lesson taught so many times before in so many different ways.
You may not care much about the outside world. But the outside world definitely cares about you.
1. Between Iran and a hard place
2. Gaddafi just misunderstood?
3. With friends like Bibi. . .
4. Prophet and loss
5. Seen the movie yet?
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THE NEWS IN SONG: People dying for no reason at all: "Pure Massacre," tinyurl.com/foraffs
LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT PATROHAY
He's just showing up in Ronkonkoma now. But Scott Patrohay isn't coming alone. As president of Cummins Power Systems, he's dropping 30 new jobs-decent salaries, solid bennies, and a company that's been around almost a century into a shell of a building on Veterans Memorial Boulevard. At a more robust time, this might be ho-hum news. But new jobs, real jobs, industrial-sales jobs on Long Island in 2012? Stop the presses, now! Back in 1919, company founder Clessie Lyle Cummins was one of the first to recognize the enormous commercial potential of an engine technology invented at the turn of the century by Rudolf Diesel. Last year, the parent company had $18 billion in sales. Welcome to the neighborhood.
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