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Illinois State Panel Discusses Implications Of The Presidential Election

This story was written by Alex Kantecki, The Daily Vidette

Regardless of who wins next Tuesday's election, international and domestic issues will continue to dominate national headlines.

"Things won't be too much different no matter the outcome," Ali Riaz, Illinois State University chairperson of politics and government, said in a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon. "Both candidates have similar stances on these issues."

Riaz, along with professors Julie Webber and Robert Bradley, spoke about the most important issues for the next administration in "The 2008 Presidential Election: Implications for Domestic and Foreign Policies."

"The world is not going to change between now and November 4," Riaz said. "The same problems are going to stick for the next administration."

"Whoever becomes the next president will inherit the same problems as the Bush administration."

According to Riaz, there are two major challenges for the next president.

"First, the new administration will have to do something to reestablish respect from the international community," Riaz said. "As of right now, any foreign policy initiated by the United States would have a hard time being successful."

"Global polls show ... that nations view the United States in a negative light."

The second challenge is engagement.

"We don't talk to our friends, to our allies, to our enemies, to anyone," Riaz said. "We have totally disengaged ourselves from the entire international community."

In order to prove the United States is internationally aware, the next president must act within the first 30 days of office, Riaz said.

"One single event can act as a litmus test to show the international community that the United States is moving in another direction," Riaz said. "The United States can change its position on Pakistan by choosing to no longer provide billions of dollars to an undemocratic regime."

Professor Julie Webber shed light on gender equality issues in the election.

"The majority of women on television are seen representing the McCain campaign," Webber said. "But just because women are on television doesn't mean the McCain campaign is more attuned to gender quality issues."

"All those women are from the Independent Women's Forum, a group of women who believe women have already achieved equality with men."

There are still gender issues that still need to be addressed, such as reviewing the Fair Pay Act, Webber said.

Professor Robert Bradley discussed the impact of having a potential 60-seat Senate favoring the Democrats and urged everyone to pay attention to how it affects Senate races.

"Everyone's [Senate] campaign is revolved around the number 60," Bradley said. "'Vote for me' so the Democrats get to 60 or 'vote for the other guy' so the Democrats don't get to 60."

"This is a crucial number because it determines what party controls the Senate and how much power Obama could hold."

Wednesday's panel discussion was part of the International Seminar Series, offered every Wednesday at noon on the third floor of the Bone Student Center.

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