Raleigh, N.C. — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, Republican challenger Thom Tillis and Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh all say they are deeply concerned about several hot spots around the globe, especially the threat posed by Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.
But the three candidates in the U.S. Senate race differ on how best to protect Americans and American interests.
"I'd actually like to have a president and a senator who stop reacting and start leading," Tillis said.
Hagan said she supports President Barack Obama's approach so far, but she said he needs to ask Congress for approval before attempting any more military action in the Middle East.
"I don't think you can wage this kind of military incursion without (ground forces), but those boots on the ground must be those moderate Syrian rebels, the Iraqis, the Kurds, the peshmerga," she said.
Tillis agreed that American allies have to share the responsibilities and that any vote for American troops must be carefully weighed. Still, he said his decisions would be different than Hagan's.
"Sen. Hagan said (in a debate) that ISIS is the single greatest terrorist threat in the world. Now, how on Earth can a sitting senator say that and then rubber-stamp the inaction and the reactions of this president?" he said.
Haugh's concerns with U.S. foreign policy extend beyond the Middle East to the hostilities between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels. He said he believes the U.S. and Russia are involved in another Cold War.
"It disturbs me very deeply," he said. "It makes me wonder if (the Cold War) ever really stopped."