Presidential debates in the United States are often decried as scripted, meaningless theater. The contests do, though, feature spontaneity and tension, which is why tens of millions of Americans watch, and also why campaigns spend weeks preparing for the showdowns. The debate during which the candidates customarily grapple with America’s place in the world would be slightly more meaningful if it were held in a worldlier place.

Justin D. Martin is a journalism professor at Northwestern University in Qatar. Follow him on Twitter: @Justin_D_Martin