Foreign policy can actually be determinant for the upcoming campaign, since protection is the president’s first duty. Therefore, he cannot be charged with putting forth a certain policy just by generalizations about fellow Republicans or the party. President Obama, however, can, since he has been Commander-in-Chief for the past four years.
Obama’s most recent blunder was his attendance, or lack of it, at UN meetings. According to CNN, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spent the span of the UN General Assembly talking with leaders and foreign ministers of various countries. Obama gave a speech on Sept. 25, but did not schedule meetings with foreign leaders, according to CBS News. Nancy Cordes of CBS News criticized Obama for not only spending only 24 hours in New York City during the General Assembly, but for taping a show for The View instead of planning meetings with any of the 120 world leaders at the UN. Although he mentioned the Libya victims in his speech, his insincerity in solving the problem is shown by his lack of commitment to any meetings. This perfectly exemplifies Obama’s desire to campaign over fulfilling presidential duties. CNN notes that Clinton plans to drop the position after this year, even if Obama is reelected.
Outside of the UN, Obama showed passiveness after the terrible tragedy at the U.S. embassy in Libya. Extremists killed four Americans, including J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Stevens had a vision for Libya to become a democratic nation and his death was mourned by Americans and Libyans alike. According to the New York Times, the attack resulted in the first violent death of an ambassador since 1979. This brings us back to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Like President Carter, Obama fails to give the security and resources the ambassadors, military and Americans abroad need. Only after the attack, Obama provided more security in Libya. Vice President Joe Biden brought up the Libyan crisis in the debate. The State Department wanted more security in Libya, but Biden said, “We did not know they wanted more security there.” The comment is less than truthful. According to New York Daily News, the State Department turned down a U.S. security official’s request for more security. The Americans that perform their duties abroad should have more protection if they wish, at any cost.
The other problem is that Obama really undermines the crisis in the Middle East. According to the Washington Post, the attackers were connected to, but not directed by Al Qaeda. Instead, the pro-Islam group Ansar al-Sharia provided the people and weapons. In an interview on 60 Minutes, Obama called the losses in the Middle East, such as the murder of the four Americans, “bumps in the road.” Obama seemed to undermine losses such as Stevens, despite giving a somber speech at the UN.
In regards to Iran, Obama does not take their nuclear weapon program seriously. When asked on 60 minutes about the Israeli prime minister’s pressure for a red line on Iran’s nuclear development, Obama responded, “When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.” The “noise” refers to pressure to hinder Iran’s nuclear weapon development.
Romney does not undermine the threats of Iran and its potential nuclear weapons. He wants to prevent an arms race remnant of the Cold War in the Middle East. His solution is to isolate Iran while coordinating with U.S. allies using military.
Alliances are crucial in Romney’s view. According to his campaign website, he not only wants to emphasize a strong alliance with Israel, but Egypt as well. Romney wants to ensure an Egyptian-Israeli alliance that started with President Carter with military and economic assistance to Egypt. He also believes that the alliances show America’s strength to adversaries. On Obama’s little communication with Israel on 60 Minutes, Romney said, “I think it is a mistake and it sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends, and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.”
The best time to find out about foreign policy is to watch the upcoming debate on Oct. 22. It is the last chance to see the two candidates face off with the pressure of responding to each other.
By Emily Leayman