Yesterday, at the Virginia Military Institute, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney revisited the bombing in Libya that killed Chris Stevens and criticized President Barack Obama’s failure to handle the attack and declare the attack as terrorism. According to the New York Times, Romney criticized the President, because he lacked a sufficient counterterrorism policy and did not make the most of on the Arab Spring uprisings. He stated that Obama has “[failed] to shape history in the Middle East.” The video can be seen in the above link. In his speech Romney stated, “Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our president is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity.” Granted, rebels fighting for freedom would perhaps like American intervention and aid; however, Romney fails to recognize that the American public does not want more war and in his speech he is unclear about his position to provide lethal aid overseas. In addition, Romney finally declares his stance on his foreign policy in Iran, “I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf…for the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions — not just words — that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.’’
He also criticizes Obama for “leading from behind” and for lacking assertiveness in regards to counter terrorism. The Obama administration quickly responded to Romney’s attack by pointing out the inconsistency in Romney’s statements. Romney has flip-flopped his position regarding Obama’s Libya policies and has not provided substantive information regarding his foreign policy ideas. Granted, this is a good tactic for the presidential candidate, but some argue that Obama’s foreign policy record is far more impressive. Obama helped execute the killing of Osama bin Laden, he announced a schedule to withdraw of troops from Afghanistan, ended the Iraq war, and is conscious about engaging in additional conflicts in the Middle East.
Romney’s staff claims that the point of his speech, “was to discuss missed opportunities in the Obama foreign policy and to argue that killing Osama bin Laden and conducting drone strikes in Pakistan at record rates does not constitute a strategy” (New York Times).
In the debate last Wednesday, Romey stated that he would stop funding to PBS and any program that isn’t critical and worth borrowing money from China. When President Obama was in Keene California on Monday, for the dedication of a memorial to Caesar Chavez, someone shoved a stuffed big bird in front of Obama in protest to Romney’s statements.
I think this action shows that people also care about the little things that government does in addition to the overall problem of our deficient, and regarding foreign policy Obama’s policies are more aligned with the interests of the American public. Fortunately for both candidates there will be more opportunities to discuss foreign policy in the upcoming debates.