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Obama's Effective Foreign Policies

Christian Patterson |
October 17, 2012 | 10:55 a.m. PDT


"Obama's Effective Foreign Policies" is part three of the series "Political Perspectives."

(Dawn Megli / Creative Commons)
(Dawn Megli / Creative Commons)

I hated scary movies when I was a little kid. When I couldn’t find the TV remote fast enough to turn away to a commercial during one of the 35 sequels to Saw, or if I let my older brother convince me to watch a Scream movie, I would be terrified for days.

Before going to bed I’d look in my closet for bad guys, check under the bed for monsters, and bribe my dog with dinner leftovers to ensure she slept in my room for the night.

The good news here is that I’m no longer five years old and deathly afraid that there’s danger lurking behind every corner. The bad news is that most members of the Republican Party embrace a vision of the global arena that is reminiscent of a mindset I left behind in kindergarten.

One of the most commonly spewed GOP talking points during this election cycle is how much more dangerous the world has become during the Obama presidency. Watching Mitt Romney give a speech on foreign policy is like watching a bad Cold War spy film where there’s always an evil Soviet looking to karate chop America in the face.

Let there be no doubt, our nation has its fair share of enemies, and there are plenty of people out there who want to hurt us. But to buy into Republican fear mongering when considering Obama’s foreign policy agenda is no better than being the kid who’s deathly afraid Freddy Krueger is going to show up in his dreams.

Let's pretend for a moment that we actually live in the alternative universe Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have created to convince people that President Obama is hell-bent on destroying America. Even if we lived in this world, and  even if the President wanted to destroy American military might and make us a much less-safe nation, he would be unable to undermine the fundamentals of U.S. power in the world.

The United States has 5,113 nuclear weapons. We have 662 overseas bases located in 38 different countries on six different continents. We have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and despite a terrible financial crisis, we still have the largest GDP (a statistic long considered the defining aspect of international power) of any nation on the planet. I hardly think that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the Kim Il Sung are ready to challenge American military might.

The only fronts on which the United States is truly vulnerable (in terms of attacks by non-state actors, such as terrorists) are areas of foreign policy in which the Obama administration has excelled. To quote President Obama himself, “Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al Qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether Obama engages in appeasement.” He led a surge in Afghanistan that recommitted us to the region and ensured that al-Qaeda could not return.

One of the President's first foreign policy initiatives was to get the world’s major powers to take the threat of “loose nukes” seriously and take precautions to ensure that they didn’t fall into the hands of terrorists.

Obama has exerted enough pressure on international actors to allow for strict standards on Iran; sanctions that are crushing its economy. He’s reset relations with Russia – the nation that Romney calls our biggest enemy – and has added new stability and accountability to that relationship.

He’s orchestrated a strategic shift in our diplomatic and political resources to effectively manage the rise of China.

He’s rebuilt essential alliances with nations spurned by the Bush Administration and its unilateral policies. There’s a reason President Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Americans have a choice this November. They can choose a President with a well-established approach to foreign policy that protects the fundamentals of U.S. power in the world while ensuring that our nation is kept safe from real threats. Or, we can elect a sable-rattler, a man who is too fixated on checking the closet for monsters to recognize the realities of what keeps America safe.


Editor's Note: Read an article explaining why Obama's foreign policies are flawed here.

Read parts one and two of the series "Political Perspectives" here.



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