Note: This is the second in a series of three columns leading up to the Nov. 6 election. Last week, campus Republicans challenged Democrats on healthcare. Here, they argue foreign policy. The final column will focus on the economy.
The 2012 presidential election is only weeks away and foreign policy will take center stage during the final presidential debate. Allow me to set the record straight on the failure of Obama’s foreign policy and how Gov. Mitt Romney will set a smarter, more effective course for American foreign policy.
Cutting defense spending and creating a “hallow” force in the wake of more than a decade of war is not the answer to our fiscal problems. It is irresponsible in light of thousands of troops who are still fighting in Afghanistan and hundreds of thousands of troops and their families who still need their nation’s financial and moral support as they return home.
The military will soon enter a “reset phase” that will require increased funding just to return to a baseline of readiness. A Romney Administration will reverse these arbitrary defense cuts, maintain defense spending at a minimum of 4 percent of our gross domestic product and ensure a strong US military to preserve American interests.
The American mission in Afghanistan is failing under the president’s leadership. The arbitrary withdrawal timeline for United States troops is a mistake and a decision that is in defiance of his Generals’ advice. Gov. Romney will conduct a comprehensive review of Afghanistan policy and make a decision based on the conditions on the ground. An arbitrary withdrawal date is an insult to the thousands of lives lost, money spent and efforts made in supporting the Afghanistan government and its people.
The monumental changes occurring throughout the Middle East have been observed by an Obama Administration that is comfortable with “leading from behind.” This is a watershed moment for the future of a region that contains vital American interests, however, President Obama has remained on the sidelines.
Consider the tragic loss of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The failure to answer the requests for increased security was a dereliction of duty and negligence by the Administration. Obama allowed his Secretary of State to take the blame, and, disappointingly, the buck stopped there. Americans see more of the same inaction in Syria. Obama punted the problem to the United Nations.
Obama’s failure to lead undermines American influence and leaves our international friends wary of our commitment to stability in the region. Iran continues to defy the Obama administration by advancing its nuclear program.
Obama’s demonstrated weakness forced the hand of our Israeli ally to draw a red line on Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu realized he was on his own since Obama wants “daylight” between the United States and Israel.
A Romney Administration will reaffirm our alliance with the state of Israel and ensure its security and prosperity as a beacon of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Gov. Romney will expand America’s sphere of influence with private business initiatives internationally.
He will remove the unnecessary regulations on foreign direct investment, incentivize US companies to invest, and establish strong relationships with foreign governments through business cooperation. Gov. Romney understands, much more than Obama, the positive impact US companies can have on the international community and their ability to spread American influence, ideals and economic prosperity.
The choice of the American people is a choice between two different approaches to American foreign policy. It is a choice between President Obama’s “lead from behind” strategy and Gov. Romney’s strategy of American strength through American military, economic and diplomatic power.