Obama’S Foreign Policy: Two Years Later


During his campaign, President Obama made it clear that he wanted to change the course of U.S. foreign policy.

“We all know that these are not the best of times for America’s reputation in the world,” he said in 2007, adding that his foreign policy wouldn’t be predicated on “a belief that tough talk can replace real strength and vision.” The vision was messianic: If we joined then-Senator Obama, we could “begin the world anew.”

The president has now had two years to usher in his vision of an America more attuned to the “sensitivities” of the world. Some highlights:

In a meeting with the president of Kazakhstan, “President Obama reminded his Kazakh counterpart that we, too, are working to improve our democracy,” as one of his National Security Council staffers put it.

President Obama pledged to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within a year of his taking office, a task that has proved easier campaigned on than done. The closure would purportedly show that America is “living our values.”

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner told the press that the U.S. brought up Arizona’s immigration law “early and often” in a meeting with Chinese officials on human rights. “It was mentioned in the first session and as a troubling trend in our society, and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination,” he said.

The Obama administration joined the United Nations Human Rights Council, a forum where some of the world’s worst human rights violators can preen and pontificate, and completed a Universal Periodic Review report on human rights conditions in the U.S. Recently, the U.S. sat in judgment before the group and was on the receiving end of harsh criticism from the likes of Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan. And the president seems unwilling to ever take no for an answer from the Iranian government.

Despite the president’s overtures of appeasement, the world remains just as dangerous — if not more dangerous — as it was on Jan. 19, 2008. Iran, for example, continues its development of nuclear weapons apace, and terrorists continue to threaten our homeland.

The recent mail bomb plot demonstrates that terrorists are continuing to hunt for ways to exploit weaknesses in our security. And they will continue trying, regardless of whether the United States joins the U.N. Human Rights Council or closes the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Militant Islamist terrorists seek to destroy Western culture and governments. They may have grievances with certain policies of our government, but those policies don’t, by themselves, motivate their violence.

As we have seen, the terrorists will try to attack us no matter the president and no matter the policies.

It’s not just the United States that is threatened by the militant Islamist ideology, but all Western societies. Our country can best demonstrate its leadership in the world by pursuing the terrorists and preventing them from launching terrorist attacks. That is the proper course in dealing with those who wish to do us harm.

Sen. Jon Kyl is the Senate Republican Whip and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. Visit his Web site at www.kyl.senate.


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