News / USA

Critics Question Obama Doctrine

Critics Question Obama Doctrinei
X
Luis Ramirez
May 16, 2014 12:43 AM
President Barack Obama's foreign policy has come under criticism, not just from Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits, but also from centrists who accuse the president of taking an approach they describe as unclear, weak, and isolationist. Others say the president's strategy is in line with American public opinion, which has been shaped by a more than a decade of war. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez
President Barack Obama's foreign policy has come under criticism, not just from Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits, but also from centrists who accuse the president of taking an approach they describe as unclear, weak, and isolationist.  Others say the president's strategy is in line with American public opinion, which has been shaped by a more than a decade of war.  

With Russian-backed forces overrunning parts of Ukraine despite U.S. sanctions, Syria and Egypt in turmoil, China asserting territorial claims, and the Israeli Palestinian peace process stuck, President Obama's policies overseas are under attack.
 
On a recent Asian visit, Obama was asked to define his doctrine.
 
“Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force," said President Obama. "And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?"
 
Everybody in America is not eager to use military force.  Polls show most Americans don't support sending U.S. troops into foreign conflicts.
 
But many still want the U.S. to take the lead in resolving crises and promoting democracy globally.

“I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning," said Obama.
 
In his landmark Cairo speech in 2009, President Obama pledged his support for democratic change in the Middle East.
 
“No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.  That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people,"said Obama.
 
Then, the Arab Spring erupted.  Egypt - and especially Syria - plunged into chaos.
 
On Syria, the administration's image suffered for not following through with threats to attack after the Assad government used chemical weapons and there's little chance it will step in now.  

Analyst Larry Korb:

"When President Obama looks at Syria he says, 'OK what will be the cost? Will the Syrian people, all of them, welcome us?' We thought that the Iraqi people would. Certain did, but most of them didn't," said Korb.
 
Despite the odds, the administration launched yet another attempt at Israeli-Palestinian peace.  But it failed to produce results.  Analyst Elliott Abrams.

“I think there is a sense we ought to try and I think the energy that particularly Secretary of State Kerry has put into this is widely admired.  I have to say, though, I think it was a mistake.  It's not good for the United States to fail, ever, at anything because it suggests people are defying us or they don't care about our opinion," said Abrams.
 
But perhaps the biggest risk - or potential for a breakthrough - is in Obama's efforts for a historic deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  
 
The president made a campaign promise to pull back from world conflicts and focus on nation building at home.  It's now up to history to judge whether the strategy was the right one.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid