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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs