Numerous Global Security Challenges Await Next President

Luis Ramirez
With much of the Middle East in turmoil, the possibility of a war over Iran’s nuclear program, and a growing al-Qaida threat in Africa, the global security challenges facing the U.S. president in the next four years are huge. President Barack Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, are presenting different approaches in the final days before Americans go to the polls.

For Obama, there have been security triumphs.

"We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, al Qaida's core leadership has been decimated,” said Obama.

But scenes of continuing violence in Iraq, in Syria, and in Libya - where a militant attack on the U.S. consulate at Benghazi that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador - are reminders the region may be just as unstable as before.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney points to what he says is an Obama foreign policy that is unraveling and threatening the safety and security of Americans.

“I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaida. But we can’t kill our way out of this mess,” said Romney.

Romney calls for a strong military as a deterrent and is critical of Obama’s plan, which calls for downsizing navy ships, cutting the number of ground troops, and making the military more reliant on special forces, covert operations, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Under Obama, the number of killings of militants by drone strikes has increased substantially, and his administration has focused on training and equipping the militaries of other nations to carry out operations, rather than sending in U.S. troops
“We're now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security. And that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats,” said Obama.

Romney - like Obama - has shied away from committing the U.S. to direct involvement in another war.

“The candidates do talk a great deal, but they don’t necessarily have huge differences between them because both men are aware the American public is tired of major overseas interventions,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a security analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

In addition to using a strong military to deter aggression from states like Iran and fight the rise of radical Islam, Romney proposes using foreign aid to pressure Egypt to promote democracy and maintain peace with Israel, and says he wants to help the Syrian opposition.  He calls for economic development, promoting education, gender equality, and rule of law in countries that are seeing a militants surge.

“We're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world reject this radical violent extremism which is - it's certainly not on the run. It's certainly not hiding. This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries,” said Romney.

Among the countries where al-Qaida affiliates are expanding their bases is the West African nation of Mali. Although the candidates mentioned Mali in the final debate, analysts do not see either Obama or Romney having much of an Africa agenda.

“On Africa, we have to say that Romney and Obama have both avoided the subject. So, of the various topics one might discuss, in a sense that’s unfortunately the simplest because there really hasn’t been any discussion,” said O'Hanlon.

The issue of security in Europe has not been a major topic in this presidential campaign. The two men want members of the NATO alliance to start contributing more manpower and equipment that the U.S. has shouldered traditionally. They differ on a missile defense strategy toward Russia - with Obama favoring a more flexible policy toward Moscow.  

Regardless of who wins the election, the next four years will present as many, if not more, challenges for the president of the United States.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jaddy Baddy from: NY
November 07, 2012 8:22 PM
When I went to vote, on 11/06/2012, in Rochester, NY,
election officials didn't ask for id and didn't even look
when I offered mine. If they ain't checkin' voter ids,
all I have to do to vote two, three or a hundred times,
is to find somebody sick, in a hospital, in the military
overseas, recently deceased or away from home for any
reason, and go to their polling place and sign their name
and vote in their place and nobody knows, or, at least
in NY, apparently, cares. I can then roam from one
precinct to another, town to town, even state by state,
voting under one assumed name after another.

What means did election officials employ to find out who
voted early, or absentee, to prevent them, or someone
posing as them, from voting, again? What means do they
have to find out who voted by email in New Jersey, and to
keep them from voting again, in person? We can delay the
outcome of an election until those affected by disaster
can legally get to a polling place, or take the polling
places to them. We can ensure that those ballots are cast
fairly and honestly. we can delay the count until all
have had a chance to vote fairly. we have until January
20, 2013 to get it right. Only the need for instant
gratification demands that we know the result NOW, and
instant gratification ain't reason enough for a bastard

With no assurance of a fair and honest election, there
is no such thing as a fair, honestly elected, legitimate
government, and Nobody can give Anybody Any assurance
that this was Anything close to a fair and honest
election, If your elections are a fraud, your elected
government is a fraud and your country is a fraud.
Election officials decided who they wanted to win, and
Chicagoed the returns, accordingly. Barack Obama, Joe
Biden and Louise Slaughter, et al, are nothing
more than the tin horn Bashir Assads of the Syrian States
of America, run by an illegitimate, bastard government.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs