News / USA

Obama Responds to Criticism of US Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama in the White House briefing room, Dec. 8, 2011.
President Barack Obama in the White House briefing room, Dec. 8, 2011.

In an impromptu White House news conference Thursday, President Barack Obama issued a strong response to an assertion by a Republican presidential hopeful that he has engaged in appeasement in his foreign policy and counterterrorism strategies.  

President Obama addressed several issues during a nearly 20-minute appearance that began with his sharp criticism of Senate Republicans who blocked a vote on his nominee to head a new consumer financial protection bureau.

But while reporter's questions focused on that issue, the president was also asked about criticism by Republican presidential candidates of his foreign policy, U.S. pressure on Iran, and the eurozone debt crisis.

On Wednesday, six Republican candidates criticized the Obama administration's foreign and Mideast policies in appearances before the Republican Jewish Coalition.  They asserted that Mr. Obama has been too tough on Israel and not tough enough on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

One Republican presidential hopeful in particular, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, repeated a charge he has made frequently that Mr. Obama has adopted an "appeasement strategy."

The president responded by saying “Ask Osama bin Laden, and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaida leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement, or whoever is left out there.  Ask them about that."

Mr. Obama was also asked about his thinking about Iran, which has been subjected to additional sanctions for continuing what Western nations say is a nuclear weapons program.

Asked about what one reporter called "sharper language" by the Obama administration on Iran, the president repeated that he is considering "all options," although he declined to give specifics.

Referring to what he called "political noise", a reference to criticism by Republican presidential contenders, Mr. Obama said his administration had "systematically imposed" the toughest sanctions on Iran's government, which have united the world and isolated Iran.

Mr. Obama said Tehran has a clear choice - to end its pursuit of atomic weapons in favor of a peaceful nuclear program or continue to resist global pressure and face increased isolation.

"If they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States," said Obama. "It is contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel, and we are going to work with the world community to prevent that."

On the European debt crisis, Mr. Obama said he remains "very concerned," saying that he believes European leaders recognize the urgency of "doing something serious and bold."  The question, he said, remains "whether they can muster the political will to get it done."

Mr. Obama's last telephone conversation with European leaders on the debt crisis was with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A White House statement said they agreed on the need for a "lasting and credible solution" to the crisis.  

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid