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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs