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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs