News / USA

US Presidential Campaigns Spar on Foreign Policy

Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
x
Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
Michael Bowman
The U.S. presidential race has had an all-consuming focus on the economy, at least until now. While economic matters continue to dominate, international affairs have forced their way into the nation’s political discourse less than six weeks before the election.

The campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are exchanging sharp words on recent events in Libya and other foreign policy challenges, as the candidates themselves prepare for their first debate later this week.

Sunday, former Governor Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, Congressman Paul Ryan, slammed the Obama administration’s handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“Their response was slow.  It was confused, it was inconsistent. They first said it was a YouTube video [that sparked the violence] and a spontaneous mob [that attacked the consulate]. We now know that it was a planned terrorist attack.”

Ryan spoke on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday. He said the Benghazi attack is symptomatic of a failed American foreign policy under President Obama.

“We are seeing the ugly fruits of the Obama foreign policy unravel around the world on our television screens. In Syria, 20,000 dead people. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon.  The Middle East peace process is in shambles, and we have our flags being burned all around the world. This is a weak foreign policy with terrible results, which makes us less safe.”

Pushing back against such criticism, White House senior adviser David Plouffe says there is no mystery to the administration’s changing descriptions of the Libya attack.

“There has been an ongoing investigation. And this is an event of great interest to the news media and the public, understandably. So there has been information provided real-time [moment-by-moment]. Obviously, you are going to know more about an event a week after it happens.”

Appearing on ABC’s This Week program, Plouffe defended President Obama’s handling of world affairs.

“This president promised a few things in 2008.  He would end the Iraq war, he did.  He would take the fight to al-Qaida and degrade them, he has. He would focus on [Osama] bin Laden and bring him to justice, we did. Governor Romney called ending the Iraq war tragic. And he said famously in 2008 [that] he would not have gone into Pakistan to get bin Laden."

Public-opinion polls show American voters overwhelmingly concerned with economic matters, but generally giving higher marks to President Obama on foreign policy questions than Governor Romney. The first presidential debate Wednesday will focus on the economy, with a later debate dedicated to foreign affairs.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs