Romney Criticizes Obama Middle East Policy

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Monday that he would be a strong president internationally if elected next month.  He used a speech at the Virginia Military Institute in the southeastern state of Virginia to accuse his Democratic rival President Barack Obama of weakness in foreign affairs.  

The Obama campaign immediately responded with criticism of its own.
 
Romney sought to clarify for voters how he would conduct U.S. foreign policy as president - in contrast to what he calls President Obama's weak leadership in global affairs.
 
Mitt Romney Pledges to:
  • Put Iran on notice that the United States and its allies will prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
  • Support the Libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting representative government and pursue terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
  • Work to ensure Syrian opposition members who share U.S. values obtain arms needed to defeat the Assad regime.
  • Pursue a transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.
  • Reform foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, free enterprise and greater trade.
  • Require recipients of aid to respect rights of all citizens, ensure a free media, and an independent judiciary.
     
He focused mostly on the Middle East, where Mr. Romney said attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities, including one that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were not random acts, but "expressions of a larger struggle" playing out in the region.
 
The former Massachusetts governor said that after some time, President Obama "finally conceded" that the Libya attack was likely the work of terrorists.  Romney accused the president of failing to lead.
 
"I want to be very clear.  The blame for the murder of our people in Libya and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries lies solely with those who carried them out, no one else.  But it is the responsibility of our president to use America’s great power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.  Unfortunately, that is exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama," he said. 
 
Romney said that, as president, he would support friends who share America's values and set "clear conditions" for U.S. foreign aid.  
 
On Egypt, he said he would encourage the government to represent all Egyptians, build democratic institutions, and maintain its peace treaty with Israel.
 
Romney accused Obama of failing to lead with respect to Syria.  He stopped short of saying he would directly arm rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's government.  But Romney said he would do everything to facilitate such aid and build influence with Syria's  future leaders.
 
"I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values, and then ensure that they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets," he said. 
 
Romney also criticized President Obama on the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, and on U.S. relations with Israel.  He accused Obama of seeking to distance the United States from Israel.
 
The Republican presidential candidate vowed to make clear to Iran that its pursuit of a nuclear weapon "will not be tolerated."  President Obama also has vowed that Iran will not be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
 
Romney said he would permit no flexibility with Russia on the issue of missile defense.  He also criticized Obama administration policies toward what he called an "assertive" China, and vowed to rebuild global U.S. military strength.
 
Romney said the "abrupt withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq has brought more violence there and an eroding of democracy.  And he accused Obama of a "politically timed retreat" in Afghanistan. 
 
There were swift White House and Obama campaign responses to the Romney speech.
 
Obama campaign official Ben LaBolt said public opinion surveys show Obama leading Romney on leadership in national security, among other things, because of the responsible ending of the Iraq war, and the decimation of al-Qaida and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
 
Madeleine Albright, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under Democratic President Bill Clinton, called some of Romney's points, particularly on trade issues, "dead wrong."
 
On the Middle East, she said Romney's speech raised questions about "what he would do differently and whether he understands what is going on in the Arab world and how to deal with it."
 
"It is probably a speech that to those who are not totally into foreign policy sounds pretty good.  But I think it is really full of platitudes and free of substance - you know, peace through strength, clarity, resolve.  Those [ideas] really are not foreign policy," she said. 
 
Analysts say it is unclear whether Romney's foreign policy address will boost his public opinion ratings in a campaign where the U.S. economy is dominant issue.
 
Romney has benefited from President Obama's weak performance in last week's presidential debate.  Surveys show him narrowing Obama's lead nationally and in key political swing states.
 
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by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
October 10, 2012 4:40 PM
Godwin, In his Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: "Germany will either be a world power or there will be no Germany." Germany is still there, I think ! -- and with a flourishing economy and growing prestige-- and a cute chancellor who likes and respects Barack Obama as most of the civilized world leaders do.

By the way, Mr. Godwin, the 'INQUISITION' you are threatening the VOA to take to will be confronted with some factual difficulties if it numerically compares the pro-Obama comment words or lines to the ones of the pro-Romney comments. I counted the lines of pro-Obama and pro-Romney comments on this item. There were 16 pro-Obama compared to the 50+ pro-Romney lines ! Peace.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 10, 2012 12:11 PM
I have problem with these VOA anchors who decide what contribution goes through and which does not. Since yesterday when I saw and read this article I made my contribution in support of Romney, but they have not seen the light of day. Only or majority favoring Obama are published. This is outright cheating of the public; it is not expected of USA and much less the Voice Of America. By this practice VOA is showing its preference for Obama ahead of Romney. A media house is not expected to be partisan, but VOA is not just partisan, it wishes to rig the polls in favor of Obama. If Obama wins, the public will hold VOA accountable for it since you fail to publish articles in support of any other candidate.
In Response

by: Dumbo The Elephant from: America The Great
October 10, 2012 5:07 PM
For You in Nigeria, my friend, is the same wheather Obama or Romney wins the election.
Both of them will take care of your country really good so that you can experience real democracy. Since you have oil reserves, you will be their first priority and you will get the best level of democracy - like all of our friends, Saudis Qatar...
As you can see, they have perfect social and political system - exactly copy of ours.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
October 09, 2012 12:45 PM
Mr. Romney, the more and louder you say that American power must shape the world history, the more the US will be hated -- and Americans killed -- in the world. Why are you doing this to my country, the USA?

by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: E.Lansing, MI, USA
October 09, 2012 12:33 PM
A nation divided racially and economically with its politicians kowtowing simultaneously to the Military Industrial Business Complex and to a bunch of Christian (or any religious) fanatics is doomed to decline. Yes, I am sad to see this Unreformed Capitalist cum Racist cum Fanatic Religious venom against Barack Obama.

by: H.G.W. from: Argentina
October 09, 2012 12:20 PM
the greatest enemy of the USA is the UK... and i am so glad the Americans are starting to realize it.

by: Mr Huang from: China
October 09, 2012 9:01 AM
If Romney is elected to be US's President, the world will be a mess. And he will bring a disaster to the people of the world.
In Response

by: Mr. Pong from: UK
October 09, 2012 12:22 PM
Mr "Huang" - that would be the view of an Iranian...

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 09, 2012 8:01 AM
There seems to be more people out there who want America to continue to play second fiddle. It seems also that this is because there are so many people living in America, not Americans, who want America to become history like Soviet Union. Well and good for you, if that's what you want; after all it was one of your own that sang, 'Don't cry for me...'. If you wish, we can join you to say goodbye to America. Amateurish sloganism or oratory can do you no good, even as they show signs of failure at little things as mere debate. Unfortunately America's earlier policies are to blame for the infiltration of too many foreigners whose reason for becoming American were hideously treacherous. How i wish by merely wishing it the real American will win to restore the ideals of the founding fathers of the Union. Romney spoke like a man with the right vision to return America to its glory.

by: Dumbo the Elephant from: America The Great
October 08, 2012 6:19 PM
We should support friends who share the same values - like Saudi Arabia (our best friend), Katar and other Ulallaalaa Alahu Akbar countries that have similar system like our democracy.

We should follow their examples and copy their policies specially about women and political solutions (like stoning people, cutting their arms, legs or so).
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 10, 2012 12:17 PM
Dumbo the Elephant (America The Great) must be a pure Obama democrat. Why did you not enlist Iran's help? Even Russia and China are battling to the front row.

by: Anonymous
October 08, 2012 6:10 PM
Intentional? "Obama bin-Laden."

by: Dr. R. Johnson, PhD. from: Vegas
October 08, 2012 5:54 PM
There are so many Obama errors for Romney to attack regarding foreign policies, I'm not sure where he should start. What Obama said he wanted to do in 2008 and in his inaugural address and what he has actually done are quite different things:

1. He has embraced or expanded almost all of the Bush-Cheney protocols that he demagogued against as a state legislator, a senator, and a presidential candidate;
2. He has given George W. Bush absolutely no credit for surging in, saving Iraq and giving them a chance;
3. He has given George W. Bush absolutely no credit for setting up the procedures for operations like those that killed bin Laden, which is again a matter of ingratitude, not to mention foreign policy;
3. The war on terror? No, let's not use that phrase anymore, OK?. Instead he uses absurd euphemisms like "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters,"
4. The hypocrisy of railing against Bush's waterboarding of three known terrorists while he simultaneously uses drones to blow up over 2,000 suspected terrorists (and any civilians near them);
5. His half-hearted efforts of both using and trying to close Gitmo;
6. His naively envisioning trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian U.S. court, in NYC no less!;
7. The Lybian consulate fiasco (pre- and post-) should be low hanging fruit;
8. Failure to act when the Iranian people were marching if not rioting in their streets;
9. Abandoning Israel, or seemingly so, thus earning a single-digit approval rating with the citizens of Tel Aviv;
10. Fast and Furious debacle,
11. Running an ad in Pakistan apologizing for the infamous video trailer;
12. The nonsense espoused in his now-infamous Cairo speech (too voluminous to list here);
13. Leaving Poland high and dry on the missle defense treaty with Russia, and, so, oh so many more mistakes and errors in judgement, which is precisely what one should expect from an amateur (Clinton's characterization of Obama).

Hell, I could win a debate with Obama on these issues. Go for it Mitt, and you may use my input even without attribution.
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