by Anthony Jerrod
The late President John F. Kennedy once stated that “domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” Indeed, the ability of a country to promote peace, prosperity and democracy among its global neighbors is essential as this world becomes smaller and more interconnected on a daily basis. The United States has arguably been the bastion of leadership that other nations have looked to as a beacon of light with its promises of basic rights and freedom.
Similar to other political topics, there is certainly a dichotomy of beliefs on how foreign policy should be implemented. For some individuals, international relations should be centered on multilateral engagement with allies, diplomatic discussions with rogue nations and prudent restraint of military power until it is time to act. Conversely, there are a plethora of individuals who believe that our country should practice unilateralism, refrain from talks with enemy countries and exercise preemptive military strikes in accordance with the Bush doctrine.
Critics of President Obama have expressed strong dissatisfaction relative to Guantanamo Bay and purported lack of leadership during recent protests in Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya. Certainly, mistakes have been made and there is room for continual improvement, especially when considering the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and concrete threats of nuclear-armed, miscreant states. But, from a nonpartisan and unbiased perspective, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and administration envoys have achieved the following foreign policy accomplishments that were unparalleled and/or very significant in nature:
1. The death of Osama bin Laden. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that President Obama’s authorization to raid bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was “one of the most courageous” decisions he had ever seen a president make. The founder of al-Qaeda and reported mastermind behind the September 11 and other mass-casualty attacks was definitely one of the world’s most feared men. The valiant actions of central intelligence and the elite Navy SEAL fighters who captured and killed bin Laden brought a certain degree of relief to the families of 9/11 victims and jubilation worldwide.
2. The death of al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader. U.S. and Pakistani officials recently confirmed that Atiyah abd al-Rahman was killed during a missile strike in the tribal region of Wazinstan, Pakistan. al-Rahman’s death further weakens the terrorist group and brings “the strategic dismantling of al-Qaeda a step closer,” as expressed by CIA director David Petraeus.